Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the third largest city in America with 2.7million residents, Chicago has captivated the hearts, minds, and souls of people all the world over for centuries. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods dedicated to maintaining the diverse and vibrant community they have built. The city has a thriving tourist industry and hosted over 54 million international and domestic visitors in 2016.
Chicago’s Criminal Past
The city’s crime problems over the years have become the stuff of legends; from Al Capone and his Valentine’s Day Massacre to the widespread gang problems of the 70s and 80s that nearly crippled the city, violence has been a huge part of Chicago’s history for better or worse.
Bootlegging during the Prohibition Era was perfected in the Windy City when there were over a thousand gangs operating within the city limits and Chicago has been notorious for having some of the highest murder rates in the world ever since.
Even today Chicago leads the country as the Murder capital of the United States, but that doesn’t mean that a visit to the city is a bad idea; on the contrary, Chicago is perfectly safe providing you don’t have an interest in some of the more run down areas.
The Musical History of Chicago
Chicago has also captivated people in song and on the silver screen as well. From the universally-known Broadway musical “Chicago” to the countless records like Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago”, Chi-Town has been a word on everybody’s lips for time immemorial.
This reputation is well earned, however, considering how much culture that is now part of the worldwide fabric originated in Chicago.
Jazz music, one of the greatest American inventions known to man, was born in Chicago after the “Great Migration”, when thousands of African Americans fled the more racist southern states in favor of the larger urban framework of the developing cities at the time like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, and Cleveland.
Visitors to Chicago will realize right away why the city has inspired so many artists, singers, and writers: Chicago is like no other city in the world.
Architecture of Chicago
While other cities have impressive skylines, none matches Chicago for the sheer grandeur of its skyscrapers. The Sears Tower was once the tallest building in the country but it has recently been eclipsed and it has also changed its name to the less iconic Willis Tower after Sears and Roebuck sold the landmark. All the same, the skyline of Chicago is still the tallest and largest in the world. There is good reason for this; after building the first steel-framed building in 1885, Chicago practically invented the skyscraper! Chief among these impressive edifices is one of the largest buildings in the world: The Merchandise Mart. This tourist favorite is so enormous that it has its own zip code! The Trump Tower is also an impressive draw, as if Chicago didn’t have enough to offer on its own.
Must-See Places in Chicago
- The Brookfield Zoo
- Chicago Philharmonic
- Wrigley Field
- “The Bean”
- Architecture Boat Tour
- Field Museum
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Shedd Aquarium
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Chicago Theatre
- Navy Pier
- Willis Tower
- Millennium Park
The Unique and Diverse City of Chicago
The Windy City of Chicago is a populous and booming city with many things to do, see, and enjoy. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, you can find almost every type of food, store, or experience you want and all within easy access thanks to the great public transportation system. Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States and is located in Illinois.
Outdoor public art is a big part of the city’s landscape. Some of the most notable include: Chagall’s Four Seasons; the Chicago Picasso; Miro’s Chicago; Calder’s Flamingo; Oldenburg’s Batcolumn; Moore’s Large Interior Form, 1953-54, Man Enters the Cosmos and Nuclear Energy; Dubuffet’s Monument with Standing Beast, Abakanowicz’s Agora; and, Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. There is also the Art Institute which is the largest and oldest art museum in the United States.
There are other museums to enjoy including the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, the Oriental Institute, History Museum, the Driehaus Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Polish Museum of America, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Pritzker Military Library, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Food is a big part of the Chicago identity. Two famous foods that have become iconic are deep dish pizza and hotdogs. No matter who you as, there will be differing opinions on who makes the best. Italian beef is also a staple of the Chicago diet so much so that you can find an Italian beef sandwich on almost every corner. Regional specialties define the area. So we encourage you to explore the various neighborhoods and sample the wide variety of regional and ethnic foods that are available to you. Come and explore this metropolitan city on the lake!
Chicago is a big sports town with a number of professional teams uniting (and dividing) the city. Chicago teams are among the most recognized franchises in worldwide sports history. For Major League Baseball there are the Cubs who just won the 2016 World Series and the White Sox. The championship Blackhawks are the resident NHL team in the city. The long tortured Chicago Bears are the NFL team and finally, the renowned Bulls are the basketball team. All of these teams have arenas and venues in the city. With the baseball teams in historically significant stadiums.
There is a lot of dedicated park and green space in the city. There are over 570 parks with 8,000 acres of land. There are 31 sand beaches and 51 nature areas. The Chicago Parks District operates the largest municipal harbor system with berths for more than 6,000 boats. New parks continue to be added as the city grows.
“The Ultimate Chicago Bucket List.” Choose Chicago, www.choosechicago.com/articles/bucket-list/the-ultimate-chicago-bucket-list. Accessed 10 Dec. 2020.