Chicago is a city in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the third largest city in the United States. As of 2018, the population is 2,705,994. It is the city with the largest population in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the main city of the Chicago metropolitan area, or Chicagoland. The Chicago metropolitan area has 10 million people. This metropolitan area has the third largest population in the United States.

Chicago is by Lake Michigan. Chicago became a city in 1837 and is in between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. It grew quickly in the mid-19th century. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed many square miles and made more than 100,000 people homeless. Major efforts were made to rebuild it. Chicago's population grew when more construction jobs came. By 1900, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world. Chicago is known for its urban planning and zoning standards, for example, new construction styles from the Chicago School of architecture, the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper. Chicago built the first skyscraper in the world in 1885, the Home Insurance Building.

Chicago is a center for finance, culture, trade, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is one of the largest markets of the world. It makes 20% of all profit in goods and investments. The O'Hare International Airport is the fifth or sixth busiest airport in the world and first or second in the United States. The region has the largest number of federal highways. It has many railroads too.Globalization and World Cities Research Network lists Chicago as an alpha global city. The Global Cities Index ranked Chicago seventh in the world in 2017. The Chicago area generated $689 billion in 2018. It has a very diverse and balanced economy. Chicago is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Allstate, Boeing, Exelon, Kraft Heinz, McDonald's, Mondelez International, Sears, United Airlines Holdings, and Walgreens.

58 million people visited Chicago in 2018. It was the second most visited city in the United States. New York City had 65 million visitors in 2018. Chicago had first place in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index. This index was a survey about the quality of life in different areas. 15,000 people in 32 cities did the survey.

Some landmarks in the city are Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis (Sears) Tower, Grant Park, Chicago Riverwalk, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo. There are many universities and colleges, for example University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Chicago has professional sports teams in the major professional leagues, and two are Major League Baseball teams.


Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the founder of Chicago, 1700s
A drawing of The Great Chicago Fire, 1871
The Chicago NATO Summit logo, 2012
Richard M. Daley is the city's longest serving mayor

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable founded Chicago in the early 1700s. It was founded to create a canal to let boats on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River. Later, the city became a trading center for food, crops, and fur. The city grew very fast because of how the river back then was clean and healthy to drink. In 1837, Chicago became a city. The city grew until the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The fire lasted for almost a week. Almost half the city and its population were lost in the fire. After the fire, Chicago grew faster than ever.

Then, city's economy grew and more people migrated there from other parts of the world. many of the immigrants were Germans, Jews, Irish, Swedes, Poles, and Czechs. The immigrants were almost two-thirds of the city's population. In 1889, Jane Addams built Hull house in Chicago for children and the poor. In 1893, the city hosted the World's Columbian Exposition. In 1892, they created the University of Chicago.

In 1919, the city became known for its gangsters, for example Al Capone, Dean O’Banion, Bugs Moran, and Tony Accardo. In the 1929 Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, Al Capone ordered gangsters to be shot on St. Valentine's Day. Then, the city became known for John Dillinger, a bank robber. He could rob a bank in under two minutes. Dillinger was shot and killed at the Biograph Theatre in 1934.

Anton Cermak was the 44th mayor of Chicago. He was shot and killed during the Democratic party convention in 1933. A man tried to shoot Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cermak blocked the bullet to save the President. Cermak died hours later. In 1955, Mayor Richard J. Daley was a powerful and well known Democrat. He helped Martin Luther King and other activists share their thoughts without being arrested in Chicago.

The 1968 Democratic National Convention had large protests and riots outside the convention. Richard J. Daley helped create the construction sites for the Willis Tower, O'Hare International Airport, the McCormick Place, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jane Byrne helped Chicago to become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. She was the first female mayor of Chicago.

In 1982, seven people were poisoned with cyanide in Tylenol pills across the city. This led to changes in the packaging of over-the-counter drugs and to federal anti-tampering laws.

In 1983, Harold Washington became the first African American mayor of Chicago. He helped clean all dangerous and poor neighborhoods in the city. He was later re-elected, but died of a heart attack. He would become the second mayor of Chicago to die from a heart attack while in office. The first was Richard J. Daley. Eugene Sawyer finished Washington's second full term. Sawyer was the second African American Mayor of Chicago.

In 1989, Richard M. Daley, the son of Richard J. Daley, became the mayor of Chicago. Daley was the longest serving Mayor of Chicago.

In 2011, Rahm Emanuel became the first Jewish Mayor of Chicago.

In 2012, the NATO Summit was held in Chicago and lasted for three days. The city would also host the 38th G8 summit. The G8 summit was moved to Camp David because Chicago already hosted the NATO summit.

Chicago has the fourth-largest gross domestic product (GDP) of any city in the world. It is behind Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles, and ahead of London and Paris.

In 2019, Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor, making Chicago the largest city in the country to have a female, African-American, and LGBT+ mayor.


