A bunch of questions from a potential newcomer

There is at least a 50 percent chance I’ll be moving to Chicago in 2012. I’ve pretty much decided that the Lakeview area is where I’d like to live. I’d be working near the CBOE for a large brokerage firm.

  1. How’s the micro and craft brew scene? I love trying new beers and want to find places with good beer and hopefully some good, but not ridiculously overpriced food.

  2. How hard is it to live without a car? I’m giving this serious thought as the trade off for a more expensive apartment is well worth it without car payments, insurance, gas, and funny noises and idiot lights coming on. What do you think of the CTA and can you easily get around most of the city by using it?

  3. I’m quite interested in attending the Chicago Symphony. If you’ve been, how was the experience? I’d imagine dress is more formal than out west. Business suit and tie ok?

  4. I think i’d like to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. What do you think of it and what are other museums worth visiting?

  5. From looking at various apartments online, it seems like the onsite fitness center doesn’t exist. Where are some good places to workout in the Lakeview area?

  6. Is the weather that big of a deal? 100 degree days here don’t bother me that much. I’m more concerned about rain than I am about cold days and snow.

  7. What else would you tell someone moving there that they’re not thinking about?

I’ll give it a shot with better answers forthcomming…

This is your best resource for eating in Chicago - LTHForum

Most of the citys major attractions (airports/museums/sports…) are fairly accessible by the el but you’ll have trouble getting into the real neighborhoods where you’ll find some of the best eating. One exception to this is Chinatown - the Red Line stops right there. If you’re willing to transfer to a bus after your el ride you can get to the vast majority of the city.

I think you’ll be OK in a nice suit and tie during the week. More people seem to me to choose formal dress on the weekends. One thing to note is that the CSO sells subscriptions, not seats. At least when I used to go (probably 10 years ago now) you needed to but a package of at least 5 performances though this may have changed.

The Art Instititute is fantastic. That word is overused but here it applies. Plan on visiting often as it’s too large to really do in one day and exhibits rotate as well as the occasional visiting exhibit. The Field Museum is the same. It’s really a wonder. They have so much stuff that at any given time less than 1% of it is on display.

Lakeview Athletic Club is part of the Chicago Athletic Club group. Thay run a nice outfit.
There’s also a Lakeview YMCA if you’re looking to spend less.

I can rain quite a bit in the spring and early fall but if I were you I’d worry about the snow and cold, don’t take it lightly, it kills people.

[ul]
[li]Never put catsup on a hotdog.[/li][li]Wear a hat in the winter. Newcommers always try to look cool - FUCK THAT. You know what’s cool? Not having frostbitten ears.[/li][li]Get out to the neighborhoods. Some of the the best eats and friendliest people are in little out of the way places.[/li][li]Never were a Cubs shirt on the south side.[/li][li]Be situationally aware. It seems like s freindly place but like any city there are some folks who will take advantage of you if you’re vulnerable.[/li][/ul]

i There is at least a 50 percent chance I’ll be moving to Chicago in 2012. I’ve pretty much decided that the Lakeview area is where I’d like to live. I’d be working near the CBOE for a large brokerage firm.

Lake View. Remember that. Also, the CBOE is trying to move to Indianapolis. Something else to think about–how would this have an impact on your new job?
i 2. How hard is it to live without a car? I’m giving this serious thought as the trade off for a more expensive apartment is well worth it without car payments, insurance, gas, and funny noises and idiot lights coming on. What do you think of the CTA and can you easily get around most of the city by using it?

I’ve never owned a car while living in the city. Most large employers will offer the transit benefit http://www.transitchicago.com/news_initiatives/transitbenefit.aspx
Take advantage of it. People love to bitch about the CTA, but realistically–I’d rather spend my commute reading a book than being stuck in traffic.

Also join a carshare program for those times you need a car for a couple of hours. There’s I-Go www.igocars.org/ and Zipcar http://www.zipcar.com/chicago/find-cars

i 3. I’m quite interested in attending the Chicago Symphony. If you’ve been, how was the experience? I’d imagine dress is more formal than out west. Business suit and tie ok?

Oh yeah, that’s fine.

i 4. I think I’d like to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. What do you think of it and what are other museums worth visiting?

There’s nothing wrong with the AI, but if I were just moving here I’d join the Architecture Foundation http://www.architecture.org/ and take some tours. You’ll get to know the city very quickly that way.

i 6. Is the weather that big of a deal? 100 degree days here don’t bother me that much. I’m more concerned about rain than I am about cold days and snow.

It does a little of everything here. That includes tornadoes and the occasional (and so far mild) earthquake. Learn to dress in layers.

i 7. What else would you tell someone moving there that they’re not thinking about?

