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All Music Guide:
According to Billboard chart statistics, Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time, in terms of both albums and singles. Judged by album sales alone, as certified by the R.I.A.A., the band does not rank quite so high, but it is still among the Top Ten best-selling U.S. groups ever. If such statements of fact surprise, that's because Chicago has been singularly underrated since the beginning of its long career, both because of its musical ambitions (to the musicians, rock is only one of several styles of music to be used and blended, along with classical, jazz, R&B, and pop) and because of its refusal to emphasize celebrity over the music. The result has been that many critics have consistently failed to appreciate its music and that its media profile has always been low. At the same time, however, Chicago has succeeded in the ways it intended to. From the beginning of its emergence as a national act, it has been able to fill arenas with satisfied fans. And beyond the impressive sales and chart statistics, its music has endured, played constantly on the radio and instantly familiar to tens of millions.
Chicago marked the confluence of two distinct, but intermingling musical strains in Chicago, Illinois, in the mid-'60s: an academic approach and one coming from the streets. Reed player Walter Parazaider (born March 14, 1945, in Chicago), trumpeter Lee Loughnane (born October 21, 1946, in Chicago), and trombonist James Pankow (born August 20, 1947, in St. Louis, Missouri) were all music students at DePaul University. But they moonlighted in the city's clubs, playing everything from R&B to Irish music, and there they encountered less formally educated but no less talented players like guitarist Terry Kath (born January 31, 1946, in Chicago; died January 23, 1978, in Los Angeles, California) and drummer Danny Seraphine (born August 28, 1948, in Chicago). In the mid-'60s, most rock groups followed the instrumentation of the Beatles -- two guitars, bass, and drums -- and horn sections were heard only in R&B. But in the summer of 1966, the Beatles used horns on "Got to Get You Into My Life" on their Revolver album and, as usual, pop music began to follow their lead. At the end of the year, the Buckinghams, a Chicago band guided by a friend of Parazaider's, James William Guercio, scored a national hit with the horn-filled "Kind of a Drag," which went on to hit number one in February 1967.
That was all the encouragement Parazaider and his friends needed. Parazaider called a meeting of the band-to-be at his apartment on February 15, 1967, inviting along a talented organist and singer he had run across, Robert Lamm (born October 13, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York). Lamm agreed to join and also said he could supply the missing bass sounds to the ensemble using the organ's foot pedals (a skill he had not actually acquired at the time).
Developing a repertoire of James Brown and Wilson Pickett material, the new band rehearsed in Parazaider's parents' basement before beginning to get gigs around town under the name the Big Thing. Soon, they were playing around the Midwest. By this time, Guercio had become a staff producer at Columbia Records, and he encouraged the band to begin developing original songs. Kath, and especially Lamm, took up the suggestion. (Soon, Pankow also became a major writer for the band.) Meanwhile, the sextet became a septet when Peter Cetera (born September 13, 1944, in Chicago), singer and bassist for a rival Midwest band, the Exceptions, agreed to defect and join the Big Thing. This gave the group the unusual versatility of having three lead singers, the smooth baritone Lamm, the gruff baritone Kath, and Cetera, who was an elastic tenor. When Guercio came back to see the group in the late winter of 1968, he deemed them ready for the next step. In June 1968, he financed their move to Los Angeles.
Guercio exerted a powerful influence on the band as its manager and producer, which would become a problem over time. At first, the bandmembers were willing to live together in a two-bedroom house, practice all the time, and change the group's name to one of Guercio's choosing, Chicago Transit Authority. Guercio's growing power at Columbia Records enabled him to get the band signed there and to set in place the unusual image the band would have. He convinced the label to let this neophyte band release a double album as its debut (that is, when they agreed to a cut in their royalties), and he decided the group would be represented on the cover by a logo instead of a photograph.
Chicago Transit Authority, released in April 1969, debuted on the charts in May as the band began touring nationally. By July, the album had reached the Top 20, without benefit of a hit single. It had been taken up by the free-form FM rock stations and become an underground hit. It was certified gold by the end of the year and eventually went on to sell more than two million copies. (In September 1969, the band played the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Festival, and somehow the promoter obtained the right to tape the show. That same low-fidelity tape has turned up in an endless series of albums ever since. Examples include: Anthology, Beat the Bootleggers: Live 1967, Beginnings, Beginnings Live, Chicago [Classic World], Chicago Live, Chicago Transit Authority: Live in Concert [Magnum], Chicago Transit Authority: Live in Concert [Onyx], Great Chicago in Concert, I'm a Man, In Concert [Digmode], In Concert [Pilz], Live! [Columbia River], Live [LaserLight], Live Chicago, Live in Concert, Live in Toronto, Live '69, Live 25 or 6 to 4, The Masters, Rock in Toronto, and Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival.) To Guercio's surprise, he was contacted by the real Chicago Transit Authority, which objected to the band's use of the name; he responded by shortening the name to simply "Chicago." When he and the group finished the second album (another double) for release at the start of 1970, it was called Chicago, though it has since become known as Chicago II.
Chicago II vaulted into the Top Ten in its second week on the Billboard chart, even before its first single, "Make Me Smile," hit the Hot 100. The single was an excerpt from a musical suite, and the band at first objected to the editing considered necessary to prepare it for AM radio play. But it went on to reach the Top Ten, as did its successor, "25 or 6 to 4." The album quickly went gold and eventually platinum. In the fall of 1970, Columbia released "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," drawn from the group's first album, as its next single; it gave them their third consecutive Top Ten hit.
Chicago III, another double album, was ready for release at the start of 1971, and it just missed hitting number one while giving the band a third gold (and later platinum) LP. Its singles did not reach the Top Ten, however, and Columbia again reached back, releasing "Beginnings" (from the first album) backed with "Colour My World" (from the second) to give Chicago its fourth Top Ten single. Next up was a live album, the four-disc box set Chicago at Carnegie Hall, which, despite its size, crested in the Top Five and sold over a million copies. (The band itself preferred Live in Japan, an album recorded in February 1972 and initially released only in Japan.) Chicago V, a one-LP set, released in July 1972, spent nine weeks at number one on its way to selling over two million copies, spurred by its gold-selling Top Ten hit "Saturday in the Park." Chicago VI followed a year later and repeated the same success, launching the Top Ten singles "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" and "Just You 'n' Me."
The next Top Ten hit, "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long," was released in advance of Chicago VII in the late winter of 1974. The album was the band's third consecutive chart-topper and another million-seller. "Call On Me" became its second Top Ten single. Chicago VIII, which marked the promotion of sideman percussionist Laudir de Oliveira as a full-fledged bandmember, appeared in the spring of 1975, spawned the Top Ten hit "Old Days," and became the band's fourth consecutive number one LP. After the profit-taking Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits in the fall of 1975 came Chicago X, which missed hitting number one but eventually sold over two million copies, in part because of the inclusion of the Grammy-winning number one single "If You Leave Me Now." Chicago XI, released in the late summer of 1977, continued the seemingly endless string of success, reaching the Top Ten, selling a million copies, and generating the Top Five hit "Baby, What a Big Surprise."
But there was trouble beneath the surface. The band's big hits were starting to be solely ballads sung by Cetera, which frustrated the musicians' musical ambitions. They had failed to attract critical notice, and what press attention they were given often alluded to Guercio's Svengali-like control as manager and producer. Chicago determined to fire Guercio and demonstrate that they could succeed without him. Shortly afterward, they were struck by a crushing blow. Kath, a gun enthusiast, accidentally shot and killed himself on January 23, 1978. Though he, like most of the other members of the band, was not readily recognizable outside the group, he had actually had a large say in its direction, and his loss was incalculable. Nevertheless, the band closed ranks and went on.
Guitarist Donnie Dacus was chosen from auditions and joined the band in time for its 12th LP release, which was given a non-numerical title, Hot Streets, and which put prominent pictures of the bandmembers on the cover for the first time. The sound, as indicated by the first single, the Top 20 hit "Alive Again," was harder rock, and the band's core following responded, but Hot Streets was Chicago's first album since 1969 to miss the Top Ten. Chicago 13 then missed the Top 20. (At this point, Dacus left the band, and Chicago hired guitarist Chris Pinnick as a sideman, eventually upping him to full-fledged group-member status.) Released in 1980, Chicago XIV, the last album to feature de Oliveira, didn't go gold. By 1981, with the release of the 15th album, the poor-selling Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, the band parted ways with Columbia Records and began looking for a new approach.
