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Chicago Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Chicago

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Chicago is the United States’ third most populated city. With a population of nearly 2.7 million, it is the most populous city in Illinois and the Midwestern United States, as well as the county seat of Cook County. The Chicago metropolitan region, also referred to as Chicagoland, has approximately ten million people in size and ranks third in the United States.

Chicago was founded as a city in 1837, along a watershed connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and expanded quickly in the mid-nineteenth century.

The city is a global financial, commercial, industrial, technological, telecommunications, and transportation hub: O’Hare International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport in terms of aviation traffic; the area also has the most roadways and rail freight in the United States. In 2012, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network designated Chicago as an alpha global city, and it was rated seventh in the 2014 Global Cities Index. Chicago has the third highest gross metropolitan product in the United States, estimated at around $630.3 billion between 2014 and 2016. Numerous universities are also located in the Chicago metropolitan region, including Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Chicago welcomed 50.2 million foreign and domestic tourists in 2014. The visual arts, literature, cinema, theater, notably improvisational comedy, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, gospel, and house music, all contribute to Chicago’s culture. Additionally, it features clubs in each of the main professional leagues. Chicago is recognized by a variety of nicknames, the most well-known of which being the Windy City.

Chicago – Info Card

POPULATION : • City 2,695,598
• Estimate (July 1, 2015) 2,720,546
• Metro 9,551,031 (3rd)
FOUNDED : Settled 1780s
Incorporated (town) August 12, 1833
Incorporated (city) March 4, 1837
TIME ZONE :Time zone Central (UTC-6)
Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
LANGUAGE : 
RELIGION : Christian 71%, no religious  22% , Others 7%
AREA :• City 234.0 sq mi (606 km2)
• Land 227.3 sq mi (589 km2)
• Water 6.9 sq mi (18 km2)
• Urban 2,122.8 sq mi (5,498 km2)
• Metro 10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2)
ELEVATION :Highest elevation
– near Blue Island 672 ft (205 m)
Lowest elevation
– at Lake Michigan 578 ft (176 m)
COORDINATES : 41°50′13″N 87°41′05″W
SEX RATIO : 
ETHNIC :• 45.0% White (31.7% non-Hispanic whites);
• 32.9% Black or African American;
• 28.9% Hispanic or Latino (of any race);
• 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.
AREA CODE : 312/872 and 773/872
POSTAL CODE : 606xx, 607xx, 608xx
DIALING CODE : +1 312
WEBSITE :  www.cityofchicago.org

Tourism in Chicago

Chicago is the birthplace of the blues and jazz truth, the epicenter of humor and the originator of the skyscraper. The railroad era began here, and aircraft followed suit. It is one of the world’s great cities, yet the urban amenities of theater, shopping, and fine eating have hardly scratched the surface of genuine Midwestern warmth. It’s a metropolis with a swagger, but without the arrogance or even the phony grins associated with other cities of comparable size.

Chicago is easy to find as the Midwest’s hub — its picturesque skyline beckons across the waters of Lake Michigan, a first impression that quickly transforms into world-class museums of art and science, miles of sandy beaches, sprawling parks and public art, and perhaps the world’s finest downtown collection of modern architecture.

With a plethora of historic landmarks and areas to see, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for days, weeks, or even months. Dress warmly in the winter and be prepared to cover a lot of territory; the essence of Chicago is discovered only in movement, via subways and ancient elevated rails, in the pride of exhausted feet and eyes lifted once again to the sky.

Chicago welcomed 50.17 million domestic leisure tourists, 11.09 million domestic business visitors, and 1.308 million international visitors in 2014. These tourists injected almost US$13.7 billion into the Chicago economy. The Magnificent Mile and State Street’s upscale shopping, numerous of restaurants, and Chicago’s notable architecture continue to attract travelers. The city is the third-largest convention destination in the United States. According to a 2011 Walk Score survey, Chicago is the fourth most walkable city in the United States out of the fifty biggest. The majority of conferences take place at McCormick Place, which is located directly south of Soldier Field. Originally the Chicago Public Library, the historic Chicago Cultural Center (1897) today contains the city’s Visitor Information Center, galleries, and exhibit halls. Preston Bradley Hall’s ceiling has a Tiffany glass dome measuring 38 feet (12 meters). Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain (1927), and the Art Institute of Chicago are all located in Grant Park. Additionally, the park hosts the Taste of Chicago event each year. The mirrored Cloud Gate sculpture is located in Millennium Park. Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of Millennium Park’s AT&T Plaza. Additionally, throughout the winter season, an outside restaurant changes into an ice rink. The Crown Fountain is comprised of two towering glass sculptures. The fountain’s two towers include visual effects created by LED pictures of Chicago residents’ faces and water erupting from their mouths. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Frank Gehry’s intricate stainless steel band shell, is home to the classical Grant Park Music Festival performance series. The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is located behind the pavilion’s stage and serves as an indoor venue for mid-sized performing arts groups such as the Chicago Opera Theater and Music of the Baroque.

