Aug 2, 2023 - Newcomers Guide

Newcomers share their advice for moving to Chicago

Man and woman smiling with kitchen in background.

Ben Garbarek and his wife, Emily, after they closed on their new home in Lakeview (and where they later brought home their new baby daughter). Photo: Courtesy of Ben Garbarek.

Chicago lost roughly 3% of its population from 2020-2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Yes, but: We're still the third-largest U.S. city, and people move here for many reasons.

What's happening: Some recent transplants told us why they're here and offered advice for newbies.

Growing family

Who: Ben Garbarek

The story: Garbarek and his wife, Emily, moved right before the pandemic and very soon after that had to find a bigger place when they learned they were expecting.

Chi perks: Living in Lakeview with easy access to the lake and Wrigley Field.

Advice: Be flexible, and keep an open mind.

  • "We're lucky to live in such a large and vibrant city that, chances are, you can find what you're looking for; you just might need some patience as you keep looking for it," Garbarek told Axios.

Moved for a job

Who: Babafemi Ekundayo

The story: Moved to a "co-living" situation in Bridgeport and relied on "amazing roommates" to learn the city.

Chi perks: The great comedy and performance culture, which Ekundayo jumped into, first with lessons; he then started performing at places like the Lincoln Lodge.

Advice: "Constantly go out, constantly seek out new opportunities, talk to people, step out of your comfort zone and pursue your dreams; they could just become reality!"

Now or never

Who: Nick Conant

The story: Conant had only ever lived in the Twin Cities, but in July 2020, the time felt right for his family to try something new.

Chi perks: Welcoming city with a neighborhood feel.

Advice: Get out of your neighborhood. Each community has its vibe, and you're missing out on a lot if you don't explore.

  • Wrigley has great history, but Conant says "Guaranteed Rate Field is the better game day experience," adding, "I'm a Twins fan, so I begrudgingly write that."
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