They found it in writer/producer David Foster, who returned to an emphasis on the band's talent for power ballads as sung by Cetera. They also brought in one of Foster's favorite session musicians, Bill Champlin (born May 21, 1947, in Oakland, California), as a full-fledged bandmember. Champlin, formerly the leader of the Sons of Champlin, was a multi-instrumentalist with a gruff voice that allowed him to sing the parts previously taken by Kath. With these additions, the band signed with Full Moon Records, an imprint of Warner Bros., and released Chicago 16 in the spring of 1982, prefaced by the single "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," which topped the charts, leading to a major comeback. The album returned Chicago to million-selling Top Ten status. Chicago 17, released in the spring of 1984, was even more successful -- in fact, the biggest-selling album of the band's career -- with platinum certifications for six million copies as of 1997. It spawned two Top Five hits, "Hard Habit to Break" and "You're the Inspiration."
The renewed success, however, changed the long-established group dynamics, thrusting Cetera out as a star. He left the band for a solo career in 1985. (Pinnick also left at about this time, and the band did not immediately bring in a new guitarist.) As Cetera's replacement, Chicago found Jason Scheff, the 23-year-old bass-playing son of famed bassist Jerry Scheff, a longtime sideman with Elvis Presley. Scheff boasted a tenor voice that allowed him to re-create Cetera's singing on many Chicago hits. The split with Cetera had a negative commercial impact, however. Despite boasting a Top Five hit single in "Will You Still Love Me?," 1986's Chicago 18 only went gold. The band recovered, however, with Chicago 19, released in the spring of 1988. Among its singles, "I Don't Want to Live Without Your Love" made the Top Five, "Look Away" topped the charts, and "You're Not Alone" made the Top Ten as the album went platinum. Another single, "What Kind of Man Would I Be?," originally found on the album, was included as part of the 1989 compilation Greatest Hits 1982-1989 (which counted as the 20th album) and became a Top Five hit, while the album sold five million copies by 1997.
At the turn of the decade, Chicago underwent two more personnel changes, with guitarist DaWayne Bailey joining and original drummer Danny Seraphine departing, to be replaced by Tris Imboden. Chicago Twenty 1, released at the start of 1991, sold disappointingly, and Warner rejected the band's next offering (though tracks from it did turn up on compilations). Chicago, however, maintained a loyal following that enabled them to tour successfully every summer. In 1995, Keith Howland replaced Bailey as Chicago's guitarist. The same year, the band regained rights to its Columbia catalog and established its own Chicago Records label to reissue the albums. They also signed to Giant Records, another Warner imprint, to release their 22nd album, Night & Day, a collection of big-band standards that made the Top 100. They were then able to combine hits from their Columbia and Warner years, resulting in the release of the gold-selling The Heart of Chicago 1967-1997 and its follow-up, The Heart of Chicago, Vol. 2 1967-1998 (their 23rd and 24th albums, respectively). In 1998, they released Chicago 25: The Christmas Album on Chicago Records, and they followed it in 1999 with Chicago XXVI: The Live Album. In 2002, Chicago began leasing its early albums to Rhino Records for deluxe repackagings, often with bonus tracks. And the success of The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning demonstrated that their music continued to appeal to fans. Feeding off the renewed interest, the band reappeared in 2006 with the new album Chicago XXX on Rhino. The rejected Warner album from 1993 was finally released by Rhino in 2008 as Stone of Sisyphus: XXXII. Chicago toured regularly during the final years of the 2000s and returned to the recording studio with producer Phil Ramone for the 2011 album Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Tree.
Wikipedia:Nickname(s): The Windy City, The Second City, Chi-Town, Chi-City, Hog Butcher for the World, The City That Works, and others found at List of nicknames for ChicagoMotto: Latin: Urbs in Horto (City in a Garden), Make Big Plans (Make No Small Plans), I WillLocation in the Chicago metropolitan area and IllinoisChicagoLocation in the United StatesCoordinates: Coordinates: Country United StatesStateIllinoisCountiesCook, DuPageSettled1770sIncorporatedMarch 4, 1837Named forMiami-Illinois: shikaakwa ("Wild onion")Government • TypeMayor–council • MayorRahm Emanuel () • City CouncilArea • City234.0 sq mi (606.1 km) • Land227.2 sq mi (588 km) • Water6.9 sq mi (18 km) 3.0% • Urban2,122.8 sq mi (5,498 km) • Metro10,874 sq mi (28,160 km)Elevation597 ft (182 m)Population (2011 Estimate) • City2,707,120 • Rank3rd US • Density11,864.4/sq mi (4,447.4/km) • Urban8,711,000 • Metro9,461,105DemonymChicagoanTime zoneCST (UTC−06:00) • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC−05:00)Area code(s)312, 773, 872Websitecityofchicago.org
Chicago (/ʃɪˈɑːɡoʊ/ or /ʃɪˈɔːɡoʊ/), a city in the U.S. state of Illinois, is the third most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the American Midwest, with approximately 2.7 million residents. Its metropolitan area (also called "Chicagoland"), which extends into Indiana and Wisconsin, is the third-largest in the United States, after those of New York City and Los Angeles, with an estimated 9.8 million people. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, though a small portion of the city limits also extend into DuPage County.
Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. Today, Chicago is listed as an alpha+ global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and ranks seventh in the world in the 2012 Global Cities Index. The city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, telecommunications, and transportation, with O'Hare International Airport being the second-busiest airport in the world in terms of traffic movements.
In 2008, Chicago hosted 45.6 million international and domestic visitors. Among metropolitan areas, Chicago has the fourth-largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, just behind Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles, and ranking ahead of London and Paris. Chicago is one of the most important Worldwide Centers of Commerce and trade.
Chicago's notability has found expression in numerous forms of popular culture, including novels, plays, films, and songs. The city has many nicknames, which reflect the impressions and opinions about historical and contemporary Chicago. The best-known include "Windy City" and "Second City."
History Further information: History of Chicago and Origin of the name "Windy City"
The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, translated as "wild onion" or "wild garlic", from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir written about the time. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called "chicagoua," grew abundantly in the area. During the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples. The 1780s saw the arrival of the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who is of African and European (French) descent.
In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area that was to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, which was destroyed in the War of 1812, Battle of Fort Dearborn and later rebuilt. The Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis. The Potawatomi were eventually forcibly removed from their land following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833.
Founding and 19th century 
As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city emerged as an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States. Chicago's first railway, Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, opened in 1848, which also marked the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The canal allowed steamboats and sailing ships on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River.
A flourishing economy brought residents from rural communities and immigrants abroad. Manufacturing and retail and finance sectors became dominant, influencing the American economy. The Chicago Board of Trade (established 1848) listed the first ever standardized 'exchange traded' forward contracts, which were called futures contracts.
In the 1850s Chicago gained national political prominence as the home of Senator Stephen Douglas, the champion of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and "popular sovereignty" approach to the issue of the spread of slavery. These issues also helped propel another Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln, to the national stage. Lincoln was nominated in Chicago for the nation's presidency at the 1860 Republican National Convention and went on to defeat Douglas in the general election, setting the stage for the American Civil War.
To accommodate rapid population growth and demand for better sanitation, the city implemented various infrastructural improvements. In February 1856, the Chesbrough plan for the building of the United States' first comprehensive sewerage system was approved by the Common Council. The project raised much of central Chicago to a new grade. While raising Chicago, and at first improving the health of the city, the untreated sewage and industrial waste now flowed into the Chicago River, then into Lake Michigan, polluting the primary source of fresh water for the city. The city responded by tunneling two miles (3 km) out into Lake Michigan to newly built water cribs. In 1900, the problem of sewage contamination was largely resolved when the city reversed the flow of the Chicago River so that it flowed away from Lake Michigan, rather than into it. This project began with the construction and improvement of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and was completed with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that connects to the Illinois River, which flows into the Mississippi River.
In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire broke out, destroying an area of about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, a large section of the city at the time. Much of the city, including railroads and stockyards, survived intact, and from the ruins of the previous wooden structures arose more modern constructions of steel and stone which would set the precedent for worldwide construction. During its rebuilding period, Chicago constructed the world's first skyscraper in 1885, using steel-skeleton construction.
Chicago's flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe and migrants from the eastern states. Of the total population in 1900 no less than 77% were foreign-born, or born in the United States of foreign parentage. Germans, Irish, Poles, Swedes and Czechs made up nearly two-thirds of the foreign-born population (by 1900, whites were 98.1% of the city's population).
Labor conflicts followed the industrial boom and the rapid expansion of the labor pool, including the Haymarket affair on May 4, 1886. Concern for social problems among Chicago's immigrant poor led Jane Addams to co‑found Hull House in 1889. Programs developed there became a model for the new field of social work.
