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Chicago Lake View

Since its foundation in 1833 as a frontier town of the Old Northwest, Chicago has grown into one of the ten most influential world cities. Chicago today is the financial, economic, and cultural capital of the Midwest, and is recognized as a major transportation, business, and architectural center. The city's skyscrapers, local cuisine, political traditions, and sports teams are some of its most recognized symbols. Chicago is known as the "Second City," the "Windy City," the "City of Big Shoulders", "Chi-City,"and "Chi-town."

Thirty-three million foreign and domestic visitors came to Chicago in 2005. Luxury shopping along the Magnificent Mile, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's position as global architectural capital, have attracted millions of tourist over the years. The city is also a convention hub, being America's third largest city for conventions, behind only Las Vegas, and Orlando.

During the mid-1700s the Chicago area was inhabited primarily by Potawatomis, who took the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox people. The first non-native settler in Chicago, Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable, was Haitian and arrived in the 1770s, married a Potawatomi woman, and founded the area's first trading post. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, which was destroyed in 1812 in the Fort Dearborn Massacre. The Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi later ceded the land to the United States in the Treaty of St. Louis of 1816. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of 350, and within seven years it grew to a population of over 4,000. The City of Chicago was incorporated on March 4, 1837.

Chicago in its first century was one of the fastest growing cities in the world, having started with a population of zero at the beginning of the 1800's swelling to over 1 million people by 1900. It was the only city in the world with over 1 million people at the beginning of the 20th century that didn't exist at the beginning of the previous century.

Starting in 1848, the city became an important transportation link between the eastern and western United States with the opening of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, Chicago's first railway, and the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which allowed shipping from the Great Lakes through Chicago to the Mississippi River. With a flourishing economy that brought many new residents from rural communities and immigrants from Europe, Chicago grew from a city of 299,000 to nearly 1.7 million between 1870 and 1900. The city's manufacturing and retail sectors dominated the Midwest and greatly influenced the American economy, with the Union Stock Yards' dominating the packing trade.

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago experienced rapid rebuilding and growth. During Chicago's rebuilding period, the first skyscraper was constructed in 1885 using steel-skeleton construction. In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition on former marshland at the present location of Jackson Park. The World's Columbian Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors, and is considered among the most influential world's fairs in history. The University of Chicago was founded one year earlier in 1892 on the same location. The term "midway" for a fair or carnival referred originally to the Midway Plaisance, a strip of park land that still runs through the University of Chicago campus and connects Washington and Jackson parks.

The city was the site of labor conflicts and unrest during this period, which included the Haymarket Riot on May 4, 1886. Concern for social problems among Chicago's lower classes led to the founding of Hull Hous in 1889, of which Jane Addams was a co-founder. The city also invested in many large, finely-landscaped municipal parks, which also included public sanitation facilities.

Lake Michigan Chicago LighthouseLake Michigan - the primary source of fresh water for the city - was already highly polluted from population growth and the rapidly growing industries in and around Chicago. The city responded by embarking on several large public works projects, including a large excavation project which built tunnels below Lake Michigan to newly built water cribs, which were two miles off the lakeshore. However, the cribs failed to bring enough clean water since spring rains would wash the polluted water from the Chicago River into them. Beginning in 1855, Chicago constructed the first comprehensive sewer system in the U.S. In 1900, the problem of sewage was solved by reversing the direction of the River's flow with the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal leading to the Illinois River.

The 1920s brought international notoriety to Chicago as gangsters such as Al Capone battled each other and the law during the Prohibition era. Nevertheless, the 1920s also saw a large increase in Chicago industry as well as the first arrivals of the Great Migration that would lead thousands of mostly Southern blacks to Chicago and other Northern cities. On December 2, 1942, the world's first controlled nuclear reaction was conducted at the University of Chicago as part of the top secret Manhattan Project.

Mayor Richard J. Daley was elected in 1955, in the era of so-called machine politics. Starting in the 1950s, many upper and middle-class citizens left the inner-city of Chicago for the suburbs and left many impoverished neighborhoods in their wake. Nevertheless, the city hosted the 1968 Democratic National Convention and saw the construction of the Sears Tower (which became the world's tallest building), McCormick Place, and O'Hare Airport. In 1979 Jane Byrne, the city's first female mayor, was elected. She popularized the city as a movie location and tourist destination, but also failed to manage its finances well.

In 1983 Harold Washington became the first African American to be elected to the office of mayor; during his time in office, Chicago spent the same amount of public funds in each of its wards for the first time in its history. Current mayor Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, was first elected in 1989. New projects during the younger Daley's administration have made Chicago larger, more environmentally friendly, and more accessible.

Since the early 1990s, Chicago has seen a turnaround with increased ethnic diversity and many formerly abandoned neighborhoods starting to show new life. As a part of its environmentally friendly image, Chicago declared the peregrine falcon, a protected species that started to build its nests in Chicago skyscrapers, the official bird of the city in 1999. Under the current Mayor Daley, Chicago has seen considerable investment in infrastructure, revitalizing downtown theatres and retail districts, and improving lakefront and riverfront cityscapes.

