windy city

5 Things to Know Before Moving to Chicago

by aquanaut on

Any move can be stressful, but it gets even worse when moving to a large city like Chicago. Inspired by my own relocation to the Windy City five years ago, I decided to put together a list of tips for Chicago newcomers. To give yourself a seamless transition to your new city, check out these five tips for moving to Chicago:


Everyone knows about the iconic Windy City landmarks – the bean, the Sears Tower, Wrigley Stadium – but what’s it like to move here?

1. Finding Housing Is Easy

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a studio apartment or trying to move your large family into a house, Chicago has plenty of properties waiting to be filled. Chicago’s housing market is a hot buyer’s market, which means there’s no shortage of housing options available. The cherry on top? This large supply of housing means that the prices for homes and apartments stay much lower than in other big cities. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to shop around for the perfect home before settling on the right fit. You have plenty of choices!

2. Neighbors Become Family

There’s a reason that most Chicago residents talk about their neighborhoods so often, and it’s because your neighbors quickly become your extended family. Every fall and spring, much of Chicago will become an ongoing block party. During this time, you should expect to eat your weight in good food and become familiar with everyone on your block.

3. Mind Your Waistline

Chicago is home to countless restaurants, food stands, and craft breweries which means it’s easy to fall into questionable dietary habits. Whether it’s the classic deep-dish pizza and hot dogs or the contemporary sushi and Mediterranean, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what you’re eating. Many new Chicagoans find themselves spending much of their moving budget on bigger clothes.

Once you move here, you've got to invest in some Chicagoland gear.

Once you move here, you’ve got to invest in some Chicagoland gear.

4. Calling Dibs Is Essential

Chicago gets roughly 40 inches of snow every winter, and this can make the parking situation rather cutthroat. This is especially true if you live in an area with little to no driveway space, so what are you to do? Well, it’s time to join the Chicagoan tradition of calling dibs. When you clear a roadside parking space, it’s common practice to leave chairs or other lawn decorations in the space to hold it until you return. After all, who wants to clear a space for someone else? While this move is highly controversial, many people find it’s the only way to survive the Chicago winter.

The same winter weather that inspired calling dibs also makes it essential to hire a Chicago moving company. I moved here on a particularly blustery February weekend that saw 10 inches of snow accumulate in a single afternoon. I had zero experience living in a cold weather climate – the only time I’d ever seen snow was on ski trips to Colorado. Thankfully, I hired movers to get me moved in. They worked feverishly to clear roadside parking space, squeezing the truck in next to the piling snow drifts. And despite the blizzard-like conditions, they ensured everything got moved into my new apartment on schedule.

5. There’s Plenty of Green

If this is your first move into a big city, then you may be dreading a sudden loss of green. The truth, however, is that Lake Michigan gives the east side of Chicago plenty of nature to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for beachfront property or just want to spend an afternoon on the 606 Trail, there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature in Chicago.

Know Your City

Before moving into your new Chicago home, it’s important that you know what to expect. Use the above five things to know before moving to Chicago to make sure that you get the most out of your move to the Windy City.

My 5 Favorite Places to Eat in Chicago

by aquanaut on

Chicago is known as a foodie destination. Our iconic food, the deep dish pizza, is an obvious must eat, but once you’ve gorged yourself on a pie from Bartoli’s or Pequod’s it’s time to sample some of the Windy City’s other delicious fare. In no particular order, these are my five favorite places to eat in Chicago:


  1. 1. Girl and The Goat

The Girl and The Goat has a very cool minimalist vibe. It seems purposefully sparse as if to put a spotlight directly on the cuisine, which is lovingly crafted by their head chefs using nose to tail ingredients and locally sourced items.

The unparalleled star of their menu is the Crip Braised Pork Shank. The meat is fork tender and luscious, paired with buttermilk dressing. This dish gives homage to Korean and Indian cuisine in the forms of a grilled spring onion and radish kimchi, and homemade naan. I like it paired with a local brew, Off Color Brewing’s Apex Predator, a summery Saison that matches the braised pork beautifully.


809 W Randolph Street

Chicago, Illinois

P: 312 492 6262

2. Owen and Engine

Owen and Engine transport you across the pond for a real English pub experience in the heart of Chicago. It’s cozy and welcoming with plenty of comfortable places to sit and relax while enjoying one of their cask ales.

Have yourself a British style Sunday Funday with Owen and Engine’s Brunch. I recommend the Full English Fry Up, the real deal with baked beans and blood sausage.


2700 N. Western Ave.

Chicago, IL 60647

P: 773-235-2930

3. Portillos

Portillo’s is a Chicago staple. Don’t let the fact that it’s a chain put you off; they have real deal food here and a casual, fun, family-friendly style that will make you feel right at home.

You’ve got to try the Chili Cheese Dog. It’s smothered in cheese, chili and topped off with onions. Hedonism in a bun!


520 W. Taylor St.

Chicago IL 60607

P: 312-667-4560

100 W. Ontario

Chicago IL 60610

P: 312-587-8910

4. Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen

Manny’s has been around for ages for a good reason. You’ll eat cafeteria style, no frills just the best home cooking you’ve had in a long time.

Manny’s makes a mean Corned Beef Rueben, stuffed to the gills with meat, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. Add a Potato Cake for $1; it’s worth it.


1141 South Jefferson Street

Chicago, Illinois 60607

P: (312) 939-2855

5. Eli’s Cheesecake Bakery Cafe

Eli’s sure doesn’t look special from the outside, but that’s because it doesn’t need to. This modest eatery churns out some of the best cheesecake you’ll ever eat. Take that New York!

When you go to Elis, you have to try the cheesecake! You can get it topped with everything imaginable, but I like the no frills plain delicious cheesecake.


6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive

Chicago, IL 60634

P: 1-800-ELI-CAKE