During the 1870s and 1880s, Chicago attained national stature as the leader in the movement to improve public health. City, and later state laws, that upgraded standards for the medical profession and fought urban epidemics of cholera, small pox, and yellow fever were not only passed, but also enforced. These in turn became templates for public health reform in many other cities and states.
The city invested in many large, well-landscaped municipal parks, which also included public sanitation facilities. The chief advocate and driving force for improving public health in Chicago was Dr. John H. Rauch, M.D., who established a plan for Chicago's park system in 1866, created Lincoln Park by closing a cemetery filled with festering, shallow graves, and helped establish a new Chicago Board of Health in 1867 in response to an outbreak of cholera. Ten years later he became the secretary and then the president of the first Illinois State Board of Health, which carried out most of its activities in Chicago.
In the 19th century, Chicago became the nation's railroad center, by 1910 over 20 railroads operated passenger service out of 6 different downtown terminals. In 1883, the standardized system of North American Time Zones was adopted by the general time convention of railway managers in Chicago. This gave the continent its uniform system for telling time.
In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition on former marshland at the present location of Jackson Park. The Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors, and is considered the most influential world's fair in history. The University of Chicago was founded in 1892 on the same South Side 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.
20th and 21st centuries 
The ratification of the 18th amendment to the Constitution in 1919 made the production and sale (including exportation) of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. This ushered in the beginning of what is known as the Gangster Era, a time that roughly spans from 1919 until 1933 when the Prohibition was repealed. The 1920s saw gangsters, including Al Capone, Dion O'Banion, Bugs Moran and Tony Accardo battle law enforcement and each other on the streets of Chicago during the Prohibition era.
Chicago was the location of the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, where Al Capone sent men to gun down members of his rival gang, North Side, led by Bugs Moran.
In 1924, Chicago was the first American city to have a homosexual-rights organization, the Society for Human Rights. This organization produced the first American publication for gays, Friendship and Freedom.
The 1920s also saw a major expansion in industry. The availability of jobs attracted blacks from the South. Between 1910 and 1930, the black population of Chicago dramatically increased from 44,103 to 233,903. Arriving in the hundreds of thousands during the Great Migration, the newcomers had an immense cultural impact. It was during this wave that Chicago became a center for jazz, with King Oliver leading the way.
In 1933, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was fatally wounded in Miami, Florida during a failed assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1933 and 1934, the city celebrated its centennial by hosting the Century of Progress International Exposition Worlds Fair. The theme of the fair was technological innovation over the century since Chicago's founding.
On December 2, 1942, physicist Enrico Fermi conducted the world's first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. This led to the creation of the atomic bomb by the United States, which it used in World War II in 1945.
Mayor Richard J. Daley, a Democrat, was elected in 1955, in the era of machine politics. Starting in the early 1960s due to blockbusting, many white residents, as in most American cities, left the city for the suburbs. Whole neighborhoods were completely changed based on race. Structural changes in industry caused heavy losses of jobs for lower skilled workers. In 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Raby led the Chicago Freedom Movement, which culminated in agreements between Mayor Richard J. Daley and the movement leaders.
Two years later, the city hosted the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, which featured physical confrontations both inside and outside the convention hall, including full-scale riots, or in some cases police riots, in city streets. Major construction projects, including the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower, which in 1974 became the world's tallest building), University of Illinois at Chicago, McCormick Place, and O'Hare International Airport, were undertaken during Richard J. Daley's tenure. In 1979, Jane Byrne, the city's first female mayor, was elected. She helped mitigate crime in the Cabrini-Green housing project and guide Chicago's school system out of a financial crisis.
In 1983, Harold Washington became the first black mayor of the city of Chicago. Washington's first term in office saw attention given to poor and previously neglected minority neighborhoods. He was re‑elected in 1987 but died of a heart attack a short time later. The balance of Washington's second term was served by 6th ward Alderman Eugene Sawyer.
Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, was elected in 1989. His accomplishments included improvements to parks and creating incentives for sustainable development. After successfully standing for re-election five times, and becoming Chicago's longest serving mayor, Richard M. Daley declined to run for a seventh term.
On February 23, 2011, former Illinois Congressman and White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, won the mayoral election, beating five rivals with 55 percent of the vote, and was sworn in as Mayor on May 16, 2011.
Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. It is the principal city in Chicago Metropolitan Area situated in the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region. Chicago rests on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage, connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds. The city lies beside huge freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow entirely or partially through Chicago.
Chicago is a major port city as the St Lawrence Seaway connects Lake Michigan with the Atlantic Ocean. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which runs to the west of the City, connects the Chicago River with the Mississippi River, the fourth-longest river in the world. Chicago's history and economy are closely tied to its proximity to Lake Michigan. While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side. The lake also provides another positive effect, moderating Chicago's climate; making waterfront neighborhoods slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
When Chicago was founded in 1833, most of the early building began around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks. The overall grade of the city's central, built-up areas, is relatively consistent with the natural flatness of its overall natural geography, generally exhibiting only slight differentiation otherwise. The average land elevation is 579 ft (176 m) above sea level. The lowest points are along the lake shore at 577 ft (176 m), while the highest point, at 735 ft (224 m), is a landfill located in the Hegewisch community area on the city's far south side.Chicago Half Marathon on Lake Shore Drive next to Harold Washington Park on the South Side
The Chicago Loop is the central business district, but Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods. Lake Shore Drive runs adjacent to a large portion of Chicago's lakefront. Some of the parks along the waterfront include Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park. Thirty-three public beaches are also found along the waterfront. Landfill extends into portions of the lake providing space for Navy Pier, Northerly Island, the Museum Campus, and large portions of the McCormick Place Convention Center. Most of the city's high-rise commercial and residential buildings can be found close to the waterfront.
An informal name for the entire Chicago metropolitan area is "Chicagoland". There is no precise definition for the term "Chicagoland", but it generally means the city and its suburbs combined together. The Chicago Tribune, which coined the term, includes the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County, eight nearby Illinois counties: Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee, and three counties in Indiana: Lake, Porter and LaPorte. The Illinois Department of Tourism defines Chicagoland as Cook County without the city of Chicago, and only Lake, DuPage, Kane and Will counties. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce defines it as all of Cook and DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
The city lies within the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa ), and experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with a July daily average of 75.8 °F (24.3 °C). In a normal summer, temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on 21 days. Winters are cold and snowy with many sunny days, and with a January daytime average of 31 °F (−0.6 °C). Spring and autumn are mild seasons with low humidity.
According to the National Weather Service, Chicago's highest official temperature reading of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded on July 24, 1934, although an unofficial reading of 109 °F (43 °C) was also 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. The city can experience extreme winter cold waves and summer heat waves that may last for several consecutive days. There are also many mild winter and summer days. Thunderstorms are not uncommon during the spring and summer months which may sometimes produce tornadoes.
Architecture Further information: Architecture of Chicago, List of tallest buildings in Chicago, and List of Chicago Landmarks
The destruction caused by the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In 1885, the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era, which would then be followed by many other cities around the world. Today, Chicago's skyline is among the world's tallest and most dense.
The United States' two tallest towers are both located in Chicago; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower, and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere), and Trump International Hotel and Tower. The Loop's historic buildings include the Chicago Board of Trade Building, the Fine Arts Building, 35 East Wacker, and the Chicago Building, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe. Many other architects have left their impression on the Chicago skyline such as Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Charles B. Atwood, John Root, and Helmut Jahn.
The Merchandise Mart, once first on the list of largest buildings in the world, and still listed as 20th, has its own zip code, and stands near the junction of the North and South branches of the Chicago River. Presently, the four tallest buildings in the city are Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower, also a building with its own zip code), Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Aon Center (previously the Standard Oil Building), and the John Hancock Center. Industrial districts, such as some areas on the South Side, the areas along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and Northwest Indiana are clustered.
Chicago gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School, two movements in architecture. Multiple kinds and scales of houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartment buildings can be found throughout Chicago. Large swaths of the city's residential areas away from the lake are characterized by brick bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. The Chicago suburb of Oak Park was home to famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had designed The Robie House located near the University of Chicago as well as many prominent buildings across the country.
Unlike many Midwestern and East Coast cities, Chicago tends to have wider streets. A positive effect of this is that it alleviates the feeling of being engulfed by the city's large skyscrapers. Most of the city's residential streets also tend to have a wide patch of grass and/or trees between the street and the sidewalk itself. This has the effect of keeping pedestrians walking on the sidewalk further away from the street traffic. Chicago's Western Avenue is the longest continuous urban street in the world. Other famous streets include North Michigan Avenue, North State Street, Clark, and Belmont Avenue. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago's boulevards and parkways.
Monuments and public art 
Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art, including works by Chagall, Picasso, Miro, and Abakanowicz.
