20 Reasons Why Chicago Is Our Favourite US City

Fence sitting is for the weak, it’s time to nail your colours to the mast and ours is red, white and (light) blue.

It took a long time to reach and general consensus on the best J1 city in 2017 but after much deliberation (and the fact I shouted louder and for longer), Chicago came out on top. Here’s why:

1. Nobody Does ‘The Big Game’ Like Chicago Does

New York has the Giants, Boston has the Celtics but Chicago has the Bulls, the Blackhawks, The Bears, The Fire, The White Sox…and of course The Cubs. Did you know the parade following their 108-year wait for a World Series was the 7th biggest gathering of people in human history? It was some party, and the city’s passion is very infectious.

2. It Was Also The Same Weekend, This Happened on Soldier Field…


This is now hallowed ground for Irish sport, on a par with Ibaraki, Cardiff and Lille.

3. Lollapalooza in Grant Park Is August’s Best Party

Zero FOMO goes on this weekend in the Windy City. You can keep your Venice Beach and Brooklyn Bridge, I’m in the middle of a city seeing some of the biggest bands in the world, live. Checkmate.

4. Accommodation Is Cheaper Than The East and West Coast.

It’s true. Up to 70% cheaper than New York, 30% cheaper than LA and nearly 100% cheaper than San Francisco.


5. All The Beach You’ll Ever Need

Lake Michigan, may as well not be a lake because when you’re on North Avenue, Montrose, 12th Street or the countless more awesome beaches along it’s coast.


6. There Are So Many Jobs It’s Not Even Funny

We have one preferred employer who’s open to hiring over 100 Irish J1 students, full in the knowledge that we’re all legends.

7. The Lake Front Trail Is The Perfect Run, Walk, Cycle

No words needed, just a picture.


8. The Chicago Skyline Is Not Boring!


9. In fact, It’s An Architects Dream

10. You’ll Miss The Harsh Winter

In the winter the temperatures plummet to -10 degrees and Lake Michigan freezes over! Luckily for you there will be none of of that carry on. Try 26-33 degrees on average. Perfection

11. 2016’s Best US City For Dating

High scores across the board for attractiveness, diversity and confidence. Opens Tinder, engages Irish charm…

You shouldn’t end up like Vincent..

12. Steve Carrell, Walt Disney and Kanye Are All From Chicago…It Was The Birthplace Of Robin Williams Too!

13. Chicago Has The Best Food. The Best.

Birthplace of the deep dish pizza…

14. Sears Tower – The Ledge

This is either going to terrify you, or exhilarate you. Either way, don’t leave Chicago without stepping over the edge…

15. Chicago’s Arts Scene Is Blossoming

Any city which doubles up as the name of one of the most popular musicals in history has got to know a little something about putting on a show, right? Right.


16. And Their Museums Fascinate

From contemporary art, to Egyptian artifacts and mind blowing science, Chicago has a plethora of places to expand the mind.


17. Big City Life But Without The Arrogance

The big criticism that’s levelled at New York and Los Angeles is the perception of it’s citizens being arrogant, rude and downright unpleasant. It’s unfair to generalise so sweepingly like this but on balance we’re confident you’ll find the locals of Chicago a lot more sound than their East/West coast counterparts. Truth.

18. Irish Culture Is Celebrated At Every Corner

Ok, so you’ll miss the biggest example of this when the river is dyed green for Paddy’s Day but, the Irish are incredibly well thought of in Chi-town. The place is packed full of great Irish bars and it’s a community that welcomes with open arms, always.

19. Open Arms For Everyone

Chicago is also really diverse, from hipster’s paradise down at Wicker Park to a hugely vibrant LGBT community, centered in Boystown.

Whatever your conviction, you’ll find plenty of like minded people close by.

20. You’ll Save €100 On Your J1!

Update: Whao! A lot of J1 students agree with us about Chicago, so much so that the Chicago J1 Special is now SOLD OUT!

Last but not least, if you sign up to Chicago you’ll get the Premium Package for €599, €100 less than anywhere else in the US! No brainer eh? Thought so.

Looking to book your J1 to Chicago? Apply here or contact us programmes@usit.ie or on (01) 602 1667.


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