Navy Pier is a 3,000-foot (910-meter) long structure situated immediately east of Streeterville. It features retail shops, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls, and auditoriums. Navy Pier will complete construction of its new DW60 Ferris wheel in the summer of 2016. The new wheel was designed by Dutch Wheels, a world-renowned manufacturer of ferris wheels. It will have 42 navy blue gondolas capable of transporting up to eight people and two children. Additionally, it will have entertainment systems and a climate-controlled atmosphere inside the gondolas. The DW60 will be roughly 196 feet (60 meters) tall, 46 feet higher than the preceding wheel. The new DW60 will be the country’s first and sixth tallest building. Chicago was the world’s first city to install a ferris wheel.

On June 4, 1998, the city dedicated the Museum Campus, a 10-acre (4.0 hectare) lakefront park that encompasses three of the city’s major museums, each of which is nationally significant: the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus connects Grant Park’s southern part, which is home to the famed Art Institute of Chicago. The Buckingham Fountain serves as the focal point of the downtown park along the lakeside. The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago has a sizable collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. The Chicago History Museum, the Driehaus 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 are additional museums and galleries in the city.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center, which is scheduled to open in 2020, will be located on the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus and will contain both the Obama presidential library and the Obama Foundation’s headquarters.

The Willis Tower (previously known as the Sears Tower) is a renowned tourist attraction. The Willis Tower’s observation deck is available year-round and offers panoramic views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. The observation deck is encased by a glass balcony that extends ten feet out on the building’s side. Tourists have the ability to stare directly down.

TOURIST INFORMATION

The tourist information centers in Chicago include maps, brochures, and other resources.

  • Chicago Water Works Visitor Information Center, – The city’s primary tourist information center is situated on the Magnificent Mile, across the street from the Water Tower, in the historic Pumping Station. Along with an abundance of complimentary tourist information, there is a small café and a Hot Tix storefront selling discounted theatrical tickets.
  • Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center, – A convenient location for picking up a variety of valuable, free goods. The Cultural Center is an excellent starting point for your trip, since it features free, quality art and historical exhibitions throughout the year.

Climate of Chicago

The weather is very definitely not one of Chicago’s charms. There is something enjoyable to be obtained in every season, yet this is a location where the climate must be considered.

Unbeknownst to many, despite Chicago’s brutal winters, there are more days with a high temperature of 80-84°F (27-29°C) than any other five-degree range. Summer heat waves are obscured by Chicago’s brutal winters. July and August days that exceed the “average” are often revoltingly hot and humid, with dewpoints comparable to those seen closer to the Gulf of Mexico. The city’s unexpectedly beautiful lakefront beaches may help alleviate the heat. Summer evenings, on the other hand, are typically bearable, and you’ll find a few degrees of relief at the lakefront — or, in local jargon, “cooler by the lake.”

However, there are some harsh winters. From December through March, temperatures will be very cold, with considerably more harsh wind chill factors. Snowfall is mostly restricted to a few major storms every season, with a few minor dustings in between. (And a bit farther up the lakefront — again, this is referred to as “lake effect snow” in local language.) Ice storms are another possibility. However, this is a city that is used to harsh winters, and municipal services and public transit are very unlikely to close.

Having all that, Chicago does have a few pleasant months. May through September are nice and warm; April and June are mainly pleasant, with the exception of thunderstorms with strong winds. While there is a tiny coolness in the air in October, it seldom requires more than a light coat, and on some days, that is unnecessary. In certain years, the lake’s warmth may extend a lovely fall into November.

Geography of Chicago

Chicago is situated on the southwestern beaches of Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois. It is the primary city in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, which is located in the Midwest and Great Lakes area of the United States. Chicago is located on the Chicago Portage, which connects the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins. Chicago is located next to the massive freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River on the industrial far South Side—both run wholly or partly through the city. Chicago’s history and economics are inextricably linked to its location on the shores of Lake Michigan. While the Chicago River traditionally handled the majority of the region’s waterborne commerce, today’s massive lake freighters dock in the city’s South Side Lake Calumet Harbor. Additionally, the lake benefits Chicago’s temperature by moderating it, making shoreline districts somewhat warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Economy of Chicago

Chicago has the third highest gross metropolitan product in the United States, estimated at around $630.3 billion between 2014 and 2016. Additionally, owing to its high degree of diversity, the city has been regarded as having the most balanced economy in the United States. Chicago was ranked fourth in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan region had the highest number of newly constructed or enlarged corporate buildings in the United States in 2014. The Chicago metropolitan region has the nation’s third biggest scientific and engineering workforce. Chicago was ranked ninth on the 2009 UBS list of the world’s wealthiest cities. Chicago served as the business headquarters for industrialists John Crerar, John Whitfield Bunn, Richard Teller Crane, Marshall Field, John Farwell, and Julius Rosenwald, among others.