City sculptures additionally honor the many people and topics reflecting the rich history of Chicago. There are monuments to:Tadeusz Kościuszko by Kazimierz ChodzinskiNicholas Copernicus by Bertel ThorvaldsenKarel Havlíček Borovský by Joseph StrachovskyPope John Paul II, several different monuments (including by Czesław Dźwigaj)Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk by Albin PolasekIrv Kupcinet by Preston JacksonAbraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint GaudensThe Heald Square Monument featuring George Washington, Haym Salomon, and Robert Morris by Lorado Taft, (completed by Leonard Crunelle)Christopher Columbus by Carl BrioschiGeneral John A. Logan by Augustus Saint GaudensHarry Caray by Omri Amrany and Lou CellaJack Brickhouse by Jerry McKennaA memorial to the Haymarket affair by Mary BroggerA memorial to the Great Northern Migration by Alison Saar
There are also preliminary plans to erect a 1:1‑scale replica of Wacław Szymanowski's Art Nouveau statue of Frédéric Chopin found in Warsaw's Royal Baths along Chicago's lakefront in addition to a different sculpture commemorating the artist in Chopin Park for the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin's birth.
Parks Portage Park on the Northwest Side and Washington Square Park on the Near North Side.
When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, it chose the motto Urbs in Horto, a Latin phrase which translates into English as "City in a Garden". Today, the Chicago Park District consists of 552 parks with over 7,300 acres (3,000 ha) of municipal parkland. There are 33 sand Chicago beaches, a plethora of museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, and 10 bird and wildlife gardens. Lincoln Park, the largest of the city's parks, covers 1,200 acres (490 ha) and has over 20 million visitors each year, making it second only to Central Park in New York City in number of visitors.
With berths for more than 5,000 boats, the Chicago Park District operates the nation's largest municipal harbor system. In addition to ongoing beautification and renewal projects for the existing parks, a number of new parks have been added in recent years, such as the Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown, DuSable Park on the Near North Side, and most notably, Millennium Park in a section of one of Chicago's oldest parks, Grant Park in the Chicago Loop.
The wealth of greenspace afforded by Chicago's parks is further augmented by the Cook County Forest Preserves, a network of open spaces containing forest, prairie, wetland, streams, and lakes that are set aside as natural areas which lie along the city's periphery, home to both the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield.
Communities See also: Community areas in ChicagoCommunity areas of the City of Chicago
Major sections of the city, include "The Loop" for the central city, the North Side, the South Side, and the West Side. Madison Street is the official center point of the city from a north/south perspective and State Street is the official center of the city from an east/west perspective, although State Street itself is located only 1/2 mile from the lakefront. It is because of this that "The Lakefront" is used as a descriptive term in place of the East Side. The three sides (north, south, west) of the city are represented on the Flag of Chicago by three horizontal white stripes. These sections can further be subdivided or grouped, for example as shown on the map (right). Further sectional references are the Northwest side and the Southwest side. In the late 1920s, sociologists at the University of Chicago subdivided the city into 77 distinct community areas, which can further be subdivided into over 200 neighborhoods.
The central commercial area often is portrayed, as in the map at right, to include parts of Near North Side and Near South Side, as well as the Loop. The North Side is the most densely populated residential section of the city and many high-rises are located on this side of the city along the lakefront. The South Side is the largest section of the city, encompassing roughly 60% of the city's land area. The South Side contains the University of Chicago and most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago.
Chicago's streets were laid out in a street grid that grew from the city's original townsite plat. Streets following the Public Land Survey System section lines later became arterial streets in outlying sections. As new additions to the city were platted, city ordinance required them to be laid out with eight streets to the mile in one direction and sixteen in the other direction. The grid's regularity would provide an efficient means to develop new real estate property. A scattering of diagonal streets, many of them originally Indian trails, also cross the city. Many additional diagonal streets were recommended in the Plan of Chicago, but only the extension of Ogden Avenue was ever constructed.
Culture and contemporary life Further information: Culture of Chicago, List of people from Chicago, and List of museums and cultural institutions in Chicago
The city's waterfront allure and nightlife has attracted residents and tourists alike. Over one-third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods (from Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south). The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These districts include the Mexican villages, such as Pilsen along 18th street, and La Villita along 26th Street; the Puerto Rican enclave Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighborhood; "Greektown", along South Halsted St, immediately west of downtown; "Little Italy", along Taylor St; "Chinatown"; "Polish Patches"; "Little Seoul", around Lawrence Avenue; a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants along Argyle Avenue near Broadway, and Indian/Pakistani along Devon Avenue.
Downtown is the center of Chicago's financial, cultural, and commercial institutions and home to Grant Park and many of the city's skyscrapers. Many of the city's financial institutions (for example, CBOT, Chicago Fed) are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop", which is an eight-block by five-block square of city streets that are encircled by elevated rail tracks. The term "The Loop" is largely used by locals to refer to the entire downtown area as well. The central area includes the Near North Side, the Near South Side, and the Near West Side, as well as the Loop. These areas contribute famous skyscrapers, abundant restaurants, shopping, museums, a stadium for the Chicago Bears, convention facilities, parkland, and beaches.
The North Side is the most densely populated section of the city outside of downtown and many high-rises line this side of the city along the lakefront. Lincoln Park is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) park stretching for 5.5 mi (8.9 km) along the waterfront and containing the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The River North neighborhood features the nation's largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City. As a Polonia center, due to the city's having a very large Polish population, Chicago celebrates every Labor Day weekend at the Taste of Polonia Festival in the Jefferson Park area. The Chicago Cubs play in the North Side's Lakeview neighborhood, in the Wrigleyville district. Lakeview is also home to Boystown, which, along with Andersonville, are the best known LGBT neighborhoods.
The South Side is home to the University of Chicago (UC), ranked one of the world's top ten universities; and the Museum of Science and Industry. Burnham Park stretches along the waterfront of the South Side. Two of the city's largest parks are also located on this side of the city: Jackson Park, bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and is home of the aforementioned museum; and slightly west sits Washington Park. The two parks themselves are connected by a wide strip of parkland called the Midway Plaisance, running adjacent to the UC. The South Side hosts one of the city's largest parades, the annual African American Bud Billiken Day parade. The American automaker Ford Motor Company has an assembly plant located on the South Side, and most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago are here. The Chicago White Sox play in the South Side's Armour Square neighborhood.
The West Side holds the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest collections of tropical plants in any US city. Prominent Latino cultural attractions found here include Humboldt Park's Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Puerto Rican Day Parade, as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art and St. Adalbert's Church in Pilsen. The Near West Side holds the University of Illinois at Chicago and television production company of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios. The Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks play on Madison Street.
Entertainment, the arts, and performing arts See also: Theatre in Chicago and Visual arts of Chicago
Chicago's theatre community spawned modern improvisational theater. Two renowned comedy troupes emerged: The Second City and I.O. (formerly known as ImprovOlympic). Renowned Chicago theater companies include the Steppenwolf Theatre Company (on the city's north side), the Goodman Theatre, and the Victory Gardens Theater. Chicago offers Broadway-style entertainment at theaters such as Broadway In Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, Broadway In Chicago's Bank of America Theatre, Broadway In Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre, Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, and Broadway In Chicago's Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Polish language productions for Chicago's large Polish speaking population can be seen at the historic Gateway Theatre in Jefferson Park. Since 1968, the Joseph Jefferson Awards are given annually to acknowledge excellence in theater in the Chicago area.
Classical music offerings include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, recognized as one of the best orchestras in the world, which performs at Symphony Center. Also performing regularly at Symphony Center is the Chicago Sinfonietta, a more diverse and multicultural counterpart to the CSO. A new and interesting addition to the Chicago classical music scene is also the Renovo String Orchestra of Chicago. In the summer, many outdoor concerts are given in Grant Park and Millennium Park. Ravinia Park, located 25 miles (40 km) north of Chicago, is also a favourite destination for many Chicagoans, with performances occasionally given in Chicago locations such as the Harris Theater. The Civic Opera House is home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago was founded by Lithuanian Chicagoans in 1956, and presents operas in Lithuanian.
The Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Festival Ballet perform in various venues, including the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Chicago is home to several other modern and jazz dance troupes, such as the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Other live-music genre which are part of the city's cultural heritage include Chicago blues, Chicago soul, jazz, and gospel. The city is the birthplace of house music and is the site of an influential hip-hop scene. In the 1980s, the city was a center for industrial, punk and new wave. This influence continued into the alternative rock of the 1990s. The city has been an epicenter for rave culture since the 1980s. A flourishing independent rock music culture brought forth Chicago indie. Annual festivals feature various acts such as Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Music Festival. A 2007 report on the Chicago music industry by the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center ranked Chicago third among metropolitan U.S. areas in "size of music industry" and fourth among all U.S. cities in "number of concerts and performances."
