Chicago | The Windy City, a city of power and energy

Chicago | The Windy City, a city of power and energy

Chicago (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/ (listen) shih-KAH-goh, locally also /ʃɪˈkɔːɡoʊ/ shih-KAW-goh Miami-Illinois: Shikaakwa; Ojibwe: Zhigaagong) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois and the third-most populous in the United States after New York City and Los Angeles. With a population of 2,746,388 in the 2020 census, it is also the most populous city in the Midwest. As the seat of Cook County, the second-most populous county in the U.S., Chicago is the center of the Chicago metropolitan area, the 39th-largest city in the world as of 2018.

On the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. It grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. The Great Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, but Chicago’s population continued to grow. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and architecture, such as the Chicago School, the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.

Chicago is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is the financial center of the U.S. Midwest. It has the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures alone.  O’Hare International Airport is routinely ranked among the world’s top six busiest airports. The region is the nation’s railroad hub. The Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products (GDP) in the world, generating $689 billion in 2018. The economy of Chicago is diverse, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.

Chicago is a major tourist destination. Chicago’s culture has contributed much to the visual arts, literature, film, theater, comedy (especially improvisational comedy), food, dance, and music (particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel,[17] and electronic dance music, including house music). Chicago is home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Chicago area also hosts the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois Chicago, among other institutions of learning. Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams.

Climate

The city lies within the typical hot-summer humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa), and experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with frequent heat waves. The July daily average temperature is 75.9 °F (24.4 °C), with afternoon temperatures peaking at 85.0 °F (29.4 °C). In a normal summer, temperatures reach at least 90 °F (32 °C) on as many as 23 days, with lakefront locations staying cooler when winds blow off the lake. Winters are relatively cold and snowy. Blizzards do occur, such as in winter 2011.[128] There are many sunny but cold days. The normal winter high from December through March is about 36 °F (2 °C). January and February are the coldest months. A polar vortex in January 2019 nearly broke the city’s cold record of −27 °F (−33 °C), which was set on January 20, 1985. Measurable snowfall can continue through the first or second week of April.

Spring and autumn are mild, short seasons, typically with low humidity. Dew point temperatures in the summer range from an average of 55.7 °F (13.2 °C) in June to 61.7 °F (16.5 °C) in July. They can reach nearly 80 °F (27 °C), such as during the July 2019 heat wave. The city lies within USDA plant hardiness zone 6a, transitioning to 5b in the suburbs.

According to the National Weather Service, Chicago’s highest official temperature reading of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded on July 24, 1934.[135] Midway Airport reached 109 °F (43 °C) one day prior and recorded a heat index of 125 °F (52 °C) during the 1995 heatwave.[136] The lowest official temperature of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded on January 20, 1985, at O’Hare Airport. Most of the city’s rainfall is brought by thunderstorms, averaging 38 a year. The region is prone to severe thunderstorms during the spring and summer which can produce large hail, damaging winds, and occasionally tornadoes.

Religion

According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, Christianity is the most prevalently practiced religion in Chicago (71%), with the city being the fourth-most religious metropolis in the United States after Dallas, Atlanta and Houston. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are the largest branches (34% and 35% respectively), followed by Eastern Orthodoxy and Jehovah’s Witnesses with 1% each.[171] Chicago also has a sizable non-Christian population. Non-Christian groups include Irreligious (22%), Judaism (3%), Islam (2%), Buddhism (1%) and Hinduism (1%).

Chicago is the headquarters of several religious denominations, including the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is the seat of several dioceses. The Fourth Presbyterian Church is one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in the United States based on memberships. Since the 20th century Chicago has also been the headquarters of the Assyrian Church of the East. In 2014 the Catholic Church was the largest individual Christian denomination (34%), with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago being the largest Catholic jurisdiction. Evangelical Protestantism form the largest theological Protestant branch (16%), followed by Mainline Protestants (11%), and historically Black churches (8%). Among denominational Protestant branches, Baptists formed the largest group in Chicago (10%); followed by Nondenominational (5%); Lutherans (4%); and Pentecostals (3%).

Non-Christian faiths accounted for 7% of the religious population in 2014. Judaism has at least 261,000 adherents which is 3% of the population, making it the second largest religion. A 2020 study estimated the total Jewish population of the Chicago metropolitan area, both religious and irreligious, at 319,600.

The first two Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 and 1993 were held in Chicago. Many international religious leaders have visited Chicago, including Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II in 1979.

Entertainment and the Arts

Renowned Chicago theater companies include the Goodman Theatre in the Loop; the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theater in Lincoln Park; and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. Broadway In Chicago offers Broadway-style entertainment at five theaters: the Nederlander Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, and 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. Chicago’s theater community spawned modern improvisational theater, and includes the prominent groups The Second City and I.O. (formerly ImprovOlympic).[citation needed]

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) performs at Symphony Center, and is recognized as one of the best orchestras in the world.[204] Also performing regularly at Symphony Center is the Chicago Sinfonietta, a more diverse and multicultural counterpart to the CSO. In the summer, many outdoor concerts are given in Grant Park and Millennium Park. Ravinia Festival, located 25 miles (40 km) north of Chicago, is the summer home of the CSO, and is a favorite destination for many Chicagoans. 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,[205] and presents operas in Lithuanian.

The Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Festival Ballet perform in various venues, including the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Chicago has several other contemporary and jazz dance troupes, such as the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Chicago Dance Crash.

