Getting Started In Chicago? 5 Things To Keep In Mind
Moving to a new city is both exciting and intimidating. Chicago particularly straddles these lines. As the third most populous city in the United States, there is a huge amount of opportunity, as well as a lot to learn. Your experience depends strongly on your personality, but even if you’re the most extroverted person out there, you may run into challenges.
To help you get started, here are 5 things to keep in mind when moving to Chicago.
As soon as you make the move, you should get renters insurance for your new place in Chicago. Yes, this applies even before you start renting. Renters insurance has little to do with the place you’re renting, after all. Rather, it covers your possessions for destruction and theft, whether they are at home or on your person.
Unfortunately, crime in Chicago is a reality, and you need to be ready for the potential of precious items being stolen. If your phone or laptop is taken, for example, you will have no choice but to get a new one, whether or not you can afford it.
Of course, it will be easiest to get renters insurance if you have already found a place to rent. Ideally, you’ll find a place before moving to Chicago, as staying in a hotel or Airbnb can become very expensive very quickly.
Learn About the Neighborhoods
But before choosing a place to rent, it is important that you learn about the various neighborhoods to which Chicago plays host. This is because a big city is necessarily compartmentalized. While people talk about ‘Chicago style’, there are many different ways of experiencing the city, even if a common thread runs through.
The neighborhood you live in will have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. For example, if you choose to live in ‘the Loop’, you will be bombarded with the presence of tourists. This is great if you are working in hospitality, but not great if you want to assimilate. Choosing to live in the Northern suburbs, however, will throw you right into the city’s youthful core, which may or may not be what you want.
Cars Are Inconvenient
If you own a car, you’re probably used to it being the most convenient way of getting around. You would never choose public transport over your own vehicle. However, in Chicago that may not always be true. Yes, a car gives you independence, but it comes at the cost of hours spent in traffic and a constant search for parking.
Even getting parking at the home you are renting can be difficult, and you may soon find yourself falling afoul of the stringent parking rules, with fines building up for parking in what seemed like perfectly reasonable spots.
Public transport in Chicago is great, as is the experience for riders of bikes. Consider one of these options, or even walking if you do not have far to go.
Buy Clothing On Arrival
Chicago weather can chill you to the bone. If you don’t have the right apparel, you will find yourself freezing whenever you leave the house. However, that does not mean you should stock up on warm clothing before coming to Chicago. Rather, buy some comfortable outfits when you arrive in the city. Chicago is naturally the best place to buy clothes that are suitable for Chicago.
Get Stuck Into the Culture
You can question whether there’s any real difference between a Chicago-style hotdog and any other hotdog. You can question some of the strange traditions, like the dying of the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s day. But you will not enjoy living in Chicago until you get stuck in without compunction.
Rather than poking holes in the experience that Chicagoans love, try the activities, food, and culture with an open mind. Be willing to explore, perhaps becoming a bit more adventurous than usual.
If you arrive in Chicago with the will to get to know an exciting, vibrant city, you will fall in love almost immediately.
Meet The Blogger
Paul M. Banks
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and ChicagoNow.
He’s been a featured guest in dozens of media outlets including The History Channel. His work has been cited in hundreds of publications including the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
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