Moving to Chicago

Need to know info, from rebuilt architecture to comparing energy companies in Chicago

Everyone loves a comeback story, and Chicago may have the best. It all begins in 1871, when fire ignited in the city’s southwest and grew into an inferno, devastating four square miles of land and displacing many.


Instead of relocating, the people of Chicago decided to reconstruct. The Great Rebuilding, which saw engineers and construction companies transition from wood to steel and introduced the world to the skyscraper, allowed the Windy City to get back on its feet. Innovation nurtured growth. The city reversed the flow of the Chicago River to enhance and maintain its transportation center and invested heavily in fire resistant construction materials.


From there, the city kept growing, making it the third largest city in the U.S. today. It also has one of the most dazzling skylines in the world. In fact, the city’s overall architecture was ranked by the Travel Channel as world-class.

Career opportunities and Chicago’s history of innovation

Those looking for their first job or a new career will find plenty of opportunities in Chicago. Unemployment in the Windy City is at about 4%, close to the U.S. national average.


According to World Business Chicago, The Windy City is the second largest city for exchange clusters and corporate headquarter clusters, and the third largest distribution cluster in the U.S. The city is a well-known trading center, and today that trading is largely financial and derivatives exchange. In fact, the highest employment sector in Chicago is in trade, transportation and utilities.


Chicago is also a city of innovation, and Chicagoans like to celebrate great inventions. One organization, Chicago Innovation, does exactly that, by educating, connecting and celebrating innovators. The nonprofit hands out awards every year to companies like OjaExpress, which delivers fresh, hard-to find ethnic groceries to customers every day.


Another organization, the Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation, is focused on informing and engaging Illinois consumers in “the transformation to a digital electric grid” by “funding innovative education, outreach and research projects to increase energy literacy.” Part of that education might include Energy Choice.

How to compare energy companies in Chicago

In 1997, the state of Illinois became an Energy Choice state, allowing consumers to compare electricity plans from multiple energy suppliers and pick the plan that best fits their needs. The consumer’s utility company makes the switch to the new electricity supplier simple and seamless.


Here’s how electricity in Chicago moves from generation plants to your home:

The average residential electricity rate in Chicago is about 18 cents per kilowatt hour, 2% higher than average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate brings the electricity portion of the typical utility bill to an average of $87. The basic cost of utilities, including electricity, natural gas, water and garbage is about $166 according to Numbeo.


People have many reasons for choosing their retail electric supplier, including finding ways to stay at or below the Chicago average energy rate. Some choose based on price, hoping to lower their electricity bill below the city’s average market prices. Others choose to support green energy or clean energy by choosing power generators that create clean energy, like Energy Harbor. Some even opt to find a plan that incorporates time of day pricing, which changes the price of electricity based on when you use it.


Whatever the reason, the ability to choose the energy plan and electric supplier that fits your needs is a great benefit to all Chicagoans.

Your ‘Moving to Chicago’ checklist

1. Hire a moving company far in advance: If you want a moving company to help you, hire one at least a month before your scheduled move, especially if you’re moving to a larger house or condo in the middle of the city.


2. Make a list of everything: Objects can always get lost in the shuffle. Account for everything as you pack. As you unpack, you’ll know whether something didn’t make the trip and relieve any panic if you think you forgot to pack something. If it’s on the checklist, it’s in a box somewhere!


3. Set up energy services: Make sure you set up service with Commonwealth Edison (COMED) before moving so you can turn on the lights when you reach your new home. If moving in the winter, you’ll want your home to be warm when stepping through the door. Setting up is as easy as choosing a supplier.


4. Change your mailing address: Many homeowners forget to change their home address on sites such as Amazon, Zappos, and Doordash. Change your address about a week in advance in case you order something for quick delivery at your old address and it doesn’t arrive in time.

5. Connect your Wi-Fi: After a long day of unpacking, you’ll want to turn on the TV and relax. Make sure there’s something you can watch by setting up internet and cable beforehand. Wi-Fi can be set up similarly to other utilities online or over the phone.


6. Explore the area: To feel more at home and save time, find the places that have the necessities. You’ll need to know where the nearest grocery store, car repair shop, gas station, and hospital are located, which could save precious time lost searching for a good coffee house.

Fun spots in the city...and how to get to them

For the average Chicago commuter, a trip to work can take almost 35 minutes, but if you know your way around and use the Chicago Transit Authority, you can shave that time down. Want to know the secret? Read on!

Public Transportation:

Chicago is notorious for traffic, ranked the second most congested city in the U.S. by USNews—only slightly behind Boston. But fear not! You can get around in more ways than just a car. The Chicago Transit Authority has a robust train system called the L, including 8 lines and over 224 miles of track branching from downtown, 129 bus routes, and over 200 miles of bike lanes with plenty of bike racks at every L station stop.

The Loop:

At the very center of Chicago is the Loop. Named after the original looping train system, the Chicago Loop became the center of town due to the train’s accessibility. The area contains major landmarks like the Willis Tower, the Bean, the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium and Grant parks. At the north tip of downtown is the Chicago River, home to a beautiful Riverwalk, lined with famous restaurants.

Parks in the City:

The Chicago lakefront is a pretty sight for tourists and residents alike. The park system stretches across the lakefront, starting on the far north side in Lincoln Park, and then stretching down to the south side with Grant, Millennium and Burnham parks. Each gives Chicago’s skyline a great green undertone. These lakefront parks are only a fraction of the other 600 parks in the Chicago area.

Magnificent Mile:

One of Chicago’s most popular destinations is the Magnificent Mile. Just north of the Loop on Michigan Avenue, this area got its start when real estate developer Arthur Rubloff wanted to revitalize downtown. He gave Michigan Avenue its iconic brand in a bid to reshape it as a retail destination, and his plan worked wonders. Today, the bustling area is home to over 460 stores and 275 restaurants.

Fun facts about Chicago

When you think of Chicago history, what comes to mind? Al Capone? The First World’s Fair? The Chicago Fire? Regardless, here are a few fun facts you might not know about the Windy City, from skyscraping records to interesting geography.

The Home of Modern Architecture:

After the Chicago Fire of 1871, city officials knew they had to rebuild Chicago – mostly one without so much wood. Once they realized steel could allow them to build higher, local architect William Jenney built the Home Life Insurance building. This first skyscraper was a whopping... 10 stories tall. Today, skyscrapers easily reach 100 stories. Look how far we’ve come.

The Chicago River:

Initially, the Chicago River flowed into Lake Michigan, which supplied the city with drinking water. As Chicago developed, people used the river for waste disposal, making the water non-potable and spreading disease. In 1887, city officials took on the project of reversing the river’s flow through ingenious civil engineering. Now, on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, the city can safely dye their river green and celebrate a safe Lake Michigan.

The Willis Tower:

The Willis Tower used to house over 350,000 Sears, Roebuck and Co. employees. For a time, the Tower was the tallest building in the world, standing 1,450 feet tall. The building still holds a few other records, including the fastest elevator in the world and the only building in which you can see four states at once.

So Many Sports:

Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Fire, White Sox and Blackhawks. Each Chicago sports team has at least one national title under its belt. Sometimes Chicago had to beat Chicago to win these titles, like in 1906 when the White Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series. Today, Chicago is one of only four cities to retain a professional sports team in five major leagues.