Never put ketchup on a hot dog.

Knock it off.

If that happened, I’d go to Indiana if the job required that.

I forgot one question. What do you think of the public library system? I love to read so having a good library is an asset.

Daley gutted the public libraries and Emmanuel finished them off.

Q1: Goose Island Brewery (the main one is in Lincoln Park, but there is also a location in Wrigleyville, which is part of Lake View) has awesome microbrews.

Q2: No car is no problem at all, especially from someplace as well situated as Lake View. Just try to find an apartment near a bus or el line. The Red Line (elevated train) takes you right downtown. If you end up a little farther west, you’ll be near the Brown line, which also gets you right downtown.

The buses mostly criss-cross the city on East-West routes and North-South routes. So using your old high school X-Y coordinate method, you can get most anywhere on at most two buses. But take the elevated if you at all can; much faster.

Personally, I do own a car, but mostly use it for visiting relatives who live in the suburbs. I frequently think about dumping it. If I moved here and didn’t know anyone in the burbs, I wouldn’t even consider keeping it.

Q5: Some of the newer high rise apartment buildings do have on-site fitness centers. I don’t know any in Lake View, but I knew a few near me in Lincoln Park. Of course, if you live in a newer high rise, you lose out on the charm of the “vintage apartment” lifestyle, including water-hammering radiators, ancient plumbing, and no air conditioning.

Q6: Agree with other posters: the Winters can be rough. But much of the Winter misery has to do with driving; so if you go car-free, your Winter experience will be much less grim than it is for some folks. Just be sure to bundle up on those el platforms!

The Summers can also be rough. Your Phoenix training will come in handy! Except that it is NOT a “dry heat” over here.

Q7: I would try to get an apartment near the Lake. (note: it’s *not *called “Lake Michigan.” It’s called “The Lake.”) It will cost a bit more, but it will be well worth it in entertainment value, especially if you are near a beach or an easy access point. The entire lakefront is park, so there is always lots of stuff happening.

It’s also “cooler by the lake” in the summer. This is a phrase you will hear so often that it will make you scream.

Re: Libraries. There are a lot of branches, but I can’t say how well stocked they are. But Lake View is also home to a large number of fine used book stores. When you can pick up a paperback for a couple of bucks, who needs libraries?

Good luck! Hope your job works out…

I lived in Chicago from '01-'08 while I was in grad school. Hopefully my info’s not too out of date.

The three main Chicagoland microbreweries that I remember from my time in the area are Goose Island, Two Brothers, and Three Floyds. Goose Island is pretty solid; their brewpub is quite nice and sells more interesting brews that they don’t sell in bottles. Two Brothers is pretty good too; I always liked their “Domaine Dupage” French-style Ale. Three Floyds are brewing gods; they make some of the best beers I have ever tasted. They’re technically in Indiana, but they’re close enough to visit the brewery if you have (or share) a car. And their beers are in all the Chicago-area stores and in the better pubs around the city.

As far as good food and beer, you simply must visit the Hopleaf pub up in the Andersonville neighbourhood. A ridiculously large selection of beers, and tasty food to boot. The only downside is that it’s packed on weekends. The Map Room has a nice selection of beers as well (though I don’t know what their food is like.)

Business suit and tie is overkill, if anything. You can get away with a collared shirt and slacks and nobody will look at you too funny. Of course, I always sat up in the cheap seats in the second balcony (what they call the “Gallery”.) The sound up there is better than on the main floor anyhow.

The “Chicago sound” can be quite brass-intensive, so you might try to go to a concert that plays to their strength there (I’m thinking Shostakovich, Mahler, or even Copland). But your own tastes may vary.

The Art Institute is huge. You might be able to see it all in one day, but you’d be exhausted and it would have all been something of a blur. I like the secluded little gallery of “decorative arts” (furniture, vases, etc.) down in the basement.

I quite enjoy the Museum of Contemporary Art, both for its size (you can see it all in an afternoon) and for its content. But if you find modern art unbearably pretentious, you might not like it as much as I did. The Field Museum is a top-notch natural history museum, too. People may also say that you should check out the Museum of Science and Industry, but I’m a scientist myself and honestly I never much cared for it. You should check it out at least once, though, if only to see the captured German U-boat.

The scene has expanded a little bit. You also have Half Acre, Metropolitan, and Revolution, as up-and-coming breweries, with the first two’s beers being available at liquor and grocery stores, too, not just pubs.

There’s also Haymarket, Moonshine, and Piece (the pizza place) also makes their own noteworthy beers. (I may be forgetting a few.) If you venture a little out of Chicago, there’s Flossmoor Station in Flossmoor, IL, (right off the Metra stop, hence the name). That’s also worth a visit.

