Welcome to Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, with a population of nearly three million people and 9.5 including the surrounding suburbs that stretch from Wisconsin to Indiana!

Lot’s of learning in the U Of C Library. Look dark? The lights are all on sensors so electricity is not wasted in areas where there are no people.

Quick Facts To Get You Started

2,716,450 residents
237 square miles of land
50 wards
77 neighborhoods
56 museums
More than 125 art galleries and 20 neighborhood art centers
Over 700 public art works
More than 250 theaters, 225 music venues and 200 dance companies
8 major league sports teams, including two MLB teams
Former United States President, Barack Obama

It Was Invented Here, In Chicago

Mail Order Business, 1872
Roller Skates, 1884
Steel-framed Skyscraper, 1885
Elevated Railway, 1892 Cracker Jacks, 1893
Cafeteria, 1895
Car Race, 1895
Zipper, 1896
Municipal Cultural Center, 1897
Window Envelope, 1902
Rotary Club, 1905
American Nobel Prize-winner, 1907
Comprehensive Municipal Plan, 1909
U.S. Meat Slicer, 1909
Automated Bread Factory, 1910
Zoot Suit, 1920s
Malted Milkshake, 1922
Pinball Game, 1930
Hostess Twinkie, 1930
All-Star Baseball Game, 1933 Blood Bank, 1937
Spray Paint, Late 1940s
Controlled Atomic Reaction, 1942
Daytime TV Soap Opera, 1949

There’s Plenty To See & Do In Chicago

36 annual parades
40 annual film festivals
74 music festivals
200 professional dance companies
More than 200 theaters
250 live music venues
40+ annual film festivals
20+ film and filmmaker nonprofit organizations
12+ art house and independent cinemas
13,000 film and TV production jobs
400+ individual film and TV productions

Music Scene In Chicago

Chicago is the birthplace of gospel, electric blues, house, juke, footwork, and drill. The unique sounds born in Chicago continue to resonate around the world. We’re also the home of renowned artists including Louis Armstrong, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind and Fire, Chance the Rapper, Common Smashing Pumpkins, Rise Against, Muddy Waters, and Kanye West. Chicago is a city music of festivals, celebrating every music genre. Experience Chicago’s most notable music festivals including the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival and Riot Fest.
250 live music venues including the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, and Joffrey Ballet.
There are more than 70 music festivals the Chicago including Blues Festival, Pitchfork, and Riot Fest & Lollapalooza
Some of the popular music destinations are
Thalia Hall – Pilsen
Vic Theater – Lakeview
Riviera Theater – Uptown
House of Blues – River North
Green Mill – Uptown
Aragon Ballroom – Uptown
Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Downtown
Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz
Ravinia Festival
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
The Metro – Lakeview

Movies, TV & Film In Chicago

Affordability, top notch crew and talent, and state-of-the-art facilities and vendors have made Chicago a hotbed for film and television dating back to The Blues Brother. Notable studios include Cinespace Studios, the largest North American soundstage outside of L.A and Music Box Films, one of the leading distributors of foreign language films documentaries in the U.S. For film fans, there’s the free Millennium Park Summer Film Series and film festivals year-round like the Chicago International Film Festival, the Latino, Black Harvest, Reeling (LGBTQ), Underground, Midwest Independent, and Children’s International film fest.

Theater Scene In Chicago

Chicago is the theater capital of the U.S.— birthplace of storefront theatre and improv comedy, home to long-running Broadway hits and boasting more world premieres than any other city in the country. Chicago’s 250-plus theatre companies take the stage at more than 200 theatres to perform work as varied and diverse as their audiences. Theatre-goers can choose from thousands of performances annually, featuring everything from Shakespeare to variety, in many languages. From the grand historic downtown theatres to those tucked away in a neighborhood storefront or church basement, audiences will find theatre of the highest quality throughout the city. Explore from one of the 150-plus buildings with behind-the-scenes tours.

Long Standing Chicago Theaters

Second City – Old Town
Music Box Theater – Lake View
Goodman Theater – Loop
Chicago Theater – Loop
Mayne Stage – Rogers Park
Lifeline Theater – Rogers Park
Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater – Boystown
Apollo 2000 (Formerly Marshal Square Theater) – Little Village
Gateway Theater – Jefferson Park
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Annoyance Theater
Victory Gardens Theatre
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
Lookingglass Theatre Company

Hope You’re Hungry

More than 7,300 restaurants
7 AAA Diamond-rated restaurants
26 Michelin-starred restaurants
40 James Beard Award-winning restaurants, and host of the annual James Beard Awards
54 Bib Gourmand winners
144 dog-friendly restaurants