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 (a popular form of electronic dance music) and industrial music, and is the site of an influential hip hop scene. In the 1980s and 90s, the city was the global center for house and industrial music, two forms of music created in Chicago, as well as being popular for alternative rock, punk, and new wave. The city has been a center 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 the Pitchfork Music Festival.[citation needed] Lollapalooza originated in Chicago in 1991 and at first travelled to many cities, but as of 2005 its home has been Chicago. 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. Henry Darger is one of the most celebrated figures of outsider art.

Tourism

In 2014, Chicago attracted 50.17 million domestic leisure travelers, 11.09 million domestic business travelers and 1.308 million overseas visitors. These visitors contributed more than US$13.7 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 2017 study by Walk Score ranked Chicago the sixth-most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States. Most conventions are held at McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field. Navy Pier, located just east of Streeterville, is 3,000 ft (910 m) long and houses retail stores, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls and auditoriums. Chicago was the first city in the world to ever erect a ferris wheel. The Willis Tower (formerly named Sears Tower) is a popular destination for tourists.

Museums

Among the city’s museums are 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’s Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, West Asia & North Africa has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. Other museums and galleries in Chicago include 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.

Cuisine

Chicago lays claim to a large number of regional specialties that 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. Certain Chicago pizza favorites include Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s.

The Chicago-style hot dog, typically an all-beef hot dog, is loaded with an array of toppings that often includes pickle relish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and topped off with celery salt on a poppy seed bun. Enthusiasts of the Chicago-style hot dog frown upon the use of ketchup as a garnish, but may prefer to add giardiniera.

A distinctly Chicago sandwich, the Italian beef sandwich is thinly sliced beef 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. The Maxwell Street Polish is a grilled or deep-fried kielbasa—on a hot dog roll, topped with grilled onions, yellow mustard, and hot sport peppers.

Chicken Vesuvio is roasted bone-in chicken cooked in oil and garlic next to garlicky oven-roasted potato wedges and a sprinkling of green peas. The Puerto Rican-influenced jibarito is a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread. The mother-in-law is a tamale topped with chili and served on a hot dog bun. 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. Annual festivals feature various Chicago signature dishes, such as Taste of Chicago and the Chicago Food Truck Festival.

Transportation

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.

The city of Chicago has a higher than average percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 26.5 percent of Chicago households were without a car, and increased slightly to 27.5 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Chicago averaged 1.12 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.

Expressways

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 the entire state of Illinois.[294]
Transit systems
Chicago Union Station, opened in 1925, is the third-busiest passenger rail terminal in the United States.

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 Chicago “L” or just “L” (short 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).

Passenger rail

Amtrak train on the Empire Builder route departs Chicago from Union Station.

Amtrak long distance and commuter rail services originate from Union Station.[296] Chicago is one of the largest hubs of passenger rail service in the nation.[297] The services terminate in the San Francisco area, Washington, D.C., New York City, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, Quincy, St. Louis, Carbondale, Boston, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Pontiac, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. Future services will terminate at Rockford and Moline. 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 never completed.
Bicycle and scooter sharing systems

In July 2013, the bicycle-sharing system Divvy was launched with 750 bikes and 75 docking stations. It is operated by Lyft for the Chicago Department of Transportation.[299] As of July 2019, Divvy operated 5800 bicycles at 608 stations, covering almost all of the city, excluding Pullman, Rosedale, Beverly, Belmont Cragin and Edison Park.

In May 2019, The City of Chicago announced its Chicago’s Electric Shared Scooter Pilot Program, scheduled to run from June 15 to October 15. The program started on June 15 with 10 different scooter companies, including scooter sharing market leaders Bird, Jump, Lime and Lyft. Each company was allowed to bring 250 electric scooters, although both Bird and Lime claimed that they experienced a higher demand for their scooters. The program ended on October 15, with nearly 800,000 rides taken.
Freight rail

Chicago is the largest hub in the railroad industry. 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).According to U.S. Department of Transportation, the volume of imported and exported goods transported via rail to, from, or through Chicago is forecast to increase nearly 150 percent between 2010 and 2040. CREATE, the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program, comprises about 70 programs, including crossovers, overpasses and underpasses, that intend to significantly improve the speed of freight movements in the Chicago area.

Airports

Chicago is served by O’Hare International Airport, the world’s busiest airport measured by airline operations,[310] 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.[311] 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 alternative Chicago area airports, however they do not offer as many commercial flights as O’Hare and Midway. In recent years the state of Illinois has been leaning towards building an entirely new airport in the Illinois suburbs of Chicago.[312] The City of Chicago is the world headquarters for United Airlines, the world’s third-largest airline.

Port authority

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 km2) of warehouses and facilities on Lake Michigan with over 780,000 square meters (8,400,000 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 (310,000 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.

Utilities

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 began installing wind turbines on government buildings to promote 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 recyclable refuse from landfills. Because of low participation in the blue bag programs, the city began a pilot program for blue bin recycling like other cities. This proved successful and blue bins were rolled out across the city.[318]

Health systems

Prentice Women’s Hospital on the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Downtown Campus

The Illinois Medical District is on the Near West Side. It includes Rush University Medical Center, ranked as the second best hospital in the Chicago metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report for 2014–16, the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, Jesse Brown VA Hospital, and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation.

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 2017 the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly named 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 second 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, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American College of Surgeons, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Hospital Association and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association are all based in Chicago.

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