The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum was the first planetarium in the Northern Hemisphere

Chicago has a very well-known culture. Some of the many things Chicago is famous for are: Chicago-style hot dogs, Chicago-style (deep dish) pizza, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, jazz music, and 1920s gangsters, for example Al Capone. Chicago is also known for architecture, for example the Sears Tower and museums. It is also known for its loyal sports fans.

Chicago was home to the Bijou Theater, the longest-running gay adult theater and sex club in the United States. It opened in 1970, and it permanently closed its doors in September 2015.

For many years, the Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world. It is the second tallest building in the United States.

Chicago has the most Polish people inside its city limits outside of Warsaw. Historic U.S. Route 66 starts in Chicago by Grant Park in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Chicago is a major world financial center. It has the second largest central business district in the United States. The city is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). The city is also home to major financial and futures exchanges, for example the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which is owned by Chicago's CME Group. The CME Group also owns the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX) and the Dow Jones Indexes.

The city also has markets with unusual trade contracts, for example emissions (on the Chicago Climate Exchange), and equity style indexes (on the U.S. Futures Exchange). Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower.


WTTW is a PBS service channel for the Chicagoland area


There are many museums in Chicago.

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum - was built in 1930. It is the oldest planetarium in the world.
Art Institute of Chicago - has a large collection of American and Impressionist art.
Field Museum of Natural History - has Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus fossil.
Museum of Science and Industry - has many exhibits, for example a real Boeing 727 jet plane. United Airlines gave it to the museum.
Polish Museum of America - The museum is haunted by famous piano player Ignacy Jan Paderewski. It has large collection of Polish art.
Shedd Aquarium - at one time the world's largest aquarium. It has 19 million liters (5 million gallons) of water and 22,000 fish.


Sports are a big part of the cultural life in Chicago. Chicago is home to 15 sports teams. All of the city's major sports teams play within the city limits.

Wrigley Field is the home of the Chicago Cubs

Chicago has two Major League Baseball teams: the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs. The White Sox play at the Guaranteed Rate Field and the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs are one of the oldest teams in baseball. Chicago Cubs fans are dedicated and loyal to their team. The White Sox won the World Series in 2005. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016.

Chicago's National Basketball Association (NBA) team is the Chicago Bulls. For many years, Michael Jordan played for the Bulls. He helped them win six Championships in the 1990s. In 1999 season, if Jordan had stayed with the Bulls, he would have faced Spurs for the seventh championship and he would have won 11th scoring title.[1]

At American football, Chicago is the home of the Chicago Bears (National Football League) and the Chicago Rush (Arena Football League).

Chicago has two ice hockey teams, the Chicago Blackhawks (National Hockey League) and the Chicago Wolves (American Hockey League).

Chicago also has a Major League Soccer team, the Chicago Fire. It plays outside of the city in Bridgeview.


A CTA bus

Many people and things travel through Chicago to get to other places. Chicago has a complex network of trains and buses that help people who live in Chicago travel across the city. Chicago's commuter train system is called the Metra. It runs within the city and into the suburbs around Chicago. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is a system of buses and elevated trains (called the 'L') that run inside the city and towards the outer suburbs.

O'Hare International Airport is a major center for air travel. It is the second-busiest airport in the United States after the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Chicago has another airport called the Midway Airport. Many trains use Chicago as a place to change loads and to change directions. The Chicago River is a canal between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. It is the only river to travel backwards.

The CTA has eight train lines. They are:

     Red Line running from Rogers Park near the Chicago suburb of Evanston towards Roseland.
     Blue Line running from the O'Hare International Airport towards Forest Park.
     Brown Line running in a loop from Albany Park towards the Loop and back.
     Green Line has two different service trains running from Forest Park or Oak Park towards the South Side running until West Englewood (Ashland/63rd) or Woodlawn (Cottage Grove/63rd).
     Orange Line running in a loop from the Midway International Airport towards the Loop and back.
     Purple Line running from the Chicago suburb of Wilmette towards Evanston. During rush hour, it runs from Wilmette to the Loop and back.
     Pink Line running from the Chicago suburb of Cicero all the way to the Loop and back.
     Yellow Line running only in the Chicago suburbs of Evanston towards Skokie. It is the shortest train line of the CTA only having three stops.


The Chicago River frozen

Chicago has four seasons. Summers are hot and humid. The July average is 75.8 °F (24.3 °C). In a normal summer, temperatures are above 90 °F (32 °C) for 21 days. Winters are cold and snowy. There are often sunny days. The January daytime average is 31 °F (−1 °C). Spring and autumn are mild with low humidity. Chicago is in the humid continental climate zone.

Chicago's highest official temperature is 105 °F (41 °C). It was recorded on July 24, 1934, There was a reading of 109 °F (43 °C) recorded at Midway Airport during that month. The lowest temperature of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded on January 20, 1985, at O'Hare Airport. Bad winter cold waves and summer heat waves can last for many days. There are also many mild winter and summer days. Thunderstorms are common in spring and summer. Sometimes they make tornadoes. They are more common in the suburban areas and not in the city. The heaviest snowfall record was in January 1999. It snowed 18.6 inches (47.2 centimeters).


