This can make or break your enjoyment of the city- big cities are made up of little neighborhoods.
How can you really know a place without having lived there? Well, you can’t. But here’s how to learn as much as you can:
-Go here to read about Chicago neighborhoods.
-Use Google Maps to check your commute times. This is easy even if you don’t have an exact address of the apartment. Type the intersection of the apartment you’re considering and use an ampersand. (Ex: Fullerton & N Western Ave). Then click “Get Directions” and type the address of your workplace. Make sure you’ve clicked the bus/train thing symbol. A long commute diminishes happiness, so make this a priority.
-Walk, run, bike, or drive through, at all times of the day, on weekdays and weekends. Bonus points if you can borrow a cute dog and casually grill people as they pet it.
-Talk to people who like what you like who’ve lived there.
Where you live is who you are. You are the average of the five people you hang with the most. “What’s the best neighborhood in Chicago?” is a meaningless question. “Who am I?” or “What do I want to be?” is a better question to ask.
But no pressure; you’ll probably be happy anywhere if you’re first moving here because Chicago is awesome.