Expats Guide to Living in Chicago, Illinois

Nestled between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Watershed is Chicago, Illinois, one of America’s most populous cities. Ranked number seven on the Global Cities Index and home to the world’s busiest airport (Chicago O’Hare) this sprawling metropolis attracts international business professionals looking for a slice of success – but, there is more to this “Windy City” than industry. Known for its love of art, music, and improv-comedy, Chicago works hard and plays hard, offering over 570 parks and green spaces, beaches, and a wide variety of annual events and festivals. Despite housing over 2.7 million permanent residents, a warm Chicago welcome (and a taste of its famous deep dish pizza) will help ease the transition for those relocating to America.

Chicago Living

Hot and humid summers, cold and snowy winters; with four distinct seasons, Chicago’s humid continental climate means thunderstorms, high winds and occasionally, tornadoes. Coldest in January and February, a close proximately to the Great Lakes means temperature can drop as low as -18°C overnight, but typically hovers around -4.0°C in the daytime. In summer, temperatures range between 26°C and 33°C while spring and fall are generally mild but wet, meaning it’s best to bundle up or bring and umbrella when moving to America – or, at least if you land in Chicago.

Climate aside, when it comes to apartments, rent can range anywhere between $600 and $3200 for a one bedroom unit, depending on location. In general, properties along the Eisenhower Expressway (near Oak Park) are the cheapest, topping out at about $1200 while apartments near the downtown core or along Chicago Avenue will tip the scale at around $2600 and for a three bedroom in the same area, newcomers can expect to pay a cool $4950 to start. With the cost of shipping to America a factor, downsizing before the move can help reduce bulk and save space.

Working in Chicago

As the second largest business district in the central United States, Chicago is home to 17 Financial Times 500 companies and 12 Fortune Global 500 companies. Having grossed over $532 billion dollars GMP in 2010 alone, international removals to America are becoming more popular, attracting business professionals, stock brokers, or entry-level employees to companies including Boeing, United Airlines, Kraft, General Electric, Groupon, CareerBuilder, and Orbitz.

Leisure in Chicago

When in Chicago, visit Lincoln Park, Millennium Park, Wrigley Field and of course, the famous Union Station. Later, peruse the historic Chicago Theatre, the Goodman Theatre (opened 1922) and the Second City comedy club. For dinner, reserve a table at the James Beard Award-winning Alinea restaurant (if you can stomach the price tag) or for a cheaper night out, try the Girl & The Goat, Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf, Glazed and Infused, or for real-deal Chicago pizza, Giordano’s.