The Chicago River during the 2019 Polar Vortex

Chicago is known as the Windy City, but it is less windy than many other big American cities. Wind speeds range from 8 miles per hour (13 km/h) in late summer to 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) in spring months. The "Windy City" nickname could be connected to Chicago politicians from the 1800s. When Chicago hosted the World's Fair, citizens of Chicago started to brag about it. They bragged so much that the city of Chicago became known as "The Windy City. The phrase may have also been created by Chicago tourism boosters promoting the city. They suggested that the cool breezes from Lake Michigan make Chicago a good summer destination.

Community areas

Map of the Community Areas and 'Sides' of the City of Chicago, data complied from the Community Areas List and 'Sides' descriptions below

The community areas in Chicago, are defined by the Social Science Research Committee at the University of Chicago.The City of Chicago recognizes 77 divisions in the city. These areas are well-defined and stable. Census data helps make urban planning initiatives in the city.


North Side

West Side

South Side

Famous people from Chicago

These famous people have lived in or are from Chicago.

Law and Government

Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor in April 2019

Chicago is the county seat of Cook County. The government of the City of Chicago is divided into executive and legislative branches. Civil and criminal law cases are heard in the Cook County Circuit Court of the State of Illinois court system, or in the Northern District of Illinois, in the federal system. In the former, the public prosecutor is the Illinois State's Attorney, in the latter, the United States Attorney.

Mayors of Chicago

The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive, elected by general election for a term of four years, with no term limits. The mayor appoints commissioners and other officials who oversee the various departments. In addition to the mayor, Chicago's two other citywide elected officials are the clerk and the treasurer. The City Council is the legislative branch and is made up of 50 aldermen, one elected from each ward in the city. The council enacts local ordinances and approves the city budget. Government priorities and activities are established in a budget ordinance usually adopted each November. The council takes official action through the passage of ordinances and resolutions.

The current mayor is Lori Lightfoot since 2019. Chicago is the largest city in the United States to have an African-American female and LGBT person as mayor.


Chicago had a murder rate of 14.5 per 100,000 residents in 2012. Some smaller cities have higher rates, for example New Orleans, Newark, and Detroit had 53 murders per 100,000 residents in 2012. The total number of murders in the city was highest in 1974, with 970 murders (murder rate of 29 per 100,000). It was close in 1992 with 943 murders (murder rate of 34 per 100,000). Chicago had less violent crime rates in the 1990s. It had 448 homicides in 2004, the lowest total since 1965 (15.65 per 100,000). Chicago's murder rate was about the same in 2005, 2006, and 2007 with 449, 452, and 435.


Amtrak and Metra rail yard south of Union Station
A CTA Brown Line train leaving the Madison/Wabash station in the Chicago Loop.

Chicago is a major transportation spot in the United States. It is an important part of distribution in the world because it is the third largest inter-modal port in the world after Hong Kong and Singapore.


The Kennedy Expressway and Dan Ryan Expressways are the busiest state maintained roads in Illinois.

Night view of the Chicago Skyway tollbooths at the entrance to Chicago's southern city limits

Transit systems

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) controls the function of the three service boards: CTA, Metra, and Pace.

  • The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) controls public transportation in the city of Chicago. The CTA controls a large group of buses and a fast transit elevated and subway system known as the 'L' (for "elevated"), with lines shown by colors. Rapid transit lines go to Midway and O'Hare Airports. The CTA's rail lines have the Red Line, Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line, Brown Line, Purple Line, Pink Line, and Yellow Line. The Red and Blue lines have 24‑hour service. That makes Chicago one of a handful of cities around the world to have rail service 24 hours a day. Another city with 24-hour service is New York City.
  • Metra, the nation's second-most used passenger regional rail network, operates an 11-line commuter rail service in Chicago and throughout the Chicago suburbs. The Metra Electric Line shares its trackage with Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District's South Shore Line, which provides commuter service between South Bend and Chicago.
  • Pace provides bus and paratransit service in over 200 surrounding suburbs with some extensions into the city as well. A 2005 study found that one quarter of commuters used public transit.

Greyhound Lines gives inter-city bus service to and from the city. Chicago is also the spot for the Midwest network of Megabus.

Amtrak long distance services come from Union Station. Chicago is one of the largest hubs of passenger rail service in the nation. The buses end in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, New Oreleans, Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, Quincy, St. Louis, Carbondale, Boston, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Pontiac, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. They made an attempt in the early 20th century to connect Chicago with New York City via the Chicago – New York Electric Air Line Railroad. Parts of this were built, but it was never finished.


Chicago is in many movies. for example The Blues Brothers; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Child's Play, Home Alone; The Fugitive; The Untouchables, I, Robot; Wanted; Batman Begins; The Dark Knight; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Man of Steel; Widows and Rampage.

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Uses material from the Wikipedia article Chicago, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.