Three Floyd’s (as mentioned) is a must-go if you like hops. They’re probably my favorite brewery when it comes to hop-heavy beers. That said, I find Goose Island (Clybourn location) to be my favorite place to get a brew when I want a more varied selection of beers. They do Belgian-style beers very well, plus a lot of mild English-style beers that you don’t see too often. It’s not all “big” beers, although their two best beers might just be the Bourbon County Stout and the Imperial IPA, which are quite “big.”

Agreed…if you’re not driving, it’s going to be the wind (and, by extension, the wind chill) that will really be murder. A really warm coat, good gloves or mittens, and a good hat are must-haves.

Ugh. Having grown up in Wisconsin, I really have no issue with Chicago winters. It’s those sultry days, when the dewpoint gets up to 70 or above, that sap my will to live.

Also, regarding the CBOE and a potential move to Indianapolis: not happening. Governor Quinn signed a tax-break bill into law last week, which will be keeping the CBOE, CBOT, CME, and Sears in Illinois:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-quinn-signs-searscme-tax-breaks-into-law-20111216,0,6747573.story

Right now they’re struggling just like everybody else. But due to modernizations that every large library now has, including the online catalog and reserving books (and CDs and DVDs) online as well as delivering them to your local branch (not to mention inter-library loans for books the library doesn’t have), I use the library more than I ever did. And I was born in Chicago. The library’s still a great resource.

Absolutely. They are joined by the Museum of Science and Industry, making them the Big Three. It’s more “popular” in contrast to the other two, but there’s still a lot to see. And I’ll throw in the Planetarium and the Aquarium, adjacent to the Field Museum, and the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

There’s also the Lincoln Park Zoo, small but easily reached by the CTA. And the Brookfield Zoo, just west of the city, is world-class.

And there are the paved bicycle paths by the lake, stretching almost the entire length of the city lakeshore. Heavily traveled in good weather, of course, but still great.

The winters are bad but not that bad. It’s really a quarter of the year (January, February and March). By the 17th of March most Chicagoans have decided that winter is over regardless of the temp outside. Summers are great but the autumn is perfect. I’m from Ireland (back here now for Christmas) and the winters here are tougher due to the dampness.

The micro brew scene is vast and all sorts of places have gotten into it. The are also loads of small gyms in Lakeview.

The L is good and getting better. No experiences with the buses.

Libraries are good too though as has been mentioned there are loads of used book stores.

If you are single it is an incredibly easy city to meet people in. Really, really, easy in fact.

Wicker Park and Buck Town must also be visited often for the food and the nightlife. We live in Lincoln Park but the city is much more than that. Have been living here for 16 years. Have lived in NY, London and LA and Chicago is the best by far IMHO.

What they don’t have is the staff to cope with finding that book you want that’s at a different branch and getting it to your branch in a timely manner.

You can do that by yourself just using their website.

That’s right. Log on to the website, select the book that’s at Gresham and you want to pick it up at Sulzer. The book then magically wings itself over to the library and puts your name on it on the hold shelf. And then it emails you to let you know it’s there.

Public transportation is inconsistent, it depends entirely on where you live. The trains run out from the hub (downtown), radially. If you want to go elsewhere, you’re stuck with going into town on one radial line, then back out on another. Buses are problematic, based on traffic. So, if you’re not going to have a car, look for apartments near a train line!

Hello, Mr President.

:D:D:D

Seconding, thirding, fourthing or whatever it takes to get this to make its point.

Ketchup on a hot-dog is a crime. Quoting the Master:

*Ketchup is destructive of all that is right and just about a properly assembled hot dog (and we’re talking about a pure beef hot dog, not one of those things you could serve with dressing on Thanksgiving).

Ketchup smothers the flavor of the hot dog because ketchup makers add sugar to their products. That takes the edge off the highly acidic tomatoes, but it takes the edge off everything else, too. Which is exactly why a lot of parents like it, according to Mel Plotsky, sales manager for the David Berg hot dog company in Chicago. (Chicago is one of the hot dog’s holy cities.) Put ketchup on it and a kid will swallow anything — and from there it’s a straight shot to Velveeta cheese, Franco-American spaghetti, and Deborah Norville.*

I could never tolerate putting ketchup on even some lesser city’s dog, but on a properly assembled Chicago-style dog? That’s straight blasphemy. The Chicago-style dog is a Platonically perfect dish, resplendent with yellow mustard, onions, relish, dill pickle, sport peppers, and tomato-slices on a poppy bun, dashed with celery salt. It’s absolutely magnificent.