Chicago is a significant global financial hub, having the country’s second biggest central business district. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is headquartered in the city (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). The city is home to many important financial and futures markets, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the “Merc”), which is jointly operated by Chicago’s CME Group and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Additionally, the CME Group controls the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX), and Dow Jones Indices. Perhaps as a result of the Chicago school of economics’ impact, the city also offers marketplaces for non-traditional contracts such as carbon trading (on the Chicago Climate Exchange) and equity style indexes (on the U.S. Futures Exchange). Chase Bank’s commercial and retail banking operations are headquartered at the Chase Tower in Chicago.

With around 4.48 million employees in 2014, the city and its surrounding metropolitan region have the third biggest labor pool in the United States. Furthermore, Illinois is home to 66 Fortune 1000 businesses, including those headquartered in Chicago. Additionally, Chicago is home to 12 Fortune Global 500 firms and 17 Financial Times 500 firms. One Dow 30 firm is headquartered in the city: aerospace behemoth Boeing, which relocated its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001. Two other Dow 30 firms, Kraft Foods and McDonald’s, as well as Sears Holdings Corporation and Motorola’s technological spin-offs, are located in the Chicago suburbs. United Continental Holdings’ headquarters are located at the United Building, while its operations center and United Airlines subsidiary are located in the Willis Tower in Chicago. McDonald’s declared in June 2016 that it intends to relocate its worldwide headquarters to Chicago’s West Loop district by early 2018.

Additionally, manufacturing, printing, publishing, and food processing contribute significantly to the city’s economy. Numerous medical product and service firms have their headquarters in the Chicago metropolitan region, including Baxter International, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, and General Electric’s Healthcare Financial Services division. Along with Boeing, which established its headquarters in Chicago in 2001, and United Airlines in 2011, GE Transportation, ThyssenKrupp North America, and agribusiness major Archer Daniels Midland all relocated to the city in 2013. Additionally, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which aided in the movement of products from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, and the railways in the nineteenth century established the city as a key transportation hub in the United States. Chicago became a significant grain port in the 1840s, and the city’s pig and cattle industries flourished in the 1850s and 1860s. As Chicago’s main meat firms expanded, several, such as Armour and Company, established worldwide operations. Though the meatpacking sector now contributes less to the city’s economy, Chicago remains a significant transportation and distribution hub. Chicago is also home to an increasing number of online startups, including CareerBuilder, Orbitz, 37signals, Groupon, Feedburner, and NowSecure. Attracted by a mix of major company clients, government research funding, and a vast employment pool supplied by the area’s colleges.

Since its inception, Chicago has been a retail powerhouse, including Montgomery Ward, Sears, and Marshall Field’s. Today, various shops have their headquarters in the Chicago metropolitan region, including Walgreens, Sears, Ace Hardware, Claire’s, ULTA Beauty, and Crate & Barrel.

Late in the nineteenth century, Chicago was a center of the bicycle craze, with the Western Wheel Company pioneering the use of stamping in the manufacturing process, significantly reducing costs, while early in the twentieth century, the city was a center of the automobile revolution, hosting the Brass Era car builder Bugmobile, founded in 1907. Additionally, Chicago was the home of the Schwinn Bicycle Company.

Chicago is a significant international convention location. McCormick Place is the city’s primary convention facility. It is the biggest convention center in the United States and the third largest in the world, with four linked structures. Additionally, Chicago ranks third in the United States (after Las Vegas and Orlando) in terms of yearly conferences hosted.

Internet, Communication in Chicago

INTERNET

The first Internet café debuted in the United States in Chicago, but they never really took off. However, there are still a handful; see individual district articles. If you bring your own computer, free wireless Internet connection is now available at most coffee shops in the city, including large chains like Starbucks. Most motels above the transitory category also have complimentary Wi-Fi.

The good news is that all Chicago Public Library branches provide free internet access through public computers and public wifi that is password-free. If you do not have a Chicago library card but possess a picture ID indicating that you do not reside in Chicago, you may get a temporary permit at the library information desk. (If you are not a resident of Chicago and do not have a library card, all you will get is a severe look and a quick lecture on the importance of Chicagoans supporting the library system.) While the Harold Washington Library in the Loop is the most centrally situated branch, there are branch libraries located across the city – again, check local district entries. Sunday hours are limited to Harold Washington and the two regional libraries (Sulzer and Woodson).

TELEPHONES

For a long time, 312 was the area code for the whole of Chicago; it remains the preferred code for the Loop and the majority of the Near North and Near South. 773 encircles the central business district, including all else within municipal bounds. 872 is a city-wide overlay code. Please keep in mind that the city of Chicago uses 11-digit dialing; you must always enter a 1 plus the area code, even if the call is local.

Close to the city, suburban areas use 847 and 224 (north/northwest), 708 (south), 815 and 779 (southwest), 630 and 331 (west), and 219 (east) (northwest Indiana).

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