** This post about living in Chicago is sponsored by Zumper. All opinions are my own.
It’s hard to believe that G and I have lived in the Chicago area for half a decade now. We had no idea what our new adventure would bring when we moved from Arizona to Chicago in 2015, but we are so grateful we took the leap. It’s definitely changed our lives. I’m reflecting on some of what I’ve learned about living in Chicago and surrounding areas as a Phoenix native.
Thanks to the move I have been able to experience things I would have never seen if I had stayed in Phoenix. For the first time I experienced a true change of seasons. I had no idea what winter would be like here. It scared me initially, but I grew to enjoy watching the snow fall. (Just the snowfall, though. The aftermath of snowstorms, like dirty, icy sidewalks, is not my favorite.) I purchased my first true winter coats and learned about the importance of layering.
I experienced living in a truly diverse neighborhood. Phoenix has a large Latino population, but Chicago has many more ethnicities/nationalities represented. I’ve also enjoyed different foods that are readily available anywhere you go. I love the unique characteristics of each Chicago neighborhood.
Our first apartment was located right next to Lake Michigan. I loved living so close to a beach for the first time in my life. We loved going on nightly walks to the park next to the beach. Fourth of July at the beach has been fun each time we go. You can see fireworks going off for miles along the lake, and the entire community congregates for music, barbecue, swimming and more.
I started walking to more places, something that was not common for me in the driver-friendly city of Phoenix. I love running along the Lakefront Trail. The longest distance I have run on the trail is 20 miles while training for the Chicago Marathon. A highlight of living in Chicago has been completing the Chicago Marathon. It travels through different Chicago areas and residents cheer you on the entire length of the race. People had you snacks and hold up signs and it’s just an amazing show of support. It’s by far my favorite race I’ve done in my life. I trained for the marathon with a group led by two coaches in the Lincoln Park area. Our group was supportive and welcoming, a true representation of the Chicago running community.
I also was able to take part in the World Series celebrations in the city in 2016. It was incredible and something I’ll never forget. The energy was indescribable, and we felt like we belonged.
On our first wedding anniversary, we had photos taken in front the Chicago skyline at Fourth Ave. Beach. Those are some of my favorite photos. We brought our first daughter home to our Chicago apartment. I gave birth to our second daughter in Evanston and then we bought a home.
No city is perfect, and Chicago has its share of challenges, but it’s a great place to live and I’m glad we chose to move here. It will always have a special place in my heart because we started our family here. I have enjoyed living in Chicago and now a neighboring suburb.
Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite memories, I’d like to share some tips for those who want to move to Chicago and need to find an apartment. First, you have to move quickly. Finding an apartment when we moved was competitive. Apartments leased quickly, often before we had a chance to apply. If I had to do it again I would use a service like Zumper. It is used by millions of renters to find houses, rooms, condos, or apartments for rent in Chicago.
With Zumper you have the ability to apply online. Users can submit digital rental applications and credit reports with Zumper’s screening service, which is powered by TransUnion™. The inventory is updated in real time, and you can filter by location, price range, bedroom count, whether it’s pet-friendly, or amenity offerings. You can also set an alert to get notifications when a new listing is posted.
In addition to that, I recommend trying to get to know your neighborhood by supporting local businesses and restaurants, visiting museums and other attractions, and joining meetup groups.
Are you considering moving to Chicago?
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Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.