Incorporated as a city in 1837, Chicago was a rapidly growing trading center due to the westward expansion in the U.S. during that time. Perhaps the most memorable occurrence in Chicago’s history is the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Most of the city’s streets, sidewalks, and buildings, which were made of wood, perished in the fire. The cause of the fire was never official determined, and is considered one of the largest disasters of the 19th century in the U.S. In spite of the fire, the rebuilding of the city paved the way for Chicago’s development both in population and in its economic influence.
Chicago is located on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan. The city has a continental climate, with summer temperatures reaching as high as 96° F or higher, and winters reaching a minimum low of -15° F. The annual average temperature is 49.8° F, and the annual average precipitation is 35.82 inches.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the nation’s 2nd largest public transportation system, serving not only the city of Chicago, but also 40 suburbs, and 83% of the transportation to the six surrounding counties in the Chicago metropolitan area. The CTA provides buses and train systems, and connecting services with Metra and Pace.
The cost of living in Chicago is more expensive than the U.S. average. Use these tools below to see how far your current budget will go in Chicago.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third largest district in the U.S., educating over 400,000 students each year. CPS has 681 schools, including elementary, high schools, contract schools and charter schools.
Chicago has 868 neighborhoods to choose from. Real estate in the heart of the city is some of the most expensive in the country. Use these links to learn more about the real estate opportunities available in Chicago.
Chicago has over 108,000 hotel rooms, ranging from bed and breakfasts to luxury high-rises. Chicago was recently named for the “#1 Hotel in the U.S.” by readers of the Conde Nast Traveler. Use these links to find accommodations for your next trip to the city.
If you truly want to get a feel for the restaurant scene in Chicago, you need to attend the annual Taste of Chicago. It is your chance to try a dish from one of over 7,300 of the restaurants in the city in one place. And, don’t forget to try the food Chicago is famous for: Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, and Chicago-style hot dogs.
There is so much to do and to see in Chicago, it’s hard to find time for it all - even for residents. One of the most-recommended must-see’s is Navy Pier. It offers attractions of all kinds and for all people, including dining, shopping, museums, and annual events. You can also go to one of Chicago’s many theaters, galleries, music clubs, or comedy clubs. Known as a great sports city, there are many opportunities to catch your favorite Chicago teams play. And when it’s not too cold, stroll the city’s lakefront along Lake Michigan, or visit one of Chicago’s parks. Millennium Park is infused with art through its unique design, public art installments and cultural events. Grant Park, known as “Chicago’s front yard,” boasts 300 acres separating the busy downtown from the lakefront.