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About city Gallery Where to stay

Chicago is the third largest city in the US, located in northeast Illinois. Thanks to its convenient geographica location, it soon became an important industrial, transport and entertainment centre. Every year, Walt Disney’s native city – Chicago – is visited by more than 35 million tourists.

The city, founded in 1833 by the river of the same name, borders the state of Indiana in the northwest and the Lake Michigan on the southwestern coast. During the past 150 years, more than 100 suburbs developed around the city.

Chicago’s metropolitan area is home to 9.3 million people. The locals identify with their neighbourhoods, which became the city’s administrative unit back in 1920. African Americans comprise two fifths of the population; every third inhabitant is Caucasian; every fourth – of Spanish descent; and every twentieth is an Asian. Chicago is also home to one of the world’s largest Lithuanian expat communities.

Chicago at Night
Photo taken by Flickr | Roman Boed.  Chicago at Night

Since its inception in 1833, the city has grown into one of the world’s 10 most influential cities. Today’s Chicago is the cradle of Midwestern finance, economics and culture. The city is also widely recognised as an American centre of transport, business and architecture. Chicago’s skyscrapers, local food, political traditions and sports teams are some of its most distinguishing features.

The city is shaped like a rectangle. Its central part is situated by the Lake Michigan, while the south is mostly industrial. Most of the buildings in Chicago today were built after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Many of the eclectic, Neoclassicist buildings were erected in late-19th century.

Chicago from the Planetarium
Photo taken by Flickr | Serge Melki.  Chicago from the Planetarium

During the first part of the 20th century, Chicago was dominated by the Bauhaus architectural style. At this time, builders also began using suspended steel-screen structures. This was the first city in the world to build skyscrapers. Chicago has more than 200 buildings over 100 metres in height. Today, the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) is the city’s highest skyscraper, coming in at 442 metres. From its overview one can see as many as four states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The city’s other highest building – the Chicago Spire (609.6 m) – is still under construction. Chicago has old skyscraper-building traditions, and since 1973 is number one in the US.

Tourists are mostly attracted by the city’s central neighbourhood, called the Loop, which is home to its largest and most spectacular skyscrapers, cosiest restaurants, lots of sculptures and other art.

Millennium Park in Chicago
Photo taken by Flickr | Roman Boed.  Millennium Park in Chicago

Another way to enjoy the city view is by getting up into the air on one of the Ferris wheels - almost every medium-sized park has one. And there are plenty of parks here – the city has as many as 552 green zones within its limits. Chicago is also home to the world’s first Ferris wheel, built in 1851.

The city also has one of the world’s last zoos that can be accessed free of charge – the Lincoln Park Zoo.

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