Chicago Relocation

What you should be doing to wrap up Summer 2013

August 5, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Some comments from Baird & Warner’s Elizabeth McGrath and Molly O’Neill

Now that the flowered headdresses and fanny packs from a successful Lollapoloza been put away, Chicago’s other highlights are on the top of our minds.  We’ve compiled the top activities and events happening in the city over the next few weekends.  There’s a lot of summer left and, as always, a lot to enjoy in Chicago.

Broadway in Chicago - (August 5th) Tonight you can sample the best of Broadway wile relaxing under Pritzker Pavilion.  Headlining the evening is the cast of Once, Evita, and Million Dollar Quartet and many more.  

Chicago Air and Water Show – (August 17-18Catch the high-flying acrobatics from basically anywhere in the city.  Haul that lawn chair on to the roof of your building, grab the family and sit by Buckinham Fountain, or just stroll down the lake shore and watch spectacular feats on land, air, and sky.

Clark After Dark – (August 15th)The River North festival offers great live music, local homemade food and more.  What makes this festival special is that funds support Illinois troops and their families.

A Clown Car Named Desire - (Check their website for dates and times) This Second City show has been described as a spectacular night of illusion with multitasking mothers, hyper hipsters and long term monogamous couples.  Hilarity is ensured to ensue.

Free workouts in the Park – (Saturdays, 7-11 am)Saturday morning kick your weekend off right with a workout among iconic architecture in Millennium Park.  Classes are offered every hour from 7 am through 11 am.

Thursday Night Family Nights – (August 8 - 15The Morton Arboretum hosts a family friendly concerts and a chance to explore the Arboretum after hours.  A happy, easy way to spend your evening. 

Just a few things we would suggest checking out.  Of course there are dozens of other events happening every day in any of the neighborhoods, towns, streets or parks.  If you have any suggestions feel free to let us know!  We’re always looking for what’s going on in the city.



Chicago Discussions | “Museums”

July 10, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Sick and tired of all the rain this summer? Go check out Chicago’s amazing museums!


Top 10 Reasons your next move should be Chicago

June 26, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Some comments from AreaVibes Amy Watson

What’s your next move? If you’re considering a career change, family change or you just need a change of pace and a fresh start, Chicago is a great city with a lot to offer. Ranked in Businessweek last year among the Top 50 cities in the U.S., Chicago is known for having world-renowned universities and fabulous entertainment. It’s home to over 800 bars, more than 6,000 restaurants, 76 museums and eight professional sports teams. If nothing else, you will never be lacking for things to do. But, getting down to the nitty-gritty, what is it about Chicago that makes it a great option to begin or enhance your career and your life?

1. As mentioned, Chicago is home to numerous educational institutions including The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, Valparaiso University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago and many graduate, professional and specialty schools.

2. In Chicago, housing is much less expensive than it is in other large U.S. Cities. According to Business Insider, the statistical median gross rent in New York is $1,086, whereas it’s $886 in Chicago. However, in Chicago, your money will go much farther. That rent in New York might get you an uncomfortably tiny studio, but Chicago rentals include options from houses to condos to apartment buildings with amenities like pools and tennis courts

3. Aside from the cost of owning or renting, alone, Chicago cost of living is just… lower. Groceries, utilities and health care, among other things, are between 20 percent and 50 percent less expensive than in comparable cities.

4. Space. Yes, space. Because of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the city was redesigned and rebuilt with the benefit of having seen how other cities had already developed in that era. As a result, the city was built with the intent to have a park within walking distance of each inhabitant. Chicago houses multiple parks in the heart of the city and wide roads that provide more sunlight than average city streets. City buildings are less crowded than most, and the city was built around a cultural center in the middle of Lincoln Park.

5. The beach! There are 25 miles of public parkland beach in the city. No leaving the hot city to spend hours in a car in traffic to hit the water in the summer. Grab your sunscreen and go! Chicago beaches have open-water swimming, boat launches, dog-friendly areas, restaurants and other amenities.

6. The Chicago entertainment scene is phenomenal. Of course, if you’re there, you don’t want to miss checking out the famed Second City – an improvisational theater that launched the careers of comedians including John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell and Tina Fey. If comedy’s not your thing, though, there are plenty of other options for vibrant and exciting performing arts. The Steppenwolf Theater Company has won numerous awards and its alumni include founder Gary Sinise and actors John Mahoney and Martha Plimpton. Chicago is also home to opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other venues.

7. You won’t be bored – that’s a promise. One of the best things about Chicago is that from spring to fall (and everything in between), it hosts street festivals practically every weekend. These open-air attractions include cultural, food, wine, beach, arts and musical events. There’s everything from the Chicago Craft Beer Festival to the Ukrainian Days Fest to the Windy City Smokeout.

8. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the spectacular Chicago dining. Chicago is home to people of every ethnicity in the world, and plenty of them own restaurants. From hipster gastropubs to barbecue joints to fine dining, you can find it. All of it.

9. Jobs, jobs, jobs. The Chicago Tribune reported in January that employers are optimistic. The most recent job forecast showed that temporary and contract hiring is rising, and that sales and information technology are the fastest-growing positions in the Chicago area. As well, customer service, engineering and production jobs are coming online. Of course, networking helps if you’re trying to find a job, but because of the number of universities in the city, there’s an ever-changing flow of talent that helps the job market to continue to thrive.

10. People. It goes without saying that you’ll find people of all kinds in any large city. But, Chicago’s vibe is that it is a city of neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are home to people whose families have lived in an ethnic and cultural hub for generations, and also to students, professionals and transplants who’ve embraced a particular neighborhood’s identity. There are over 200 Chicago neighborhoods and 77 community areas. The key is to find the one that works best for you.

Regardless, Chicago’s got something for everyone. Whether your interests are food, sports, school, arts or something entirely different, you can find it here. Good luck – the best is yet to come!



Chicago Discussions | “Theater in Chicago”

June 4, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

What’s on your theater bucket list?  My bucket list is deep since Chicago is the center of Improv and home to all kinds of exciting, expansive and exhilarating theater productions.


Your Space is their Venue

March 6, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio is a new website that promises a “marketplace that connects people who are looking to find and book their perfect venue for their event with venue owners who are looking to rent their space.

Locations in Chicago range from traditional iconic spots such as the Art Museum, Trump tower, staple bars and restaurants, to more unique spaces such as condos with skyline views, Wrigleyville rooftops with views of the field and the lake, and giant suburban homes with sprawling backyards.

Event up requires a 15% service fee, but they allow you to choose how long you’re willing to rent your space.  From a few hours to a few days or weeks you could be making money off your extra space and help other Chicagoians host an unforgettable event.

On either end of the venue gig  this site provides a unique opportunity for Chicagoians.  You have the potential to make your event memorable and unlike any other night your guests have ever attended.  That babyshower sounds a lot more fun on a rooftop doesn’t it?

At the very least, take a look at – it gives “…consumers access to unique spaces that previously would take tons of time or were impossible to find.”

Some comments from Baird & Warner‘s Elizabeth McGrath



The Final Stretch: Making the Most of Winter’s Last Breath

February 20, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Some ideas from Baird & Warner’s Elizabeth McGrath

By now the charm of drifting snows, colorful knit scarves and warm hot chocolate by the fire have worn away.  I know.  It’s freezing, there’s slush raining down from the sky and the last thing you want to do is trek outside in snow shoes.  But the fastest way to get through these final winter weeks is by enjoying the many events Chicago has to offer.  Rain, snow, sleet, or shine there are unique and fun things you should be doing.  (Mad Men will still be on your Netflix Queue awaiting your return. I promise.)

What the Tour Guides didn’t Tell you: A Chicago Review  – (T, Th, Sat, Sun)  The famous Second City’s revue of Chicago pokes loving and hilarious fun at the windy windy city touching on everything from the beloved Cubbies to those infamous politicians.

Ice Skating at Millenium Park or Wrigley Field - (Through March 10th) The winter Olympics are less than a year away and what better place to practice your double axel than in front of some of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks?

Concerts – (all weekdays and ends) Muse, Yo-Yo-Ma, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Passion Pit are all coming to Chicago within the next few weeks along with pretty much any other band, troupe, group, set, or ensemble you can imagine.

I Love Lucy Live on Stage – (Through March 17th)  Be a member of the “live studio audience” at the I Love Lucy Show.  Slip back to the 1950s watching commercial breaks, the live band and of course the crazy antics of Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel .

Chicago Irish Film Festival – (March 1-6) Chicago hosts one of the few Irish film festivals in America where you can view both short and feature films as well as enjoy opening and closing ceremonies at Lizzie McNeills.

Creatures of Light: Nature’s Biolominescence – (March 7-Sept 8) experience magical plants, bugs and animals that literally light up.  It’s a flash ahead to those muggy summer night watching fire flies.

Chicago Garden Show - (March 9-17) Dip into spring with Navy Pier’s displays of fresh flowers, trees and waterfalls.  Or enjoy original culinary presentations including the cake decorating regional finals contest.

Animal Inside Out – (opens March 14) This updated version of Body Worlds offers a look behind (and inside) the animal world.  Analyze the blood vessels of a shark, peer into a rabbit’s brain, and examine the muscles of a towering giraffe – creepy.

Big 10 Tournament United Center – (March 14-17)  With weekly upsets, physical big men and flashy guards the arguably best division in college basketball returns to Chicago for their conference tournament.  It could be anyone’s game come Selection Sunday.  (Biased note: it’s Indiana’s game.  Let’s see some Oladipo Zeller magic!)

