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Living In Chicago

Welcome to Chicago!

The third largest city in the US, Chicago is home to nearly 3 million people, 7 professional sports teams, miles of Lake Michigan waterfront, 7600 acres of parkland, and no shortage of entertainment, restaurants, and nightlife. With so much to see and experience, there has never been a more exciting time to live in Chicago.

Getting Around

The MSHC program hosts its classes in the Streeterville neighborhood, which is located just north of the main business district/downtown area, called “the Loop”. With such a centralized location, our students are able to live all over the city and commute to classes on Saturdays.

The closest train stop for the Northwestern Chicago campus is the Chicago/State Red Line stop. The Red Line runs 24 hours a day, and is a major north/south train line (trains are often referred to as “the El”). Many students will live in neighborhoods off of various stops on the Red Line, such as the South Loop (Roosevelt stop), Lincoln Park (Fullerton stop) or Wrigleyville (Addison stop).

There are also several CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) buses that can drop you off on campus. The 66 bus runs east/west along Chicago Avenue; the 151, 146, and 135 buses all run express from Michigan Avenue to various neighborhoods.

Chicago is fortunately one of the most public transit friendly, and easily accessible, cities in the US.  Whether you’re coming from inside the city limits or commuting from the suburbs, there are a number of great options for you!  The MSHC program provides transportation support for all students on all Saturdays with scheduled classes.


Chicago is home to 77 neighborhoods, each with unique attractions, cultural hubs, and local food joints. One of fantastic aspect of living in Chicago is the multitude of entertainment options that are free to the public.  Some examples include the Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park, and countless festivals, movie nights, and concerts.

Regardless of your personal interests, there is a neighborhood for you!  Wrigleyville, home of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, is a lively and energetic neighborhood and fantastic sports!  Or you can head over to Pilsen, where there will be no shortage of wall murals and statues lining the streets of this bustling arts community. 

Chicago residents come from many different heritages and the city celebrates that cultural diversity.  Take some time to explore one of the many options Chicago has to offer, such as Chinatown’s Chinese-American museum or Jefferson Park’s Irish-American Heritage Center.

One of the culinary capitals of the country, Chicago has a robust restaurant scene.  Be sure to check out Wicker Park, Old Town, River North, and the variety of city neighborhoods for some of the best restaurants, bars, and live music. 

Chicago offers miles of beautiful waterfront walking/biking paths, beaches, parks, and views of Lake Michigan, fantastic food, and some of the best performing arts in the country.  We hope you’ll love our vibrant city as much as we do.


The list of things to do in Chicago seems endless, but here is a taste of what we are known for.  We hope you’ll have the chance to explore many of these options!

  1. The Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backwards. The river is also dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day and provides stunning views of the city’s architectural accomplishments.  Be sure to schedule an architectural boat tour or explore the river walk downtown.  
  2. The two tallest buildings in the city are the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the John Hancock Tower (this one is right by Northwestern’s Chicago campus!). They offer daily tours and observation decks.
  3. Experience Chicago sports live!  The Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Fire all offer special rates on tickets for students at various times in the year. Northwestern also has its own exciting, B1G 10 sports action.  Cheer on your Wildcats in football, basketball, and a variety of sports on the Evanston campus!
  4. The Art Institute of Chicago is the second largest art museum in the US. It hosts more than 1.5 million visitors from all around the world annually. It is located in between two large downtown parks – Millennium Park & Grant Park.  Take a trip through the museum and finish the day in Millennium Park (go ice skating here in the winter!) for one of the best views of the city.
  5. Chicago has dozens of festivals each year, many of which are free! Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest food festival.  Experience a variety of cuisines and local restaurants all in one place!
  6. Chicago was home to the very first Ferris Wheel in 1893 for the World’s Fair. You can find the existing 15-story wheel at Navy Pier!
  7. Last, but certainly not least, we are known for our food in this city. Some Chicago signature dishes include hot dogs (with everything on them!), deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and frozen custard. Which restaurant do you think has the best pizza?  You’ll have to try them to find out!