Chicago has a distinctive fine art tradition. For much of the twentieth century it nurtured a strong style of figurative surrealism, as in the works of Ivan Albright and Ed Paschke. In 1968 and 1969, members of the Chicago Imagists, such as Roger Brown, Leon Golub, Robert Lostutter, Jim Nutt, and Barbara Rossi produced bizarre representational paintings.
Chicago is home to a number of large, outdoor works by well-known artists. These include the Chicago Picasso, Miró's Chicago, Flamingo and Flying Dragon by Alexander Calder, Agora by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet, Batcolumn by Claes Oldenburg, Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, and the Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall.
Chicago also has a nationally televised Thanksgiving parade that occurs annually. The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is seen across the nation on WGN-TV and WGN America, featuring a variety of diverse acts from the community, marching bands from across the country, and is the only parade to feature inflatable balloons every year.
In 2008, Chicago attracted 32.4 million domestic leisure travelers, 11.7 million domestic business travelers and 1.3 million overseas visitors. These visitors contributed more than US$11.8 billion to Chicago's economy. Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile and State Street, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. The city is the United States' third-largest convention destination. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Chicago the fourth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States. Most conventions are held at McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field. The historic Chicago Cultural Center (1897), originally serving as the Chicago Public Library, now houses the city's Visitor Information Center, galleries and exhibit halls. The ceiling of its Preston Bradley Hall includes a 38 ft (12 m) Tiffany glass dome. Grant Park holds Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain (1927), and the Art Institute of Chicago. The park also hosts the annual Taste of Chicago festival. In Millennium Park, there is the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture. Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park. Also, an outdoor restaurant transforms into an ice rink in the winter season. Two tall glass sculptures make up the Crown Fountain. The fountain's two towers display visual effects from LED images of Chicagoans' faces, along with water spouting from their lips. Frank Gehry's detailed, stainless steel band shell, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, hosts the classical Grant Park Music Festival concert series. Behind the pavilion's stage is the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, an indoor venue for mid-sized performing arts companies, including the Chicago Opera Theater and Music of the Baroque.
Navy Pier, located just east of Streeterville, is 3,000 ft (910 m) long and houses retail stores, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls and auditoriums. Its 150-foot (46 m) tall Ferris wheel is one of the most visited landmarks in the Midwest, attracting about 8 million people annually. Chicago was the first city in the world to ever erect a ferris wheel.
On June 4, 1998, the city officially opened the Museum Campus, a 10-acre (4.0 ha) lakefront park, surrounding three of the city's main museums, each of which is of national importance: the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus joins the southern section of Grant Park, which includes the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Buckingham Fountain anchors the downtown park along the lakefront. The University of Chicago Oriental Institute has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. Other museums and galleries in Chicago include the Chicago History Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Polish Museum of America, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Pritzker Military Library, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
The top activity while visitors tour Chicago for leisure is entertainment, approximately 33% of all leisure travelers. Facilities such as McCormick Place and the Chicago Theatre contribute to this percentage.
Cuisine See also: Chicago farmers' markets, Food manufacturers of Chicago, and Culture of Chicago#Food and DrinkChicago-style Stuffed pizza
Chicago lays claim to a large number of regional specialties, all of which reflect the city's ethnic and working class roots. Included among these are its nationally renowned deep-dish pizza, this style is said to have originated at Pizzeria Uno. The Chicago-style thin crust is also popular in the city.
The Chicago-style hot dog, typically a Vienna Beef dog, is loaded with an array of fixings that often includes neon green pickle relish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and topped off with celery salt on an S. Rosen's poppy seed bun. Enthusiasts of the Chicago-style dog frown upon the use of ketchup as a garnish, but may prefer to add giardiniera.
There are several distinctly Chicago sandwiches, among them the Italian beef sandwich, which is thinly sliced beef slowly simmered in au jus and served on an Italian roll with sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera. A popular modification is the Combo—an Italian beef sandwich with the addition of an Italian sausage. Another is the Maxwell Street Polish, a grilled or deep-fried kielbasa — on a hot dog roll, topped with grilled onions, yellow mustard, and hot sport peppers.
Ethnically originated creations include chicken Vesuvio, with roasted bone-in chicken cooked in oil and garlic next to garlicky oven-roasted potato wedges and a sprinkling of green peas. Another is the Puerto Rican-influenced jibarito, a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread. There is also the tamale with chile, mother-in-law sandwich. The tradition of serving the Greek dish, saganaki while aflame, has its origins in Chicago's Greek community. The appetizer, which consists of a square of fried cheese, is doused with Metaxa and flambéed table-side by the server to shouts of 'Opa!'
The annual summer festival, the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, highlights food in the city with many local restaurants taking part.
A number of well-known chefs have restaurants in Chicago, including Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto, Grant Achatz, and Rick Bayless. In 2003, Robb Report named Chicago the country's "most exceptional dining destination."
The city is home to 23 Michelin-starred restaurants, with one three-star restaurant, Alinea.
Literature Further information: Chicago literature
Chicago literature finds its roots in the city's tradition of lucid, direct journalism, lending to a strong tradition of social realism. In the Encyclopedia of Chicago, Northwestern University Professor Bill Savage describes Chicago fiction as prose which tries to "capture the essence of the city, its spaces and its people." The challenge for early writers was that Chicago was a frontier outpost that transformed into a global metropolis in the span of two generations. Narrative fiction of that time, much of it in the style of "high-flown romance" and "genteel realism", needed a new approach to describe the urban social, political, and economic conditions of Chicago. Nonetheless, Chicagoans worked hard to create a literary tradition that would stand the test of time, and create a "city of feeling" out of concrete, steel, vast lake, and open prairie. Much notable Chicago fiction focuses on the city itself, with social criticism keeping exultation in check.
At least, three short periods in the history of Chicago have had a lasting influence on American Literature. These include from the time of the Great Chicago Fire to about 1900, what became known as the Chicago Literary Renaissance in the 1910s and early 1920s, and the period of the Great Depression through the 1940s.
What would become the influential Poetry Magazine was founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe, who was working as an art critic for the Chicago Tribune. The magazine discovered such poets as Gwendolyn Brooks, James Merrill, and John Ashbery. T. S. Eliot's first professionally published poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", was first published by Poetry. Contributors have included Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg, among others. The magazine was instrumental in launching the Imagist and Objectivist poetic movements.
Media Further information: Media in Chicago, List of fiction set in Chicago, and Chicago International Film Festival
The Chicago metropolitan area is the third-largest media market in North America, after New York City and Los Angeles. Each of the big four U.S. television networks, CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, directly owns and operates a high-definition television station in Chicago (WBBM, WLS, WMAQ and WFLD, respectively). WGN‑TV, which is owned by the Tribune Company, is carried with some programming differences, as "WGN America" on cable and satellite TV nationwide and in parts of the Caribbean. The city is also the home of several talk shows, including former The Oprah Winfrey Show on WLS‑TV, while Chicago Public Radio produces programs such as PRI's This American Life and NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Chicago's PBS station can be seen on WTTW, producer of shows such as Sneak Previews, The Frugal Gourmet, Lamb Chop's Play-Along and The McLaughlin Group, just to name a few and WYCC.
There are two major daily newspapers published in Chicago: the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, with the former having the larger circulation. There are also several regional and special-interest newspapers and magazines, such as Chicago, the Dziennik Związkowy (Polish Daily News), Draugas (the Lithuanian daily newspaper), the Chicago Reader, the SouthtownStar, the Chicago Defender, the Daily Herald, Newcity, StreetWise and the Windy City Times. The entertainment and cultural magazine Time Out Chicago and GRAB Magazine are also published in the city.
Chicago is a filming-friendly location. Since the 1980s, many motion pictures have been filmed in the city, most notably The Blues Brothers; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Home Alone; The Fugitive; I, Robot; Wanted; Batman Begins; The Dark Knight; and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Chicago has also been the setting for many popular television shows. Chicago-based TV shows include the situation comedies Perfect Strangers, its spinoff Family Matters, Married...with Children and The Bob Newhart Show. The city served as the venue for the medical dramas ER and Chicago Hope, as well as the fantasy drama series Early Edition and 2005–2009 drama Prison Break. The Good Wife is also set in Chicago. It is also the setting for Glee's 2012 Nationals Show Choir Competition. Discovery Channel films two shows in Chicago: Cook County Jail and the Chicago version of Cash Cab. Chicago is currently the setting of ABC sitcom Happy Endings. It is also the setting of sitcom Mike and Molly, Starz's political drama The Boss, Showtime's Shameless and NBC's Chicago Fire.
