Boasting a beautiful lakefront, countless museums and historical buildings, and the best deep-dish pizza in the U.S., it’s no wonder that almost 3 million people call Chicago home.
If you find yourself wondering if you should move or start a business here, well, the answer is working in Chicago is a great idea.
It’s where river meets city, where folks of all cultures and backgrounds connect, and where your business can thrive.
Keep reading to find out why working in Chicago is best for your business.
Why Work in Chicago is on the Rise
A Buyer’s Housing Market.
Though its growth rates are low compared to trends in other large metropolitan areas in the nation, Chi-Town’s population has been steadily increasing year over year, making it the third-largest city in the U.S.
Why is this important?
It means that demand for housing is continuing to grow in an already dense urban area. While median home prices are increasing, and properties are selling a few days faster than in 2020, it’s still a hot spot for buyers. According to Redfin’s Compete Score, Chicago’s housing market is listed as somewhat competitive, so if you choose the right property in the right neighborhood, chances are that you can score a great deal. People find that working in Chicago pays off when they can purchase a home for a reasonable price.
Stable (and Growing) Economy
Chicago’s stable economy attracts workers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and large organizations every year. Though city-wide job rates saw a decline and unemployment rose in 2020, the economic outlook for Chicago is good due to the opportunity for folks to work remotely or in a flexible office setup.
According to the State of Illinois Forecast Report, city jobs associated with tech, finance, and other professional services largely remain stable despite changing global work trends. Jobs related to home construction will aid in job growth in the metro area, as will the tech industry boom in the coming months and years.
What does this mean for your business?
Chicago’s economy is stable, and the outlook is good for growth. Several sectors are aiding in the economic health of the urban landscape. These reasons, and the following business resources, are why work in Chicago is beneficial for scaling your company.
Helpful Small Business Resources
Working in Chicago is made easier with the city and county’s financial assistance programs, tools, and resources to help your small business succeed.
Here are some of the most helpful resources that you can leverage:
- Allies for Community Business: This organization offers lines of credit and loans between $500 and $100,000 for qualifying businesses that are early, emerging, or already established. If your company qualifies, use the funds to help expand your business. You can work with one of the program’s business allies in free, one-on-one coaching sessions to receive advice on how to grow your company effectively using the loan.
- Women’s Business Development Center: Funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration, this Chicago-based organization focuses on assisting women-owned businesses to develop their ideas, create a path for growth, and achieve success through the extension of mentoring programs, access to capital, development plans, and business advising. This center offers excellent opportunities for women-owned businesses to leverage financial and development resources to further their growth.
- National African American Small Business Loan Fund: Offered by the California-based nonprofit VEDC and extended to three cities, including Chicago, this fund aims to help grow and sustain businesses with 51% ownership by African Americans. Business owners can potentially receive up to $250,000 to pay for business-related expenses that will ultimately help their companies grow.
These are just a handful of Chicago-based resources that can benefit your small business. You’ll find that working in Chicago and helping your company thrive is not only your goal but also the city’s goal—it wants to acquire and keep businesses that support its economy.
Now that you know why work in Chicago is the best choice for your business, let’s dive into where to work in Chicago.
Where to Work in Chicago
Chicago is made up of more than 70 defined community areas and even more local neighborhoods. Each one provides a different set of benefits, cultures, and business resources. Deciding where to set up your business depends on what each neighborhood offers—and we’re not talking about which one has the best slice of deep dish. From local business resources to the best flexible workspaces, you’re sure to settle on the right spot to get your business going.
Chicago Public Transportation
Using public transit for working in Chicago is simple. The Chicago Transit Authority utilizes train lines and bus routes to connect the entire city, and the Metra commuter train connects the suburbs to downtown. If you’d rather bike, no problem! With more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes—plus its bike-share program, Divvy—this city is equipped for people who want to feel the wind in their hair on their Windy City commute.
Now let’s dive into the four Chicago neighborhoods ideal for setting up your business: downtown, Logan Square, Lakeview, and River North.
Otherwise known as The Loop, downtown Chicago is the heartbeat of the city, featuring nationally regarded museums, the famous winding Riverwalk with incredible surrounding architecture, and countless eclectic eateries; working in downtown Chicago definitely has its perks.
With recent work-from-home trends, you may be wondering how many people work in downtown Chicago? In 2019, there were more than 600,000 jobs downtown, so the city is teeming with job possibilities, new client potential, and networking opportunities.
