How to Network After Moving to Chicago (or any city!)

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How to Network After Moving to Chicago (or any city!)

Moving to a new city can definitely be a challenging process, especially if you do not know anyone there. Whether due to a new job, apartment, or relationship, the process of networking with a totally new crowd can be intimidating – even if you’re already outgoing. And that is after you have adjusted to the new location.

If you’re moving to Chicago, the cold isn’t actually as bad as you’d expect as I already mentioned here, many of the stereotypes about the city are just that: exaggerated and blown out of proportion. Plus, there’s a ton of amazing architecture and cultural sights to explore. To help you get settled in, here are some tips on how to meet and mingle with like-minded people:

1. Volunteer for a cause

One great way to do good and encounter new people in your area is to volunteer for a cause that you’re passionate about. Thrillist suggests checking out one of the branches of Howard Brown Health Center if you’re interested in healthcare. If you have a background in law or are curious about it, Legal Aid Chicago is also looking for volunteers and even has openings for remote work. For bookworms, Chicago Books to Women in Prison is apparently a favorite of Women and Children First, the feminist bookstore in Andersonville, because it provides an alternative rehabilitation option for incarcerated women.

2. Consider a membership at a coworking space

If you’re a remote worker, you’re probably no stranger to the idea of a coworking space. As well as giving you a productive and welcoming space to work in, coworking spaces let you meet people from similar industries. Coworking company Industrious has eight locations in Chicago, with members having access to a nationwide network across over 45 major cities. Many people join coworking spaces to build their networks, and you never know just who you might meet next. This is probably one of the best ways to assimilate yourself into a new city – both socially and professionally.

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3. Use an app

Apart from the typical dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, you can actually harness the power of technology to make new friends. For instance, Nextdoor lets you ask your neighbors for recommendations, hear about local news, and host virtual yard sales. Similarly, Hey! Vina lets you meet up with like-minded female friends and join shared communities. It’s geared towards women who just moved to new cities and those who love to travel. Even dating apps like Bumble have diversified into the friendship market, through their Bumble BFF option that aims to create platonic friendships.

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4. Attend a “meet-up”

Lastly, Meet Up encourages you to meet with people who have shared interests with you in real life, and you can even organize and plan your own get-together. There’s a variety of categories depending on the area you live in, such as “DTLA Happy Hour Crew” or even “The Real Time Lords of Orange County”, so there’s something for everyone. Age-related groups and activity-based meet-ups are quite common, or even ones catered to those who have kids and dogs. The app shows upcoming meet-ups happening nearby, allows you to join particular groups, and there’s even a handy messenger function.

While meeting new people might make you anxious at first, there’s a variety of options and methods for you to explore. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new best friend or your future dream company co-founder?


Interested in more insights about Chicago? Check out my other posts about moving to Chicago and exploring the city!

Thanks for sharing the love and stopping by

Kate from Share the Love, expat, expat wife, expat life

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