Chicago is also home to a number of national radio shows, including Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont on Sunday evenings. Midtown Madness, a real-life, car-driving simulation game is set in Chicago.
Religion St. Mary of the Angels, one of Chicago's "Polish Cathedrals".
Christianity is predominant among the city's population. The Chicago Metropolitan Area also includes adherents of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the Bahá'í, among others.
The wealth of Chicago's religious heritage is evident in its many noted examples of sacred architecture and institutions. Many of these religious edifices are Christian in origin, with Roman Catholic structures particularly prevalent. However, the city of Polish Cathedrals is rife with numerous historic synagogues, as well as the noteworthy sacred spaces of other religions. Chicago's northern suburb of Wilmette, Illinois, is the Bahá'í Temple, the only temple for the Bahá'í Faith in North America.
The city played host to the first two Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893 and 1993. Chicago contains many theological institutions, which include seminaries and colleges such as the Moody Bible Institute and DePaul University. Chicago is the seat of numerous religious leaders from a host of bishops of a wide array of Christian denominations as well as other religions.
Many international religious leaders have visited Chicago, including Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. Pope John Paul II visited Chicago in 1979 during his first trip ever to the United States after being elected to the Papacy in 1978.
Sports Top: Soldier Field; Bottom: Wrigley Field
Chicago was named the Best Sports City in the United States by The Sporting News in 1993, 2006, 2010. The city is home to two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams: the Chicago Cubs of the National League (NL), who play in Wrigley Field on the North Side; and the Chicago White Sox of the American League (AL), who play in U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side. Chicago is the only city that has had more than one MLB franchise every year since the AL began in 1901. The Chicago Bears, one of the last two remaining charter members of the National Football League (NFL), have won nine NFL Championships, including Super Bowl XX. The other remaining charter franchise, the Chicago Cardinals, also started out in the city, but are now known as the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears play their home games at Soldier Field named after, "The men and women of the armed forces". It is located just off the shore of Lake Michigan, right on Lake Shore Drive. Once a home to stock car racing, Soldier field was an aging stadium and was in dire need of renovation by the end of the 20th century. In 2003, Soldier Field re-opened after an extensive renovation, which increased the number of luxury boxes in the stadium and dramatically improved the day of game experience for Bears fans. However, because of this renovation, the stadium lost its National Historic Landmark designation on February 17, 2006.
The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world. During the 1990s with Michael Jordan leading them, the Bulls took six NBA championships in eight seasons. They also boast NBA's youngest player Derrick Rose who won the MVP award. The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL), who began play in 1926, and are one of the "Original Six", teams of the National Hockey League (NHL), have won four Stanley Cups. The Blackhawks are the 2010 Stanley Cup champions, and hosted the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. Both the Bulls and Blackhawks play at the United Center on the Near West Side. The Chicago Rush has been a member of the Arena Football League since 2001 and won ArenaBowl XX, playing in suburban Rosemont. The Arena Football League front office is also in Chicago. The Chicago Fire are members of Major League Soccer (MLS) and reside at Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview, after playing its first eight seasons at Soldier Field. The Fire have won one league title and four U.S. Open Cups since their founding in 1997.
While four of the five major franchises have won championships within recent time – the Bears (1985), the Bulls (91, '92, '93, '96, '97, and '98), the White Sox (2005), and the Blackhawks (2010) — the Chicago Cubs are known for their drought of over 100 years without a championship (currently 104 years as of the 2012 MLB season). The last time the Cubs were in a World Series was 1945. Some fans claim the Curse of the Billy Goat is responsible for the drought.Top: United Center; Bottom: U.S. Cellular Field
The Chicago Marathon has been held each year since 1977 except for in 1987, when a half marathon was run in its place. The Chicago Marathon is one of six World Marathon Majors. In 1994, the United States hosted a successful FIFA World Cup with games played at Soldier Field on Chicago's downtown lakefront. Chicago has also hosted major wrestling matches, including WrestleMania 22, and pay-per-view events such as Money in the bank in 2011 and Extreme Rules in 2012.
After a months' long process that saw the elimination of several American and international cities, Chicago was selected on April 14, 2007, to represent the United States internationally in the bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Chicago had previously hosted the 1959 Pan American Games and the 2006 Gay Games. Chicago was selected to host the 1904 Olympics, but they were transferred to St. Louis to coincide with the World's Fair. On June 4, 2008, the International Olympic Committee narrowed the field further and selected Chicago as one of four candidate cities for the 2016 games. On October 2, 2009, Rio de Janeiro was selected as the host city, with Chicago being eliminated in the first round of voting.
Starting just off Navy Pier is Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac, a 330-mile (530 km) offshore sailboat race held each July that is the longest annual freshwater sailing distance race in the world. 2010 marks the 102nd running of the "Mac".
Five area colleges play in Division I conferences: DePaul University (Big East Conference), Northwestern University (Big Ten Conference), Chicago State University (Great West Conference), Loyola University Chicago (Horizon League), and the University of Illinois at Chicago (Horizon League).
Economy See also: List of companies in the Chicago metropolitan areaFederal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—approximately $532 billion according to 2010 estimates, after only the urban agglomerations of New York City and Los Angeles, in the first and second place, respectively. The city has also been rated as having the most balanced economy in the United States, due to its high level of diversification. Chicago was named the fourth most important business center in the world in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan area recorded the greatest number of new or expanded corporate facilities in the United States for six out of the seven years from 2001 to 2008. The Chicago metropolitan area has the third largest science and engineering work force of any metropolitan area in the nation. In 2009 Chicago placed 9th on the UBS list of the world's richest cities. Chicago was the base of commercial operations for industrialists John Crerar, John Whitfield Bunn, Richard Teller Crane, Marshall Field, John Farwell, Morris Selz, Julius Rosenwald and many other commercial visionaries who laid the foundation for Midwestern and global industry.
Chicago is a major world financial center, with 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, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which is owned, along with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by Chicago's CME Group. The CME Group, in addition, owns the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX) and the Dow Jones Indexes. Perhaps due to the influence of the Chicago school of economics, the city also has markets trading unusual contracts such as emissions (on the Chicago Climate Exchange) and equity style indices (on the U.S. Futures Exchange). Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower.
The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are home to the second largest labor pool in the United States with approximately 4.25 million workers. In addition, the state of Illinois is home to 66 Fortune 1000 companies, including those in Chicago. The city of Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city claims one Dow 30 company: aerospace giant Boeing, which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001. Two more Dow 30 companies, Kraft Foods and McDonald's. are in Chicago suburbs, as are Sears Holdings Corporation and the technology spin-offs of Motorola. Chicago is also home to United Continental Holdings, with headquarters in the United Building and operations center at Willis Tower, and its United Airlines subsidiary.
Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, and the Healthcare Financial Services division of General Electric. Moreover, the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which helped move goods from the Great Lakes south on the Mississippi River, and of the railroads in the 19th century made the city a major transportation center in the United States. In the 1840s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the 1850s and 1860s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company, created global enterprises. Though the meatpacking industry currently plays a lesser role in the city's economy, Chicago continues to be a major transportation and distribution center. Lured by a combination of large business customers, federal research dollars, and a large hiring pool fed by the area's universities, Chicago is also home to a growing number of web startup companies like CareerBuilder, Orbitz, 37signals, Groupon, and Feedburner.
Chicago has been a hub of the Retail sector since its early development in America, when it was the home of Montgomery Ward, Sears, and Marshall Field's. Today the Chicago metro area is the home of several retailers, including Walgreens, Sears, OfficeMax, Ace Hardware, Claire's, and Crate & Barrel.
Late in the 19th century, Chicago was part of the bicycle craze, as home to Western Wheel Company, which introduced stamping to the production process and significantly reduced costs, while early in the 20th century, the city was part of the automobile revolution, hosting the Brass Era car builder Bugmobile, which was founded there in 1907. Chicago was also home to the Schwinn Bicycle Company.
Chicago is a major world convention destination. The city's main convention center is McCormick Place. With its four interconnected buildings, it is the largest convention center in the nation and third largest in the world. Chicago also ranks third in the U.S. (behind Las Vegas and Orlando) in number of conventions hosted annually.
In June 2012, Chicago had 391,000 unemployed with a 9.4% unemployment rate against a national average of 8.2%.
During its first 100 years, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. When founded in 1833, fewer than 200 people had settled on what was then the American frontier. By the time of its first census, seven years later, the population had reached over 4,000. Within the span of forty years, the city's population grew from slightly under 30,000 in 1850 to over 1 million by 1890. By the close of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world, and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century. Within sixty years of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the population went from about 300,000 to over 3 million, and reached its highest ever-recorded population of 3.6 million for the 1950 census.