City In A Garden

The beauty of Chicago lies not only in its magnificent architecture, but also in the city’s vast preserved green and open spaces. Chicagoans have over 580 parks and 8,300 acres of green spaces at their disposal. With beaches, ice rinks and bike paths, there’s no shortage of outdoor recreation for Chicagoans.
Parks district –

Chicago has a lot of greenspace!
8,100 acres of green space
600 parks
500 playgrounds
70 nature and bird sanctuaries
307 fields for soccer, football, lacrosse and more
250 field houses
534 tennis courts and 6 indoor courts

When it’s warm we love the water too. Chicago boasts:
80 swimming pools
29 beaches
26 miles of open lakefront

Chicago Riverwalk
An award-winning $108 million, 1.25-mile promenade along the south bank of the Chicago River downtown. Future expansion will extend the Riverwalk south an additional 1.8 miles from Lake Street to Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown.

Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park, on Chicago’s North Side, attracts 20 million visitors annually. They come to see the nation’s oldest zoo to explore exotic plants at the grand Victorian glass conservatory, enjoy plays at the outdoor theater, row along the canal, stroll through the North Pond Nature Sanctuary and Butterfly conservatory, picnic on the playing fields, and frolic on North Avenue Beach.

Millennium Park
The top tourist destination in Chicago and the Midwest in 2017, Millennium Park offers 25 acres of exuberant architecture, serene gardens, grand pavilions, and dazzling fountains that sculpt light and water, walking paths. The park is home to a constantly rotating schedule of free cultural events for all ages, all year long.

Jackson Park
Jackson Park offers more than 500 acres of mature parkland along the lakefront, containing flower gardens, watercourses to wooded isles, sports facilities, stocked fish ponds, 18 miles of walking and biking paths. It is also the future site of the Barack Obama Presidential Center.

606/Bloomingdale Trail
A $95 million conversion of a former rail line to a 2.7-mile elevated park that extends through four vibrant, Chicago neighborhoods. An expansion will include 32 acres of linear park space along the Chicago River, 10 acres of sports and recreational fields and 17 acres of wetland park.

Go Sports!

As much as Chicagoans like to play sports, we also love to watch the pros do it. Chicago has been named the Best Sports City by Sporting News three times and has made TSE’s international Ranking of Sport Cities every year since 2012.
Greatest Chicago Sport Moments
1837: The Invention of Softball
1906: Chicago White Sox win World Series
1907: Chicago Cubs win World Series
1908: Chicago Cubs win World Series
1917: Chicago White Sox win World Series
1935: Chicago Cubs secure a record as the third-longest unbeaten MLB game streak with 21 consecutive wins.
1935: Chicago native, Jay Berwanger was the first recipient of the Heisman Trophy.
1977: Walter Payton sets single game rushing record
1986: Chicago Bears win Super Bowl
1991-1993 Chicago Bulls, 3peat
1996-1998 Chicago Bulls, 3peat
1998: Chicago Fire wins MLS Cup
2005: The Chicago White Sox win the World Series and break 88-year title drought
2010: Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup Championship
2012: Chicago Red Stars win National Women’s Open
2013: Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup Championship
2015: Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup Championship
2016: The Chicago Cubs win World Series; break 108-year title drought and broke the “Curse of the Billy Goat”

Go See Chicago Sports Teams Play Here

Wrigley Field – Lake View
Guaranteed Rate Field (Formerly Comiskey Park) – Bridgeport
Soldier Field – South Loop
United Center – Near West Side
Wintrust Arena – Near South Side
Toyota Park – McKinley Park

Major Teams

Chicago Cubs – baseball
Chicago Bears – football
Chicago Bulls – basketball
Chicago White Sox – baseball
Chicago Blackhawks – hockey
Chicago Fire – soccer
Chicago Sky – basketball
Chicago Red Stars – soccer
NCAA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association)
DePaul Blue Demons
Loyola Ramblers
Chicago State Cougars
UIC Flames

Chicago Is Very Bike Friendly

Chicago has the second-highest percentage of commuters riding their bikes to work
Bicycle commute times in the region average only 23 minutes
303 miles of bike lanes
19 miles of lakefront bicycle paths along Lake Michigan
303 miles of bike lanes
13,000+ bike racks
A 40-acre bike path for BMX and trail-riding

Chicago voted best bike city in America

Chicago was named America’s Best Bike City by Bicycling Magazine in 2016. Chicago’s dedication to invest in better bike infrastructure made biking it safer and more comfortable for everyone in Chicago, regardless of age or ability.
Since 2011, Chicago has added:
More than 115 miles of protected bike lanes
A network of 303 miles
255 miles of on-street bike lanes
5 miles of off-street trails.