Does your business require you to travel downtown or frequently meet with clients in the area? If so, choose an Alliance meeting room in Chicago to have a professional place to collaborate or meet with customers or investors. These are two fantastic meeting rooms in downtown:
West Madison office
Place yourself in the middle of all things business at the 200 West Madison Office Center virtual business address. Book one of the professional conference rooms if you’re meeting several colleagues or clients, or reserve a private office by the hour, half day, or full day when you need a quiet space to get work done. This prime location is only a 1-minute walk to the Washington/Wells CTA stop—take the brown, orange, pink, or purple lines wherever you need to go next.
North Michigan Avenue office
The towering skyscraper building at 205 North Michigan Ave could be your next virtual business address—without the soaring downtown office rental prices. Make working in downtown Chicago easy by grabbing a fully equipped day office to conduct your business in a comfortable space with an ergonomic setup. Use the board rooms for larger meetings, such as pitching to potential clients.
This office space is centrally located—it’s only a 3-minute walk to Millennium Station and a 1-minute walk to the Michigan/South Water bus stop. When you need a quick bite to eat between meetings, Sweetwater Tavern and Grille—conveniently located inside the building—serves up a mean burger.
Why are the West Madison and North Michigan Ave locations good for doing business?
Both locations are in the heart of Chicago’s central business district. You’ll be settled among Fortune 500 giants at this location—from the likes of Boeing across the river to United Airlines Holdings just down the street. But that shouldn’t be intimidating; use this to your business’s advantage, especially if you’re in the finance, insurance, or tech industries—all growing sectors in Chicago.
If you’re located downtown, you can join the Chicago Loop Alliance, an organization that aims to drive investment in the area by providing business resources to members and connecting companies with potential clients and consumers through marketing campaigns and networking events. This is a great resource for all business owners in downtown Chicago.
Though this is a hot spot of Chicago, some business folks live elsewhere to get away from the hustle and bustle after their 9-to-5. So you may be wondering where to live in Chicago if you work downtown. Because the public transportation system is so robust, you can live in any Chicago neighborhood or even the suburbs. As long as a CTA stop—train and bus—or Metra Rail stop is nearby, you’ll find getting to downtown Chicago is a breeze (it is the Windy City, after all).
Next up is an indie, eclectic community well-loved by the people who call it home. Drawing creative minds and artistic spirits, the Logan Square neighborhood is the place to be if your business is focused in the arts.
So, where is Logan Square in Chicago? From downtown, head about 6 miles northwest along Milwaukee Avenue, and you’ll hit Logan Square Park, boasting the historic Illinois Centennial Market. You’ll see lots of unique eateries, cozy bars, and popular coffee shops. For this reason, Logan Square is one of the best places to work from home in Chicago because you’re surrounded by countless small businesses that prioritize creativity as well as their bottom lines.
When you need an office space to collaborate with like-minded professionals, clients, or investors, Alliance has you covered, no matter your industry.
West Diversey office
This office space for lease in Logan Square is ideal for makers, financiers, and manufacturers alike. Boasting a sleek yet colorful design with exposed wood ceilings, this office’s design space sparks creativity. But it’s not all about the look. When you book a meeting room in this center at 3432 W. Diversey, you’ll get a professional setting that will impress clients and a quiet place away from home to get business done.
This convenient location is in the center of the Logan Square Neighborhood, just across the street from the Kimball & Diversey/Milwaukee bus stop and less than half a mile from the Logan Square metro stop, which services the blue line.
Why is the West Diversey location good for doing business?
The West Diversey center is a great location to work among like-minded business owners. Consider becoming a member of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce to utilize benefits such as business sponsorship at local events, business promotion through email blasts, health insurance discounts, legislative exposure, business seminars and webinars, and complimentary admission to networking events, which is crucial for fostering and maintaining professional relationships with local businesses.
Situated just north of the Chicago River (hence, the name) and downtown Chicago lies the vibrant River North neighborhood. Some of the best things to do in River North, Chicago, are visiting museums, dining at one of the many upscale restaurants, checking out the nightlife at local bars and clubs, and visiting Art on theMART, a digital art installation projected onto the historical The Mart building. With a business located in this buzzing area, you’ll have all of these neighborhood amenities at your fingertips—outside of work hours, of course.
Whether you have a bike, a car, or just your own two feet, getting to River North is a breeze. Hop on the on-ramp to access the I-90 freeway, walk less than half a mile to Grand Station, or hail the bus at Michigan & Illinois. When it comes to your daily commute, you’ve got options.
North Michigan Ave office
When deciding where to work in Chicago, the office at 444 North Michigan Avenue in River North is one of the best places for your business. The office is located right in the middle of it all, surrounded by famous landmarks, near coffee shops and restaurants, and a 3-minute walk to the river. Lunch break inspiration, anyone?