Chicago River Weather:
Chicago, like much of the Midwest, has a climate that is prone to extreme, often volatile, weather conditions. The city experiences four distinct seasons. In July, the warmest month, high temperatures average 84 °F and low temperatures 63 °F. In January, the coldest month, high temperatures average 29 °F with low temperatures averaging 13 °F . According to the National Weather Service, Chicago's highest official temperature reading of 105 °F was recorded on July 24, 1934. The lowest temperature of −27 °F degrees was recorded on January 20, 1985.

Chicago's yearly precipitation averages about 38 inches. Summer is the rainiest season, with short-lived rainfall and thunderstorms more common than prolonged rainy periods. Winter is the driest season, with most of the precipitation falling as snow.

Population:
Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the third-most populous city in the United States, with approximately 2.9 million people. When combined with its suburbs and nine surrounding counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, the greater metropolitan area known as Chicagoland encompasses a population greater than 9.4 million, making it the third largest in the United States.

 

Month

Avg. Precipitation
(inches)
High
(Fahrenheit)
Low
(Fahrenheit)
January 2.2 32° 18°
February 1.8 38° 24°
March 3.0 47° 32°
April 3.7 59° 42°
May 3.7 70° 51°
June 4.3 80° 61°
July 3.7 84° 66°
August 3.9 83° 65°
September 3.2 76° 57°
October 2.7 64° 46°
November 3.3 49° 35°
December 2.6 37° 24°

Adler Planetarium

1.) The Field Museum of Natural History, sits on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, and is part of a scenic complex known as Museum Campus Chicago. The Museum is organized into four major departments: Anthropology, Zoology, Botany and Geology. Visitors will be able to see Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton currently known, a comprehensive set of human cultural anthropology exhibits, including artifacts from ancient Egypt, the Pacific Northwest and Tibet and a large and diverse taxidermy collection, featuring many large animals, including two prized African elephants and the infamous Lions of Tsavo, featured in the 1996 movie "The Ghost and the Darkness".

2.) The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago, was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. The Adler was founded and built in 1930 by the philanthropist Max Adler, with the assistance of the first director of the planetarium, Philip Fox. It is located amongst many other world famous museums on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago's Museum Campus.

3.) The John G. Shedd Aquarium was at one time the largest indoor aquarium in the world with 5 million gallons of water and 20,000 fish; it has since been eclipsed by the 8 million gallon Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. The aquarium is surrounded by Museum Campus Chicago, which it shares with Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. The aquarium gets 2 million annual visits. It contains 8,000 animals of 650 species including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians and insects.

4.) The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Chicago, Illinois in Jackson Park, in the Hyde Park neighborhood. It is housed in the only in-place surviving building from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the former Fine Arts Building. The Museum has several major permanent exhibits. Take Flight recreates a San Francisco to Chicago flight using a real Boeing 727 jet plane. The Coal Mine re-creates a working mine inside the museum. The museum has just opened a new exhibit space for the U-505 Submarine, the only German submarine captured by the US in World War II. Silent film actress Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle is on display, as is The Great Train Story, a 3,500 square foot model railroad that explains the story of transportation from Seattle to Chicago.

Observatories and Skyscrapers

Chicago at Night1.) The John Hancock Center and Observatory at 875 N. Michigan Ave. is a one-hundred-story, 1,127 ft. tall skyscraper designed by structural engineer Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and, when completed in 1969, was the tallest building in the world outside New York City. It is the third-tallest skyscraper in Chicago and the fourth-tallest in the United States, after the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building and the Aon Center.

2.) The Sears Tower is the tallest building in the United States. Construction commenced in August 1970 and the building reached its originally anticipated maximum height on May 3, 1973. When completed, the Sears Tower had overtaken the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as the world's tallest building. The tower has 108 stories as counted by standard methods, though the building owners count the main roof as 109 and the mechanical penthouse roof as 110. The distance to the roof is 1,450 feet, 7 inches, measured from the east entrance.

Parks and Zoos

1.) Originally built in 1916, the Navy Pier has long been one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. Once utilized as a shipping terminal and then a training area for the Navy during World War II, the Navy Pier was rebuilt in the 1990s. The pier's current layout includes fast-food kiosks, shops, a ballroom, a concert stage, and convention exhibition halls. Centerpiece attractions include a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel, an IMAX theater, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Children's Museum, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. The pier now features a large front lawn showcasing numerous larger-than-life public art sculptures and an interactive dancing fountain. It continues to be used as an embarkation point for tour and excursion boats. One of its most popular yearly attraction is the tall ship of the Venetian Night festival. The pier and its grounds encompass more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and other entertainment

2.) Lincoln Park is a 1,200 acre park along Chicago’s lakefront facing Lake Michigan. It is Chicago's largest public park. It has many recreational facilities including 15 baseball areas, 6 basketball courts, 2 softball courts, 35 tennis courts, 163 volleyball courts, field houses, a golf course, and a popular fitness center. It includes a number of harbors with boating facilities, as well as public beaches. There are landscaped gardens, a zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and a theater on the lake with regular outdoor performances during the summer.

