Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States. It has an estimated 2,705,598 people living in 1,288 square miles. Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and world-famous skyline. Chicago is so well known that it is nicknamed "The Second City." Chicago has the largest city park in the United States, with over 2,000 acres. Chicago is about 60 miles south of Minnesota and about 90 miles north of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Great Lakes border Chicago. If your looking for a taste of Chicago's famous cuisine or some photos of the iconic skyline, this list should provide great ideas on where to go within the city.
Famous Things About Chicago
1: Chicago's Chinatown
Chinatown is a neighborhood in Chicago. More than 75,000 people live in Chinatown during the daytime. Only 8,000 of those people are Chinese residents. In the early 20th century, Chicago's population grew rapidly, and many Chinese families moved to the city from China to help build America's railroads. It was common for Chinese men to work for Western railroads for years and send money back home to their families. The construction work was dangerous, and many were injured. The Chinese workers could not go to a hospital, so they stayed in Chinatown and set up small businesses. It is common for Chicago's Chinatown to be called "Little China" because of the Chinese residents.
2: The Home Of Oprah Winfrey And Barack Obama
Although the exact location of Barack Obama's house is a mystery, it is known that he lived in Chicago on the South Side before he became president. A few theories place his house next to Jesse Owens Park on the South Side. The park is just a short distance from his childhood home. Oprah Winfrey lived in the South Side of Chicago and was an anchorwoman for the local ABC station. She was Chicago's most popular TV personality when she started her national talk show. Oprah also owns a mansion in Hawaii and a huge ranch in Santa Barbara, California.
3: The Harold Washington Library Center
The Harold Washington Library Center is the second-largest library in Chicago. The center has over 45,000 volumes and a collection of rare books. The library is about five miles from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. It is named after Chicago's first African-American mayor. The library is named after Harold Washington because it was the first project of his administration. He wanted to build an African-American cultural center in Chicago's Southside. The 7-year project had its ups and downs but was completed in 2006.
4: State Street
State Street is the longest Street in Chicago and runs from the Illinois River through downtown Chicago. It is so long that it crosses Michigan Avenue and ends at 35th Street behind Tribune Tower. It also connects Union Station to the River Walk. The Street was selected in 1832 when the Illinois and Michigan Canal was built. In 1833, a wharf was constructed from 51st Street to 61st Street. This area became known as Dago Basin, and the road went through this area for the next 100 years.
5: The Sears Tower
The Sears Tower is one of Chicago's most famous landmarks. It is more than 1,451 feet tall and has 110 stories. It is the 2nd tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The tower was built between 1973 and 1974. It was commissioned by Sears, Roebuck, and Company, who wanted their headquarters in Chicago. Instead of having it in their hometown of Hoffman Estates, IL, they built it on Chicago's Michigan Avenue. The Sears Tower is so high that even from the outer edge of downtown, you can see it above Grant Park. It is located at 233 S. Wacker Drive.
6: The Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are one of history's most iconic sports franchises, with six championships, five MVP awards, and 11 All-Star appearances. The Bulls have played in the United Center since 1994 and are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, who bought the team in 1985. Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time because of his six NBA championships and five straight NBA Most Valuable Player awards from 1991 to 1996. Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. The Chicago Bulls have won three NBA championships since 1998 and have the second most wins in the league.
7: Mayor Daley Taxicabs
Mayor Richard J. Daley, who served from 1955 to 1976, created a fleet of yellow taxicabs known as the "Cabbie Fleet." They are still one of Chicago's most common taxi fleets despite having only 600 cabs and no preference for race or color. They are known as the "L" cabs and are the only taxis allowed to park at CTA rail stations. The Chicago city government made them famous with a song they sang while waiting for passengers. The song was later adopted as the theme song for the cabbies.
8: Chicago's Lakefront Trail
The beautiful lakeshore known as "The Lakefront Trail" is more than just a walk in Chicago. A public path runs throughout Lake Michigan, from Oak Street Beach to Ardmore Avenue. The path is almost 5 miles long and has a wide walkway and bike lane. In some spots, the path goes under Lake Shore Drive, which allows you to pass through Chicago without ever seeing a car. Recently, the park district began installing solar panels on some of its buildings along the lakefront trail. You can also see Navy Pier from many points along the trail.
9: Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is located in Hyde Park, just on the North Side of downtown. The garden was planted in 1864 and was originally known as the "Fifth Avenue Grove." The original goal was to create a formal park with a lake and a building that looked like an English garden. It still has replicas of this English-style garden but also features more modern sculptures. The garden features many flowers, from large tropical plants to smaller varieties worldwide.
10: Navy Pier
Navy Pier is known for its Ferris wheel, carousel, and other rides. It is located in the Chicago Loop on Lake Michigan. Before World War I, a pier stretched out over Lake Michigan but was destroyed by fire in 1916. Today, the pier is almost 3 miles long. Many people need to learn that Navy Pier was built during World War I to protect Navy vessels from German U-Boats. Chicagoans used to call it "The Great Wharf" or "The Municipal Pier." Today, it is one of Chicago's most popular tourist destinations with shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
11: The Magnificent Mile
"Magnificent Mile," a street that stretches 1.5 miles from State Street to East Oak Street, is one of the most famous shopping areas in the Midwest. This stretch of Michigan Avenue has some of Chicago's most expensive shops and the most tourists and shoppers. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was held on Lake Park Way and 32nd Street during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The show was so popular that it continued to play in Chicago even after the expo ended. Today, the Street has luxury shops, hotels, and restaurants.