You’ll have access to this space’s meeting rooms or fully equipped offices 24 hours a day, making that late-night deadline or weekend work doable. Enjoy incredible views of the city skyline from the comfort of your desk or meeting room table.
Why is the North Michigan Ave location good for doing business?
When you use this location’s meeting rooms or private offices, you can also leverage the center’s networking events that bring entrepreneurs and business owners together to innovate, collaborate, and build rapport.
Consider looking into the nonprofit organization 1871 (based in theMART), a networking hub for small business owners, corporate innovators, and startups to get involved in their community and gain momentum for their enterprises—whatever size and scale.
If your company is in or related to the tech industry, you’ll be strategically located near tech startups, as the River North neighborhood has attracted many in the tech industry in recent years. Don’t wait to reserve this professional office space for rent in River North, Chicago. But you don’t need to be settled in that sector to leverage the area’s business resources. Join the Greater River North Business Association to build your business’s reputation in the community and create meaningful relationships with other local business owners and top executives. The Greater RNBA also provides free business strategy sessions from professional consultants—a great resource when it comes to furthering your business—as well as financial consultations, legal services, social media strategy meetings, and website creation services.
The Lakeview Chicago area is a vibrant community full of beloved small businesses. Aptly named, this neighborhood sits along the shore of Lake Michigan and has beautiful beaches and lakeside trails for biking, walking, or cycling. Lakeview is also home to the famous Wrigley Field and Boystown neighborhood.
Because Lakeview is situated northwest of downtown—about a 30-minute ride on the red line—it’s where to live in Chicago if you work downtown. You’ll be surrounded by arts and culture, as well as baseball fans, in a convenient neighborhood that has a similar real estate market as downtown. It’s a great area to settle into a home or apartment away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, making it one of the best places to work from home in Chicago.
N. Lincoln Ave office
Work in a professional space inside the Chicago Northside Office Center at 3047 N. Lincoln Ave. This is a prime location situated along a business-laden stretch of Lincoln Ave and only half a mile from the Paulina and Wellington subway stations—both of which head to downtown Chicago. Have a car? No problem. The N. Lincoln Ave office also has access to parking.
Enjoy high-speed internet and access to the space 24 hours a day, seven days a week—a must for small business owners whose work hours vary. Meeting with clients or prepping that last-minute pitch deck is easy at this office. Enjoy working in Chicago at this professional office designed with flexible business owners in mind.
Why is the N. Lincoln Ave location good for doing business?
The Lakeview Chicago area has a small-town feel while still leveraging the big-business atmosphere and resources of downtown. Whatever business vertical you’re in, you’ll be surrounded and supported by the network of small business owners in the neighborhood.
The Lakeview and Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce has ample resources and helpful information for those looking to start small businesses in the neighborhood—and for those who already have. From hosting networking events in Lakeview, Chicago to offering opportunities for businesses to sponsor community events—such as PorchFest or Low-Line Market—the organization aims to help local companies thrive and garner visibility in the community.
Being part of a tight-knit community of residents and businesses will only boost your company’s positive reputation in the area.
Narrowing Down Your Search
Now that we’ve covered why working in Chicago is an easy choice for small business owners, as well as where to work in Chicago, all you have to do is narrow down your search for the best flexible office space. Alliance is the industry leader in flexible workspace options—and the only platform that offers full-service solutions to ease the day-to-day for business owners.
Not only do we offer virtual offices, meeting rooms, or coworking spaces in Chicago, we also have a Live Receptionist service, virtual phone service, mail forwarding and processing, and more. The daily grind just became a little more manageable.
Here is our suite of services to help support and grow your business.
A virtual office in Chicago is your best bet if you don’t live in the city but still want the credibility of a Chicago business address. Using a virtual business address with a Chicago zip code is a great way to establish your base of operations in a flexible and low-cost way.
Here are a few essential benefits of a virtual office in Chicago:
Safeguard your personal information: A separate business address will keep your private information, well, private. If your home address is listed publicly, that could put your personal assets at risk.
Set up an LLC: Use a Chicago virtual business address to set up your LLC. Why is this important? It not only uses a professional address on all business records, but it also protects you from being personally liable for any potential legal issues, such as business debts. If your home address is listed with your LLC or S or C corporation, that puts you and your family in jeopardy.