3.) The Brookfield Zoo is a zoo located in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield. The zoo covers an area of 200 acres and houses over 400 species of animals.Brookfield Zoo opened on July 1, 1934 and quickly gained international recognition for using moats and ditches, instead of cages, to separate animals from visitors. The zoo was also the first in America to exhibit giant pandas, one of which (Su-Lin) has been taxidermied and put on display in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. In 1960, Brookfield Zoo built the nation's first fully-indoor dolphin exhibit, and in the 1980s the zoo introduced Tropic World, the first fully-indoor rain forest simulation.

Lincoln Park

North Side

The North Side encompasses neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Lakeview, Logan Square, Ravenswood, and Rogers Park. Due to historical economic developments and trends, the North Side is also the most densely developed and, on average, wealthiest side of Chicago. The North Side is primarily served by the Red Line on the CTA, though the further one lives from Lake Michigan, the less dense rail service of any kind becomes.

Ethnically, the North Side perhaps serves as also the primary melting pot of Chicago. Originally the main destination for German, Swedish, and Polish immigrants, the legacy of immigration has created diverse areas, particularly the extremely popular area around Devon Avenue, which is home to primarily Near Eastern and South Indian residents, and the accompanying restaurants and accoutrements. Strong Vietnamese and other Southeast and East Asian populations are also prevalent, especially within and about the Uptown neighborhood.

South Side

The South Side encompasses neighborhoods such as Armour Square, Back of the Yards, Beverly, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Hyde Park, historic Pullman, Morgan Park, Washington Park, and South Shore. Many areas of the South Side are stable, middle-class, and diverse. Chinatown, for example, has seen a constant surge in growth and popularity, and has become a site of East Asian culture and restaurants. Hyde Park is home to the prestigious University of Chicago and most of its faculty. Rehabilitation and gentrification can be seen in parts of Woodlawn, Bronzeville, Bridgeport and McKinley Park. Historic Pullman is one of Chicago's most historic neighborhoods and is in the process of gentrification.

West Side

The West Side encompasses neighborhoods such as Austin, Pilsen, Garfield Park, West Town, and Humboldt Park. This area has heavily industrialized sections and a vast swath of run-down neighborhoods through Lawndale and Garfield Park. However, other parts, such as West Town and the West Loop have been extensively gentrified and are now home to many transplanted suburbanites and are havens for new yuppies relocating from all over the Midwest. The southernmost neighborhoods are home to a large part of Chicago's Hispanic population while farther north are several working- and middle-class neighborhoods.

Chicago Parade

April –May:

The Chicago Improv Festival is a non-profit comedy festival held annually in Chicago in late April and early May. It spotlights improvisational, sketch, and stand-up comedy. In addition to bringing in acts from around the world, the festival honors performers who got their start in Chicago.

June:

The Chicago Blues Festival is an annual event that features four days of performances by top-tier blues musicians, both old favorites and the up-and-coming. It is hosted by the City of Chicago Mayor's Office of Special Events, and always occurs in early June. The event takes place in Grant Park, near the Loop in Chicago. Grant Park adjoins the Lake Michigan waterfront.

The Chicago Gay Pride Parade, is the annual gay pride parade held on the last Sunday of June in Chicago. It is considered the culmination of the larger Gay Pride Month.

June-July:


The Taste of Chicago is the world's largest food festival, held annually in Chicago during the last week of June through the Fourth of July. Every year millions of Chicagoans and tourists flock to Grant Park enjoy the variety of food Chicago's most popular restaurants cook for festival attendees. Events also include live music and performances, mainly by famous local artists.

Chicago's Half Marathon August:

Originating in 1958, the Chicago Air and Water Show is the city's second most popular festival. In 2005, 2,200,000 watched the Chicago Air and Water Show. Strong in tradition and one of the world's premier aviation events, the show also includes a wide array of military and civilian acts. It is a free event and a favorite of kids and adults alike. There are daredevil pilots, parachute teams, and jets flying in formation, as well as a water-skiing and boat-jumping component for additional thrills. The great thing about this festival is that it's visible from almost everywhere along the Chicago lakefront. Grandstand seats for the water show are located at North Avenue Beach, but some of the best viewing points are farther north, at Montrose Harbor and between Belmont and Addison.

September:

The Chicago Jazz Festival is a popular and well-known four-day free celebration of jazz in Grant Park in downtown Chicago. It is run by the Jazz Institute of Chicago during Labor Day weekend, integrating both world-famous and local artists.

October:


The Chicago Marathon, is one of the largest marathon road races in the world, as well as one of the fastest growing. In recent years, the marathon has been the site of many world record performances, due in part to its largely flat course.