Wrigleyville is named for the landmark Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue. William Wrigley Jr., who owned the Chicago Cubs, erected this building. The building is known for its four clocks visible from several points along Lake Michigan. The clock on the Right Side of the building says, "You're never fully dressed without a smile." It also has a sign at the top that says "Cubs. Chicago. Chicago Cubs." Wrigley Field, the Cubs ballpark, is at Clark and Addison Streets.
13: Rotary Centennial Bridge
Eero Saarinen designed the Rotary Centennial Bridge in 1959. It links Michigan Avenue and Oak Street and stretches across Chicago's lakefront. The bridge is named for the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club, founded in 1905. The bridge features four 50-foot high columns built of alternating wide and thin cylinders of white concrete. On the sides, you can see the "fingers" of an abstract hand that Saarinen said he based on the "sleek, strong fingers" of his wife.
14: The Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago Riverwalk is a system of pathways, parks, and bridges along the Chicago River. The riverwalk has been created to connect the downtown area with parks and neighborhoods in the city. It is made up of six miles of walkways. The original design for the walkways was supposed to be built in 1979, but construction began later that year due to a shortage of funds. Once it began, one stretch was completed each day except Sundays. Completion was finally reached in 1986, and today, Chicago is one of only a few cities worldwide with waterfront paths.
15: The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. It features holiday decorations, lights, and events along a stretch of the Magnificent Mile. The festival has been held every year since 1996, but the first year featured only 33 buildings. Today, around 200 buildings in this area have decorations synchronized to music and light shows. Many of the decorations remain up until January 1 of the new year.
16: Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain is a famous fountain located in Grant Park. It was constructed in 1927, just to the South of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is named for its donor, Kate Buckingham, a famous suffragist. The fountain is more than 100 feet high and features massive sprays of water that leap from different levels. Its lighting can be changed to show many different colors and patterns.
17: The Bean and the Chicago Theater
The Bean, known as The Newberry, is a landmark building at 203 S. State Street. It was designed by Louis Sullivan in 1894. The building was originally called the "Chicago Trust Company" but was renamed when it became a library in 1935. Today, this famous building houses various museums and historical sites, mainly from the Chicago Historical Society. In 1986, the theater inside it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
18: The Chicago Film Hall of Fame
The Chicago Film Hall of Fame is located at 333 North Michigan Avenue. It was opened in 2003 and has several former directors and cinematographers who have shot films that are now considered classics. The museum has over 500 DVDs, videos, film posters, costumes, and props from the 80s to today. The museum has about 30 videos and DVDs that have been inducted into the hall of fame, including "The Paper" (1973), "MASH" (1970), and "The Godfather" (1972).
19: Duo-Tone Bridge
Duo-Tone is the name of a bridge over the Chicago River designed by David Haid in 1999. The bridge has two towers that are painted in different colors and sit on silver towers. This bridge connects Michigan Avenue to Wacker Drive. The two silver towers are decorated with light fixtures in 45 different colors. According to city officials, there were concerns about bridge safety in 2006 when the lights were found to be getting brighter and brighter for no reason. It caused the bridge's light to be turned off for two weeks to correct the problem.
Bronzeville is a neighborhood along the south Side of Chicago that was once a major African American center. The neighborhood has many cultural landmarks, including the National Museum of Mexican Art and the DuSable Museum of African American History. There are also several places of worship, such as Temple Beth El and Trinity United Church, and several parks, such as Washington Park. Numerous awards, including National Multiple Property Incentive Districts and Design Chicago, have recognized the neighborhood. The Bronzeville neighborhood has a median household income of $62,900 and an unemployment rate of 9%.
21: Clark Street
Clark Street is the name of a street that runs parallel to Michigan Avenue in Chicago's Loop neighborhood. This Street is home to high-end hotels and restaurants like The Peninsula Chicago and Twelve Restaurant. The Street also has many popular shopping centers such as The Magnificent Mile and The Water Tower Place. Clark Street's namesake is the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad that connected Michigan Avenue to the Indiana state line into Indiana. Today, Clark Street is lined with buildings, shops, and restaurants.
22: The Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire was a fire that destroyed a large amount of the city in 1871. It started on October 8 and burned for 32 hours across over three square miles. The fire began in a barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary at 137 DeKoven Street, now in the city's Old Town neighborhood. Approximately 300 people died due to the fire, and 100,000 became homeless. Many of the buildings were made out of wood which caused them to burn and collapse quickly. There are many different theories about how the fire started, but it is generally accepted that the O'Learys' cow kicked over a lantern which sparked a fire in their barn.
23: Old St. Patrick's Church
Old St. Patrick's Church is located in Chicago's Loop at 119 East Huron Street. It is the second location of Old St. Patrick's, as the original church was built in 1836 at Kinzie Avenue and what is now State Street. The church was built in 1854 by Patrick, then Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago. It was rebuilt after the fire and was given its current Gothic Revival architecture in 1897, which includes stained glass windows. The church has a large statue of St. Patrick and a gargoyle made from a piece of the Statue of Liberty.
24: The Smart Museum
The Smart Museum is located at 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue. It was founded by Edward H. Levi, president of the University of Chicago, in 1938. The university used the term "junk" to describe many objects because it did not wish to pay high taxes on individual items. The museum suffered a great loss when it was robbed in 1991, resulting in the loss of over 4,000 items, including paintings and other unique objects.
Chicago is a large city that offers many things to do. It has several monuments, a vibrant downtown, and many different neighborhoods to explore. In addition, it has a variety of museums and cultural landmarks that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This city is a melting pot of cultures and a place for many people to unite and share opinions. Chicago offers everything, from foods from almost every country to modern and historical architecture. If you are still deciding what to do in Chicago, look at a map or explore the streets. There will be something new to see or experience around every corner.