Chicago Flag

You are going to see this flag all over the city. On flagpoles, murals, city vehicles, and tattoos!
Wallace Rice, a lecturer on heraldry and flag design at the Art Institute of Chicago, designed the original two-star flag that was adopted in 1917. City Council added two more stars, on October 9, 1933 and December 21, 1939.
The top white stripe represents the North side of the city. The center white stripe represents the West side of the city. The bottom white stripe represents the South side of the city.
The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bottom blue stripe represents the South Branch of the Chicago River and the Great Canal.
Starting from the flagpole, the four red stars in the middle white stripe represent:
Fort Dearborn, added in 1939. The points of the star signify the history of Illinois’ governing bodies: France, 1693; England, 1693-1763; Virginia, 1763-1778; Northwest Territory, 1778-1798; Indiana Territory, 1798-1802; Illinois statehood, 1818.
Great Chicago Fire of October 8-10, 1871, on the original flag. The points of the star signify transportation, labor, commerce, finance, populousness and salubrity (health).
World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, on the original flag. The points of the star signify religion, education, aesthetics, justice, beneficence and civic spirit.
Century of Progress Exposition, added in 1933. The points of the star represent significant attributes of the city: world’s third largest city (in 1933), Chicago’s motto “Urbs in Horto,” the “I will” motto, Great Central Market, Wonder City, Convention City.

City Symbol: Y (Why?)

The Y symbol:
If you start looking for ‘em you will see these symbols all over the city.
The Y symbol, also called the Municipal Device, represents the Chicago River and its two branches. The Y symbol is meant to be used unofficially by citizens, businesses and other organizations to promote pride in the city. Users are free to color and design it however they wish.

Dropping More Knowledge

Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837.
Chicago’s first permanent settler — and businessman — was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, an African-American from what is now Haiti, in 1779. In du Sable’s home, which he shared with his Indian wife, the first marriage in Chicago was performed, the first election was held, and the first court handed down justice.
The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built in 1885.
The 1893 Columbian Exposition grounds were so strikingly attractive and popular that they launched the so-called ‘City Beautiful’ movement, an emphasis on parks, boulevards and other green space, in American city planning.
In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project — reversing the flow of the Chicago River so that it emptied into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan. Each year, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1949.
The first televised U.S. presidential candidates’ debate was broadcast from Chicago’s CBS Studios on September 26, 1960, between John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon.
Sen. Carol Moseley Braun became the country’s first female African-American U.S. senator in 1992.
The atom was first split (leading to the A bomb and nuclear power) under the football stands of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.
Chicago’s own Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House, was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. The Hull House opened in 1889 to aid Chicago immigrants.
The term “Jazz” was coined in Chicago in 1914. The city’s native musicians included band leader Benny Goodman and drummer Gene Krupa.

Fill Your Brain

The “Historic Route 66” begins in Chicago at Grant Park on Adams Street in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.
McCormick Place, Chicago’s premier convention center, offers the largest amount of exhibition space in North America (2.6 million square feet).
The first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Today, Navy Pier is home to a 15-story Ferris wheel, modeled after the original one.
The Chicago Cultural Center is the first free municipal cultural center in the U.S. and home to the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome.
When it opened in 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, with approximately 6.5 million books, was the world’s largest municipal library.
Lincoln Park Zoo, one of only three major free zoos in the country, is one of the country’s oldest zoos with an estimated annual attendance of 3.5 million.
The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 110 stories high.
The Willis Tower elevators are among the fastest in the world operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute.
Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.
Over 52 million people visit Chicago annually.
Chicago’s nicknames include: The Windy City, City of Big Shoulders, The Second City, and The City That Works.
Chicago’s downtown area is known as “The Loop.” The nickname refers to the area encircled by the elevated (‘L’) train tracks.
The game of 16-inch softball, played without gloves, was invented in Chicago.
Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. He studied drawing at Chicago’s McKinley High School and the Institute of Fine Arts.
The Twinkie was invented during the Depression by Chicagoan Jimmy Dewar, at the time, manager of Chicago’s Continental Baking Company. The dessert was dubbed “Twinkie” after Dewar spotted an ad for Twinkle Toe Shoes. Originally filled with banana cream, but as bananas became scarce during WWII, vanilla cream was substituted.
Frank Sinatra introduced the song, “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)” in the 1964 Warner Brothers musical “Robin and the Seven Hoods.” The song was voted best motion picture song of 1964 by the All American Press Association.
The first all-color TV station debuted in Chicago (Channel 5).
Chicago has the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris.