Lifestyle in Chicago

►Buy the Expat Arrivals Guide to Chicago in PDF format



Chicago is a friendly and cosmopolitan city brimming with wonderful attractions and activities for people of all persuasions. With high energy and a healthy, clean-living lifestyle, expats 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 for haute couture, expats with a sense of fashion are sure to fall in love with Chicago. Head straight for the 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. 

Expats can head to the River North gallery district for antiques, while just about everything under the sun can be found at the Maxwell Street Market, which takes place on Sunday mornings.

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 China Town, Little Italy, and the Mexican neighbourhood of Pilsen are just some 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 fabulous 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, lots of local parks offer open-air ice-skating rinks.

The beaches along Lake Michigan also provide wonderful recreational opportunities. In the summer, the beaches are teeming with people walking, jogging, playing volleyball, swimming and picnicking, among other things. The lake itself is another recreational gem, with sailing a popular pastime with Chicagoans.

Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)