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A view of downtown Chicago.

Chicago is known as a veritable Mecca for the world traveler. With its sprawling skyscrapers, miles of lakefront property, elaborate biking and running paths and lavish landscapes, many find themselves enthralled with the ‘hustle-bustle’ of Chicago’s culture. However, if you plan to move to the Windy City there are a few things to know before you pack your bags and head for the Midwest.

 

Your first virtual stop should be the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. On January 30th 2013 the CCC released its annual Public Policy Legislative Report.  This document is packed with everything you need to know; from political climate, to understanding new tax codes and business initiatives – it’s a great resources guide for anyone that is considering making their move to Chicago.

 

Illinois drivers are also receiving some unprecedentedly progressive legislation moves. Senate Bill 957, a Driver’s License for Undocumented Residents was passed in January this year. This is good news not only for the undocumented worker but all of us who travel over Illinois highways as it improves drivers’ safety and increases the number of motorists who are insurable.

 

According to the Chamber’s report, “This bill permits undocumented immigrants living in Illinois to apply for a temporary driver’s license. Additionally, all licensees would be required to pass driving safety courses to qualify and be required to purchase vehicle insurance.”

 

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Not only is Chicago a hub of diversity, Chicago neighborhoods portray as much. One click on the Chicago Neighborhood and City Guide’s website should assist you in knowing just where you want to live. Need a relocation specialist? How about a reputable moving company? This guide has all of that and so much more, including tips to get that big move well underway.

 

Additionally, Chicago boasts prime real-estate and move-in ready apartments. This could be a great time to invest in the home that you’ve always wanted. The Chicago Neighborhood guide will allow you to create an account, and then magically peruse the current listings for sales within Chicago’s metropolitan area.

 

Remember those lavish aforementioned landscapes? The Chicago Park District’s website boasts that Chicago has “more than 8,100 acres of green space, 580 parks, 71 state of the art fitness centers within the parks, 50 natural areas, 26 miles of lakefront access, 16 historic lagoons, 10 museums, and 2 world class conservatories.”

 

This is perfect for the active family or those looking to immerse themselves within the cultural and festive areas of Chicago communities. Now might be the time to leave your inner couch potato behind.

 

Speaking of family, whether you have one or are looking to start one in the future, everyone should consider access to public education when making any move. Within Chicago, all schools are not created equal; neighborhood and accessibility go hand-in-hand when attempting to navigate the Chicago Public Schools system.

 

Chicago Public Schools website is a “must visit” when making your decision. Here you’ll want to check the report card for each school, and neighborhood. You’ll also want to know each schools application process.

 

With a reasonably easy to navigate site at your disposal, you will have the ability to do your homework. Chicago has 472 elementary schools, 106 high schools, 96 Charter Schools, and 7 contract schools. The key is to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the numbers; information is just a click away.

 

Finally, for a move with relative ease, one must understand Chicago’s rapid transportation system which is more commonly known as the CTA or Chicago Transit Authority. Who says that you have to move around the city only using the highways and byways? The CTA operates 24 hours a day and is the one of the largest mass transit systems in the nation.

 

Currently, CTA President, Forrest Claypool, is looking to upgrade the rail cars on the transit system, going to a new 7000 series that is expected to be delivered by the year 2016. In a recent CTA press release, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Having world-class public transportation is essential for any world-class city.”

 

It goes without saying that Chicago is indeed a world class city, using these quick and easy resources, you are well on your way to enjoying all that Chicago has to offer.

 

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A bird’s eye view of Buckingham Fountain and the lakefront.

About

Janean L. Watkins found her niche in writing and photography as a student at Northeastern Illinois University. During her time there, she created .:Seeds:., an award winning literary arts journal. As Editor in Chief of Independent newspaper, she led the university newspaper to win awards from both the Illinois College Press Association and Associated College Press.