From the last two decades of the 19th Century, Chicago was the destination of waves of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, including (but by no means limited to) Italians, Jews, Poles, and Czechs. To these ethnic groups, the basis of the city's industrial working class, was added an additional influx of African-Americans from the American South — with Chicago's black population doubling between 1910 and 1920 and doubling again between 1920 and 1930.
The great majority of American blacks moving to Chicago in these years were clustered in a so‑called "Black Belt" on the city's South Side. By 1930, two-thirds of Chicago's African-American population lived in sections of the city which were 90% black in racial composition. Chicago's South Side emerged as America's second largest urban black concentration, following New York's Harlem.
As of the 2010 census, there were 2,695,598 people with 1,045,560 households living in Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. Chicago is one of the United States' most densely populated major cities, and the largest city in the Great Lakes Megalopolis. The racial composition of the city was:45.0% White (31.7% non-Hispanic whites);32.9% Black or African American;13.4% from some other race;5.5% Asian (1.6% Chinese, 1.1% Indian, 1.1% Filipino, 0.4% Korean, 0.3% Pakistani, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Thai);2.7% from two or more races;0.5% American Indian.
Chicago has a Hispanic or Latino population of 28.9%. (Its members may belong to any race; 21.4% Mexican, 3.8% Puerto Rican, 0.7% Guatemalan, 0.6% Ecuadorian, 0.3% Cuban, 0.3% Colombian, 0.2% Honduran, 0.2% Salvadoran, 0.2% Peruvian) The Guatemalan, Colombian and Peruvian communities have skyrocketed in the 2000s, and some estimates give higher percentages.
According to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey data for 2011, the median income for a household in the city was $43,628, and the median income for a family was $49,442. Male full-time workers had a median income of $44,647 versus $41,168 for females. About 19.7% of families and 23.7% of the population lived below the poverty line.
The city's former most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, declined from 59% in 1970 to 31.7% in 2010. As of the 2011 American Community Survey the largest European ancestries were:Irish: (208,562)German: (201,863)Polish: (165,177)Italian: (102,188)English: (66,107).
According to the 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates for Total Ancestry Reported, for the city of Chicago, the majority of residents, or 64% of 2,986,974 people, reported their ancestry as "other groups". Of the 36% of residents that reported their ancestries in groups that were measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, the largest groups, based on the total population, were: Irish (6.6%); German (6.5%); Polish (5.3%); Italian (3.5%); Assyrian (3.5%); English (2.0%); Sub-Saharan African (1.2%); American (1.1%); Filipino (1.0%); Russian (0.97%); Swedish (0.91%); French (except Basque) (0.9%); Arab (0.7%); Greek (0.6%); Dutch (0.5%); Norwegian (0.5%); Scottish (0.5%); European (0.5%); West Indian (0.5%); Lithuanian (0.4%); Ukrainian (0.38%); Czech (0.4%); Hungarian (0.3%); Scotch-Irish (0.2%); Welsh (0.2%); Danish (0.2%); French Canadian (0.2%); Slovak (0.2%); British (0.1%); Swiss (0.1%); and Portuguese (0.1%). The city also has a large Assyrian population numbering between 80,000–120,000, and it is the location of the seat of the head of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV.
Law and government 
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.
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.
During much of the last half of the 19th century, Chicago's politics were dominated by a growing Democratic Party organization. During the 1880s and 1890s, Chicago had a powerful radical tradition with large and highly organized socialist, anarchist and labor organizations. For much of the 20th century, Chicago has been among the largest and most reliable Democratic strongholds in the United States; with Chicago's Democratic vote the state of Illinois has been "solid blue" in presidential elections since 1992. Even before then, it was not unheard of for Republican presidential candidates to win handily in downstate Illinois, only to lose statewide due to large Democratic margins in Chicago. The citizens of Chicago have not elected a Republican mayor since 1927, when William Thompson was voted into office. The strength of the party in the city is partly a consequence of Illinois state politics, where the Republicans have come to represent the rural and farm concerns while the Democrats support urban issues such as Chicago's public school funding. Chicago contains less than 25% of the state's population, but 8 of Illinois' 19 U.S. Representatives have part of Chicago in their districts.
Machine politics persisted in Chicago after the decline of similar machines in other large U.S. cities. During much of that time, the city administration found opposition mainly from a liberal "independent" faction of the Democratic Party. The independents finally gained control of city government in 1983 with the election of Harold Washington (in office 1983–1987). From 1989 until May 16, 2011, Chicago was under the leadership of its longest serving mayor, Richard M. Daley, the son of Richard J. Daley. On May 16, 2011, Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as the 55th mayor of Chicago. Because of the dominance of the Democratic Party in Chicago, the Democratic primary vote held in the spring is generally more significant than the general elections in November for U.S. House and Illinois State seats. The aldermanic, mayoral, and other city offices are filled through nonpartisan elections with runoffs as needed.
Chicago had a murder rate of 14.5 per 100,000 residents in 2012. This pales in comparison to smaller cities, including New Orleans, Newark, and Detroit, which saw 53 murders per 100,000 residents in 2012. The total number of murders in the city peaked in 1974, with 970 murders when the city's population was over 3 million people (resulting in a murder rate of around 29 per 100,000), and came close to peaking again in 1992 with 943 murders, resulting in a murder rate of 34 per 100,000. Chicago, along with other major US cities, experienced a significant reduction in violent crime rates through the 1990s, eventually recording 448 homicides in 2004, the lowest total since 1965 (15.65 per 100,000.) Chicago's homicide tally remained steady throughout 2005, 2006, and 2007 with 449, 452, and 435 respectively.
In 2008, murders rebounded to 510, breaking 500 for the first time since 2003. For 2009 the murder count was down about 10% for the year, to 458.
2010 saw Chicago's murder rate at its lowest levels since 1965. Overall, 435 homicides were recorded for the year (16.14 per 100,000), a 5% decrease from 2009.
2011 saw Chicago's murders at 431 for a murder rate of 15.94 per 100,000 for a drop of 1.2% from 2010.
2012 saw a spike in murders to 506.
Public safety 
The Chicago Police Department provides law enforcement for the City of Chicago and its residents.
The Chicago Fire Department provides fire suppression and emergency medical services for the City of Chicago and its residents.
Schools and libraries 
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the governing body of the school district that contains over 600 public elementary and high schools citywide, including several selective-admission magnet schools. There are ten selective enrollment high schools in the Chicago Public Schools. They are designed to meet the needs of Chicago's most academically advanced students. The schools offer a rigorous curriculum with mainly honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Northside College Preparatory High School is ranked number one in the city of Chicago. The oldest magnet school in the City of Chicago, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, was opened in 1975 is second. Walter Payton College Prep High School is ranked number three. The Chicago high school rankings are determined by the average test scores on state achievement tests. The district, with an enrollment exceeding 400,000 students (2005 stat.), ranks as the third largest in the US On September 10, 2012, teachers for the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike for the first time since 1987 over pay, resources and other issues.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago operates the city's Catholic schools, including the Jesuit preparatory schools. Some of the more prominent Catholic schools are St. Rita of Cascia High School, De La Salle Institute, Josephinum Academy (Near west/northwest side of Chicago) (Girls only) Gordon Technical High School, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Brother Rice High School, St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, Mount Carmel High School, Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, Marist High School, St. Patrick High School, Maria High School and Resurrection High School. In addition to Chicago's network of Lutheran schools, there are also several private schools run by other denominations and faiths, such as the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in West Ridge. Additionally, a number of private schools are run in a completely secular educational environment, such as the Latin School of Chicago, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Hyde Park, the Global Citizenship Experience School in Lincoln Park, the Francis W. Parker School, the Chicago City Day School in Lake View, the Feltre School in River North and the Morgan Park Academy. Chicago is also home of the private Chicago Academy for the Arts, a high school focused on six different categories of the art. Also Chicago is home of the public Chicago High School for the Arts, a high school focused on five categories (visual arts, theatre, musical theatre, dance, and music) of the arts.
The Chicago Public Library system operates 79 public libraries including the central library, two regional libraries, and numerous branches distributed throughout the city.
Colleges and universities For a more comprehensive list, see List of colleges and universities in Chicago.
Since the 1850s, Chicago has been a world center of higher education and research with several universities that are in the city proper or in the immediate environs. These institutions consistently rank among the top "National Universities" in the United States, as determined by U.S. News & World Report. Top universities in Chicago are: The University of Chicago; Northwestern University; Loyola University Chicago; Illinois Institute of Technology; DePaul University; and University of Illinois at Chicago. Other notable schools include: Chicago State University; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago; East–West University; National-Louis University; North Park University; Northeastern Illinois University; Columbia College Chicago; Robert Morris University; Roosevelt University; Saint Xavier University; and Rush University.
