Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and has a distinctive charm that’s all its own. A lot of that comes down to the people; it’s located right at the heart of the American Midwest, known for its friendly residents, smiling faces and positive attitude.
Chicagoans will go out of their way to help you (even if you don’t look particularly out of place or lost), in spite of the fast-paced life that goes with being an economic and cultural metropolis.
Chicago began as a key point between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, growing up in an era of expansion into the American West. It continued to play a key role connecting east and west during the 1800s as a railroad hub and growing economic centre.
Now, the city really is a hotbed of culture, filled with world-class museums, restaurants, concert halls, sports teams, theatres, live music, and more. While there's a traditional side to Chicago, with old customs holding firm, there’s also a vibrant young energy led by urban professionals pushing into new areas, both in terms of where they live and what they do. It's the home of President Barack Obama, who celebrated his two elections in the massive and magical Grant Park, one of the city's many green spaces.
Despite its nickname as The Windy City, there’s nothing particularly biting about the cool wind that blows off Lake Michigan. (It’s said that the phrase dates back to the 1800s, when local politicians were referred to as being “full of hot air”). However, you might still want to wrap up warm when you’re taking a stroll around the lake, which is the largest of the Great Lakes in North America.
When it comes to food – start with the pizza. Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizzas, massive mountains of toppings pilled high on top of huge, thick, satisfying slices of doughy goodness cooked to perfection in a fiery brick oven. In addition, the many ethnic enclaves – ranging from Vietnamese to Polish – offer their own specialties brought directly from their country of origin. The portions in Chicago are as generous and crowd-pleasing as the people who serve them.
In essence, to spend time in Chicago is to spend time in a cross-section of the United States, a place where the country comes together into one amazing amalgamation of culture and cuisine. It truly has something for everyone.