Get out there. Enjoy our fabulous city.  Even if this weather isn’t your cup of tea there’s so much to do between now and when the river is dyed green it would be a shame to miss it.  Plus, spring really is right around the corner…






The Good the Bad and the Ugly: Chicago’s Greenest House

December 11, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Did you know Chicago is home to one of the greenest homes in the nation? Two years ago Chicagoian Michael Yarnell built his home using innovative green technology, re-purposed materials and simple conservation based thinking.  These actions resulted in his home leading the country in LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). As with any new home certain aspects ended up working better than expected and other features didn’t work out as anticipated.  After three years Yarnell spilled the good the bad and the ugly to Chicago Magazine.

The Good: V-shaped panels on the roof powered the hot water system in the house resulting in 95% energy efficiency for the year. An additional heat pump conserves excess heat in the summer later drawing power from the pump during the winter.  This system also proved to be very successful.

The Bad: In the bathroom a Graywater pump system transfers water from the washing machine to flush the toilets. Unfortunately stowaway lint in the water caused unforeseen pluming problems. The fence surrounding the property was made of recycled plastic and pressed wheat which turned out to be flimsy, non-stable and one of Yarnell’s biggest headaches.

The Ugly: Instead of a traditional wood sealer with harmful chemicals Yarnell’s home was varnished with a water-based sealer. But the sealer did not hold up to Chicago’s cold winters and humid summers and left the walls of the home faded and weather-beaten after just three years.

Overall it’s the little things that save Yarnell the most energy and money.  Keeping the heat off until he arrives home, manually closing the large crank windows instead of installing motorized windows, and keeping the house no warmer than 63 in the winter and no cooler than 78 in the summer are all simple actions that anyone can implement into any home.

If you wish to see all the bells and whistles of a smart green home the Museum of Science and Industry has a display home open to the public.  Highlights include self-watering plants, a steam oven, and bathroom mirror technology that tracks your weight, displays the weather and accesses your Twitter feed.  Tickets and tours are available until January 6.

Some comments from Baird & Warner Intern Elizabeth McGrath



Summertime Chi

July 25, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Here are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.

According to Travel+Leisure magazine, Chicago is now the second best rated city in the United States and Canada, jumping ahead one spot from last year. As a lifelong Chicago native, this comes as no surprise considering the many things the city has to offer, especially during the summertime.

When it comes to activities like baseball games, museums, festivals, zoos and parks, it is difficult to match what Chicago has to offer. The White Sox have a three game lead into the AL central heading into the All-Star Break, and the Cubs have future stars in the making in Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

One of the things I love almost as much as sports is food. Highlighted by Chicago style hot dogs, deep dish pizza, and Italian beef, there is endless amounts of delicious food to enjoy when visiting the city. Whether you are just visiting Chicago or planning to relocate to the city, taking a trip into the loop or magnificent mile is a perfect way to experience a city its residents love so dearly. A city that has enveloped a hard working attitude and culture that people take pride in.

If considering a trip into the city, I strongly encourage it. It is nearly impossible to run out of things to do, and sites to see., is a great website that lists all events in the city and is the center for Chicago tourism. According to their website, more than 42 million people visited last year, and tourism accounts for about $600 million in tax revenue alone. With good reason, Chicago tourism is flourishing. People are taking notice, and people are visiting.


Get to Trotter’s, if you can!

May 25, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

If you’re a Chicago transferee and in a C-Suite, chances are you were wooed, or did some wooing (wooing?) yourself at the world class, world famous Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.  Well, Chicago native or not, check you bank account and make reservations (if there are any left), because Mr. Trottor is closing his eponymous restaurant after he celebrate’s its 25th year on….August 25th.

Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Trotter’s has been a pillar of fine dining, with its menu-a-day changes and award winning wine cellar.  I had the privilege of visiting that cellar a few years ago with colleague Jim Kinney as we were entertaining some friends from NAR.  I think the rule is if you spend more than a mortgage payment you get the tour.  We were probably good for two tours after that evening.  But well worth it!

Mr. Trotter plans to pursue a master’s degree and eventually return to the restaurant business.  His “Trotter’s To Go” restaurant will remain open.


Visit “Luminous Field” in Millennium Park

February 17, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Luminous Field in Millennium Park – Looking for something cool to do this weekend??

Hey Chicagoans – Visit Millennium Park and The Bean this month as it is transformed into” a digital canvas of light and geometrical form”  with a cool and funky video/sound installation, courtesy of Chicago artists Luftwerk.

Dubbed “Luminous Field”, it will  illuminate Cloud Gate and its surrounding AT&T Plaza every night from Feb 10-20th – Expect beautiful images & colors choreographed to music by third coast percussion!

Can you dig it?

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