Quality of Life

Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park

Chicago is a smart, dynamic city that offers a quality of life unparalleled by any other major metropolis, providing a true community with world class amenities for businesses and people. Described as an "urban value," Chicago's cost of living is lower than leading cities including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. Chicago's wide variety of places to live — from downtown high-rise condos, to traditional bungalows, to row homes— are conveniently linked to business opportunities by a 3,700-square mile public transit system serving over 660 million passengers annually. The city's unique character can be attributed to its people, its location/infrastructure, its collaborative business and government community, and an unprecedented array of arts and cultural resources, activities and destinations.

Restaurants, Shopping, & Hotels

  • “Magnificent Mile” with 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, and 460 retail shops, including Barney's, Burberry, Coach, Chanel, H&M, American Girl Place, and more
  • Six hotels ranked among Travel & Leisure's 2013 Best Large City Hotels
  • Thousands of places to eat & drink, including 25 Michelin restaurants (one 3-star; four 2-star; 20 1-star restaurants)
  • Seven AAA five-diamond restaurants -- tied with New York for the most five-diamond restaurants in North America
  • 10 James Beard Awards in the last five years
  • 23 farmers markets, including four in downtown Chicago

Arts & Culture

  • 40 museums in the city including the renowned Art Institute, Museum of Science & Industry, Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum - each attracting more than 1 million visitors annually
  • Home to Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Joffrey Ballet
  • #1 City for Architecture in Travel + Leisure's America's Favorite Cities survey
  • #1 Art Museum in the US in Trip Advisor's Travelers Choice Awards (#3 globally)
  • #2 City in the U.S. and Canada in Travel + Leisure's World's Best survey
  • #2 art destination by AmericanStyle magazine reader poll 
  • 400+ neighborhood festivals and 14 city-sponsored festivals including Blues Fest and Taste of Chicago
  • 200+ theater companies, including Second City, Steppenwolf, and Broadway in Chicago (which attracts an annual audience of nearly 2 million people)
  • Only city with 5 Tony-award-winning regional theater companies
  • More information about arts and culture indicators including non-profits organizations, creative copyrights, and film and media

Sports & Recreation

  • Home to 10 professional sports teams including the Chicago Blackhawks, 2013 Stanley Cup Champions (Cubs/Whitesox baseball, Bulls/Sky basketball, Bears football, Chicago Fire soccer, and Blackhawks hockey)
  • 80 miles of public shoreline and 88 vacation beaches
  • Over 200 miles of bikeways including the 18.5-mile public lakefront path, with an additional 500 miles planned in the next seven years
  • 5,200 public marina boat slips in the city alone (+4,000 more in the larger metro region)
  • Rated one of Top 5 most walkable cities
  • Lincoln Park is the 2nd most visited city park in the country, attracting 20 million visitors annually
  • Millennium Park is a 25-acre park in the heart of downtown, attracting 4 million visitors annually
  • Lincoln Park Zoo is the oldest public zoo (and one of the only free zoos) in the country, with an estimated annual attendance of 3.5 million


Chicago welcomed a record 46.4 million visitors in 2012 - 45.0 million domestic and 1.4 million international. Chicago's 2012 performance is a significant step toward Mayor Emanuel's goal of reaching 55 million visitors by 2020. 

Real Estate

Getting Around

  • 3,700-mile public transit network of trains & buses connects nearly 2 million passengers daily throughout the Chicago region
  • Regional and national Amtrak train connections via Union Station, the 4th busiest Amtrak station, with over 3 million riders
  • Within a 4-hour flight of all major North American destinations
  • 1,400 daily departures to more than 200 cities worldwide