Build credibility: Perhaps you work from home in a nearby town, like Naperville or Waukegan, and don’t want to display your personal address on marketing collateral. We get it. That’s why we offer virtual offices throughout the Windy City that show potential investors and customers that you’re serious about working in Chicago and putting roots in the community—even if you’re physically located elsewhere.
Work wherever and whenever you want: Embrace the modern way to work by building your business outside your typical office confines. An Alliance virtual office allows you to work flexibly and efficiently.
We offer two virtual office plans—Platinum Plan and Platinum Plus Plan—that include a recognized business address, mail receipt and local pickup, and access to meeting rooms and private offices.
However, the virtual office Platinum Plus Plan also includes 16 hours of meeting room or private office time in the monthly price. So, you’ll save 75% on average with this plan—compared with the Platinum Plan—if you need to book professional office space more frequently.
With each plan, you can add on mail forwarding so that you don’t need to pick up your mail from the office. Choose monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly mail forwarding for low monthly fees.
Cut the distractions and save your time and energy for the thing you do best: scaling your business. The Alliance Live Receptionist service, an add-on to our two virtual office plans or a standalone service, is the best choice for the modern small business owner.
Here’s what you get:
- A professional, friendly receptionist who screens and answers every call, so you don’t have to. Every caller will experience outstanding service and a productive call experience.
- The service includes either a local or toll-free business number and an industry-leading virtual phone system. Use your dedicated business number, along with your virtual business address, to register and set up your LLC so you can start working in Chicago in no time.
- Choose from standalone monthly plans that include up to 500 live answering minutes, or select the Virtual Office Platinum Plan with Live Receptionist to get 50 live answering minutes.
If you still need convincing, learn why you need a Live Receptionist for your small business.
We’ve covered a few virtual offices throughout Chicago with on-site meeting rooms or private office space, but why is work in Chicago made easier with a meeting room? Even though you may live in one of the best places to work from home in Chicago, there are times when you’ll need to meet with clients or team members or hold presentations with investors. This is where Alliance meeting rooms come in.
Alliance is the only full-service flexible workspace platform that offers meeting room space in addition to virtual offices. When it’s time to schedule a meeting, simply locate one of the meeting rooms in Chicago—perhaps one of the offices we’ve discussed in this article—and book by the hour, half day, or full day. With on-demand, fast, online booking and friendly on-site receptionists to greet you and your guests upon arrival, Alliance makes working in Chicago easy and efficient.
Read our 5 Step Meeting Room Rental Checklist to align your budget, location, and workspace needs.
Tired of working from home or coffee shops? Alliance has you covered. Our coworking spaces in Chicago are designed with your health, wellness, and productivity in mind, so you don’t have to sacrifice your back on that kitchen chair just to have a flexible workspace.
With the Alliance coworking plan, you’ll get a professionally managed workspace with an ergonomic setup, Wifi or internet connectivity, and the ability to book either a hot desk or open seating. Collaborate with other local professionals and attend networking events to gather more contacts and clients and ultimately boost your business.
If you’re wondering where to work in Chicago at a coworking space, just select which space will set your company in the prime location for doing business, whether in River North, Logan Square neighborhood, or near the O’Hare International Airport, making it easy to fly in or out for business trips. All of these locations are near public transit, so don’t worry about battling traffic to make it to the office.
A few benefits of using an Alliance coworking space:
Flexible, cost-effective month-to-month, 6-month, or year-long plans
Access to meeting rooms or private offices
Free coffee and snacks (depending on your location)
Professional business address (That’s right! You can use your coworking space address on marketing collateral as well as your website.)
Get more work done in an Alliance coworking space and settle yourself in a collaborative work environment to spark business ideas. Check out our helpful coworking guide for entrepreneurs and freelancers for valuable tips on getting started.
Work in Chicago: Get Started with Alliance Today
Chicago draws people from all over the nation and the world—not just for its famous hot dogs, the annual Lollapalooza music festival, or the view from Willis Tower. It’s an ideal location for business folks—entrepreneurs, small business owners, or contractors—to work because of the growing economy, business resources, and diverse workforce.
Settle your business in the Logan Square neighborhood, Lakeview, or River North, or plan on working in downtown Chicago to be among Fortune 500 companies. Each neighborhood offers various benefits for businesses—the location you choose depends on your company’s needs.
Narrow down your search for the right Alliance plan, whether you only need a virtual business address in Chicago with Live Receptionist or you’d like to use local meeting rooms or coworking spaces.
Whichever plan you choose, remember that Alliance is the ultimate flexible workspace platform and an industry leader. Let us help you solidify your presence and grow your business quickly in the City of Big Shoulders. We make working in Chicago easy.