What’s Doing in Chicago
Known to the world as the “Windy City,” a reference of uncertain origin that may have originated with either its weather and or its long-winded politicians, Chicago, with 2.7 million residents, is the third most populated city in the United States.
Chicago first came into existence as the site of Fort Dearborn, a fort built in 1803 that played a major role in a conflict between U.S. troops and the Potawatomi Indian tribe in 1812. The city was officially founded in 1837, and grew significantly due to the development of canals and railroads during the country’s westward expansion in the mid-19th century. Although parts of the city were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, they were quickly rebuilt and the city became an important center for industry, with manufacturing expansion fueled by immigration and social reform in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Today, Chicago is known for being a major transportation hub, with a railway system through which 50% of the country’s rail freight passes. Chicago, headquarters for both Boeing and United Airlines, boasts of one of the busiest airports in the world, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and its extensive public transit system serves the city’s neighborhoods and outlying suburbs. The city is home to a large Polish American population and Polish is the third most used language in the city after English and Spanish, possibly a reason LOT Polish Airlines chose to launch its non-stop Dreamliner service here in 2013.
Chicago is also an important center for finance, business, technology, and telecommunications, as well as for culture and the arts. The city offers a rich cultural tradition, from its active music and comedy scene to its many museums and striking works of public art, punctuated by local culinary highlights such as deep dish pizza and hot dogs.
As you stroll through the city’s streets, take note of its entertaining and scenic offerings as well as its many cultural and historic landmarks.
WHAT TO DO
Begin your journey through Chicago in the Loop, the city’s central business district and home to numerous cultural attractions including Grant Park, the State Street shopping district, and the Chicago Cultural Center.