William Rainey Harper, the first president of the University of Chicago, was instrumental in the creation of the junior college concept, establishing nearby Joliet Junior College as the first in the nation in 1901. His legacy continues with the multiple community colleges in the Chicago proper, including the seven City Colleges of Chicago, Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy–King College, Malcolm X College, Olive–Harvey College, Harry S Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College, in addition to the privately held MacCormac College.
Chicago proper also has a large concentration of graduate schools, seminaries and theological schools such as the Adler School of Professional Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, the Institute for Clinical Social Work, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the Catholic Theological Union, Moody Bible Institute, and the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Transportation Further information: Transportation in ChicagoAmtrak and Metra rail yard south of Union Station
Chicago is a major transportation hub in the United States. It is an important component in global distribution, as it is the third largest inter-modal port in the world after Hong Kong and Singapore.
Expressways Further information: Roads and expressways in Chicago
Seven mainline and four auxiliary interstate highways (55, 57, 65 (only in Indiana), 80 (also in Indiana), 88, 90 (also in Indiana), 94 (also in Indiana), 190, 290, 294, and 355) run through Chicago and its suburbs. Segments that link to the city center are named after influential politicians, with three of them named after former U.S. Presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan) and one named after two-time Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson.
The Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways are the busiest state maintained routes in not only the City of Chicago and its suburbs, but also the entire state of Illinois.
Transit systems 
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) coordinates the operation of the three service boards: CTA, Metra, and Pace.The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) handles public transportation in the city of Chicago and a few adjacent suburbs outside of the Chicago city limits. The CTA operates an extensive network of buses and a rapid transit elevated and subway system known as the 'L' (for "elevated"), with lines designated by colors. These rapid transit lines also serve both Midway and O'Hare Airports. The CTA's rail lines consist of the Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Brown, Purple, Pink, and Yellow lines. Both the Red and Blue lines offer 24‑hour service which makes Chicago one of a handful of cities around the world (and one of two in the United States, the other being New York City) to offer rail service 24 hours a day, every day of the year, within the city's limits.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 provides inter-city bus service to and from the city, and Chicago is also the hub for the Midwest network of Megabus (North America).
Amtrak long distance services originate from Union Station. Chicago is one of the largest hubs of passenger rail service in the nation. The services terminate in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, Quincy, St. Louis, Carbondale, Boston, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Pontiac, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. An attempt was made in the early 20th century to link Chicago with New York City via the Chicago – New York Electric Air Line Railroad. Parts of this were built, but it was ultimately never completed.
Six of the seven Class I railroads meet in Chicago, with the exception being the Kansas City Southern Railway. As of 2002, severe freight train congestion caused trains to take as long to get through the Chicago region as it took to get there from the West Coast of the country (about 2 days). About one-third of the country's freight trains pass through the city, making it a major national bottleneck. Announced in 2003, the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) initiative is using about $1.5 billion in private railroad, state, local, and federal funding to improve rail infrastructure in the region to reduce freight rail congestion by about one third.
Airports Further information: Transportation in Chicago#Airports
Chicago is served by O'Hare International Airport, the world's second busiest airport, on the far Northwest Side, and Midway International Airport on the Southwest Side. In 2005, O'Hare was the world's busiest airport by aircraft movements and the second busiest by total passenger traffic (due to government enforced flight caps). Both O'Hare and Midway are owned and operated by the City of Chicago. Gary/Chicago International Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport, located in Gary, Indiana and Rockford, Illinois, respectively, can serve as alternate Chicago area airports, however they do not offer as many commercial flights as O'Hare and Midway. Both Gary and Rockford are vying to become Chicago's third major airport, although the state of Illinois in recent years has been leaning towards building an entirely new airport in the Illinois suburbs of Chicago. The City of Chicago is the world headquarters for United Airlines, the world's largest airline. O'Hare is also a hub for American Airlines. Chicago is a focus city for Southwest Airlines at Midway.
The Port of Chicago consists of several major port facilities within the city of Chicago operated by the Illinois International Port District (formerly known as the Chicago Regional Port District). The central element of the Port District, Calumet Harbor, is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Iroquois Landing Lakefront Terminal: at the mouth of the Calumet River, it includes 100 acres (0.40 km) of warehouses and facilities on Lake Michigan with over 780,000 square meters (8,390,000 square feet) of storage.Lake Calumet terminal: located at the union of the Grand Calumet River and Little Calumet River 6 miles (9.7 km) inland from Lake Michigan. Includes three transit sheds totaling over 29,000 square meters (315,000 square feet) adjacent to over 900 linear meters (3,000 linear feet) of ship and barge berthing.Grain (14 million bushels) and bulk liquid (800,000 barrels) storage facilities along Lake Calumet.The Illinois International Port district also operates Foreign trade zone No. 22, which extends 60 miles (97 km) from Chicago's city limits.
Electricity for most of northern Illinois is provided by Commonwealth Edison, also known as ComEd. Their service territory borders Iroquois County to the south, the Wisconsin border to the north, the Iowa border to the west and the Indiana border to the east. In northern Illinois, ComEd (a division of Exelon) operates the greatest number of nuclear generating plants in any US state. Because of this, ComEd reports indicate that Chicago receives about 75% of its electricity from nuclear power. Recently, the city started the installation of wind turbines on government buildings with the aim to promote the use of renewable energy.
Natural Gas is provided by Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, which is headquartered in Chicago.
Domestic and industrial waste was once incinerated but it is now landfilled, mainly in the Calumet area. From 1995 to 2008, the city had a blue bag program to divert certain refuse from landfills. In the fall of 2007 the city began a pilot program for blue bin recycling similar to that of other cities due to low participation rates in the blue bag program. After completion of the pilot the city will determine whether to roll it out to all wards.
Using only 3% of the total available bandwidth capacity and 13% of the available fiber pairs, Chicago area data centers move data for local, area, regional and international networks.
Health systems 
Chicago is home to the Illinois Medical District, on the Near West Side. It includes Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, Jesse Brown VA Hospital, and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, the largest trauma-center in the city.
Two of the country's premier academic medical centers reside in Chicago, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the University of Chicago Medical Center. The Chicago campus of Northwestern University includes the Feinberg School of Medicine; Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is ranked as the best hospital in the Chicago metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report for 2010–11; the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which is ranked the best U.S. rehabilitation hospital by U.S. News & World Report; the new Prentice Women's Hospital; and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine at UIC is the largest medical school in the United States (2,600 students including those at campuses in Peoria, Rockford and Urbana–Champaign).
In addition, the Chicago Medical School and Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine are located in the suburbs of North Chicago and Maywood, respectively. The Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine is in Downers Grove.
The American Medical Association, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, American Osteopathic Association, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dietetic Association, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American College of Surgeons, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Hospital Association, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association are all based in Chicago.
Sister cities 
Chicago has 28 sister cities around the world. Like Chicago, many of them are or were the second most populous city or second most influential city of their country, or they are the main city of a country that has had large amounts of immigrants settle in Chicago. Paris is a Partner City, due to the one sister city policy of its respective French commune.
To celebrate the sister cities, Chicago hosts a yearly festival in Daley Plaza, which features cultural acts and food tastings from the other cities. In addition, the Chicago Sister Cities program hosts a number of delegation and formal exchanges. In some cases, these exchanges have led to further informal collaborations, such as the academic relationship between the Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University and the Institute of Gerontology of Ukraine (originally of the Soviet Union), that was originally established as part of the Chicago-Kiev sister cities program.
Sister citiesWarsaw (Poland) 1960 Milan (Italy) 1973 Osaka (Japan) 1973 Casablanca (Morocco) 1982 Shanghai (China) 1985 Shenyang (China) 1985 Gothenburg (Sweden) 1987 Accra (Ghana) 1989 Prague (Czech Republic) 1990 Kyiv (Ukraine) 1991 Mexico City (Mexico) 1991 Toronto (Canada) 1991 Birmingham (United Kingdom) 1993 Vilnius (Lithuania) 1993 Hamburg (Germany) 1994 Petah Tikva (Israel) 1994 Athens (Greece) 1997 Durban (South Africa) 1997 Galway (Ireland) 1997 Moscow (Russia) 1997 Lucerne (Switzerland) 1998 Delhi (India) 2001 Amman (Jordan) 2004 São Paulo (Brazil) 2004 Belgrade (Serbia) 2005 Lahore (Pakistan) 2007 Busan (South Korea) 2007 Bogotá (Colombia) 2009
Partner cityParis (France) 1996