5 Must-Have Community Resources for Chicago

By Jonathan Deesing


Chicago is a city packed with great food, cultural amenities, and places to explore. But unless you’ve got a friend who is familiar with the non-tourist hot spots, you might feel disoriented upon moving here.

To help you in your transition, we’ve located a few key resources that Chicagoans use to navigate, enjoy, and explore their city. By using these, you’ll be hitting up the music scene and shopping for new apartments like a local in days.

1. Domu

Before you move to Chicago, it only makes sense that you need to find a place to live. That’s where Domu comes in. This local website provides Chicago residents with a simple, scam-free way to search for apartments. You can search listings on specific criteria, like neighborhoods, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and your budget range. The “find a neighborhood” search tool provides a color-coded map of dozens of Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs, giving you short summaries about the areas, typical rent rates, and local apartment listings. It’s a great way to get acquainted with this city’s many distinct neighborhoods.


2. Chicago Mag Classifieds

Need to furnish your new apartment? Before you head to Ikea, check out the used furniture listings on Chicago Magazine’s classifieds section. You’ll find a range of eclectic items offered by local sellers. A recent search yielded a bamboo wicker chaise lounge chair, a vintage pull down map of Minnesota, and an original multi-colored Native American rug. Listings include the seller’s neighborhood, so you’ll know where to pick your purchase up, giving you more exposure to parts of your new city.


3. Chicago Transit Authority

Boasting the country’s second largest public transportation system, Chicago is one of a handful of Midwestern cities where it is entirely possible to get around without a car. To get the most out of this system, we recommend checking out the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) website. The site offers tools to help you plan your way around the city, research fares and passes, and choose from an array of independent transit apps. Get to know the nuances, and you’ll be able to tell tourists how to get to “the Bean” on the “L” in no time.


4. Chicago Reader

The Chicago Reader is a pioneer among America’s alt-weeklies, publishing free-circulation newspapers in Chicago since 1971. While it is known primarily for its literary-style journalism, it also offers music, theater, film, and restaurant listings. Whether you’re checking to see if that new show at the Chicago Theater is any good, or if that fusion restaurant down the street lives up to the hype, you’ll find what you need here. Find the Reader online or free in newsstands throughout the city.


5. WXRT (93.1 FM)

Chicago is well known for its vibrant music scene. The city spawned modern Jazz, helped foster Rock ‘n’ Roll, and is a hub of electronic music. WXRT (93.1 FM) is an “adult album alternative” (AAA) format radio station that honors the Windy City’s unique musical heritage. On any given day, you can expect to hear a range of music dating from the mid-‘50s to the present day. Highlights include “Blues Breakers,” a program showcasing Chicago blues artists, and “Local Anesthetic,” a show that offers a sampling of the latest Chicago-area music. There are few better ways for a Chicago transplant to get up to speed on their new home’s music scene.


Beyond these resources, the best way to learn about Chicago is from Chicagoans themselves. Are you well versed on the Windy City’s best community resources? Let us know the websites, classifieds, and newspapers you use so Chicago can continue being locals’ favorite city.

Featured image by Mike Warot/Flickr