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Chicago is a vibrant city brimming with wonderful attractions and activities for newcomers to enjoy. With high energy and a healthy, clean-living lifestyle, those who relocate here might need to make a few adjustments to their way of life, but be prepared to splash out, as Chicago can be expensive.
The city is renowned for its shopping, nightlife and restaurants, but it also features good entertainment venues, world-class sports facilities and spas.
Shopping in Chicago
As a city known for haute couture, new arrivals with a sense of fashion are sure to fall in love with Chicago. Head straight for Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue where hundreds of store windows all vie for attention. Oak Street is also a good bet for fashion and designer stores.
Those who love to browse will find just about anything under the sun at Maxwell Street Market, which takes place on Sunday mornings from March to December.
Eating out in Chicago
From fine dining to hot dog stands and fast-food outlets, Chicago offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. The trendy Lincoln Park, exotic Chinatown, Little Italy and the Mexican neighbourhood of Pilsen are just a few of the best areas to discover the city’s culinary delights.
Entertainment and nightlife in Chicago
With a long list of hip and happening hotspots to keep the party going until the early hours of the morning, Chicago is a fabulous place to hit the town. Although many of the locals prefer to stick to what they know, expats who relocate here will have a wonderful time finding their favourite watering hole.
Wells Street in Old Town has some fantastic restaurants and bars, while the Lincoln Park, Wicker Park and Lakeview areas are the places to go for music clubs playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and hard rock.
Chicago also has a thriving theatre scene, with touring productions from Broadway regularly shown in the city’s large theatres, and plenty of other smaller productions shown at more intimate venues.
Outdoor and sporting activities in Chicago
Chicago is a family-friendly city with hundreds of neighbourhood parks and playgrounds to explore. Lincoln Park is Chicago’s largest public recreation area and offers many outdoor attractions for the whole family. There are many annual food and music festivals to enjoy in the summer, while during the winter months, many of the city's parks offer open-air ice-skating rinks.
The beaches along Lake Michigan also provide wonderful recreational opportunities. In the summer, the shores teem with people walking, jogging, playing volleyball, and picnicking. The lake itself is another recreational gem, with sailing and swimming being popular pastimes among Chicagoans.
Are you an expat living in Chicago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Chicago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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