If you’re looking for a city that has it all, look no further than Chicago. The Windy City is a cultural, architectural, and culinary powerhouse that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re into art, history, nature, or sports, you’ll find plenty of attractions to keep you entertained and amazed. Here are some of the top destination spots in Chicago that you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.
– Art Institute of Chicago: This world-class museum houses more than 300,000 artworks that span centuries and continents. You can admire masterpieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, and many more, as well as explore the stunning Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano. Don’t miss the iconic paintings of A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Seurat, Nighthawks by Hopper, and American Gothic by Wood.
– Lincoln Park Zoo: This is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in the country, and it’s free to enter. You can see over 1,000 animals from around the world, including lions, bears, apes, and red pandas. The zoo also features beautiful gardens, a carousel, a farm-in-the-zoo, and a nature boardwalk.
– 360 CHICAGO: For a breathtaking view of the city and beyond, head to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center and step into 360 CHICAGO. This observation deck offers 360-degree panoramas of the skyline, Lake Michigan, and four neighboring states. You can also experience TILT, a thrilling attraction that tilts you over the edge of the building for a unique perspective.
– Garfield Park Conservatory: This is one of the largest and most impressive conservatories in the nation, covering 12 acres of indoor and outdoor gardens. You can wander through tropical rainforests, desert landscapes, fern rooms, and flower shows, and marvel at the variety of plants and flowers. The conservatory also hosts events, workshops, and exhibitions throughout the year.
– The Field Museum: This is one of the most renowned natural history museums in the world, with over 40 million specimens and artifacts on display. You can learn about dinosaurs, mummies, fossils, gems, cultures, and more. Don’t miss Sue, the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, or Máximo, the largest dinosaur ever discovered.
The Origins of Chicago
The name “Chicago” comes from a French rendering of the Native American word “shikaakwa”, which means “wild onion” or “wild garlic”.
The first permanent non-indigenous settler in the area was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a free black man from Haiti who arrived in the 1770s via the Mississippi River from New Orleans with his Native American wife. He built a house and a trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River, where he lived until 1800 . In 1803, the U.S. government built Fort Dearborn at what is now the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, but it was destroyed in 1812 following the Battle of Fort Dearborn, rebuilt in 1816, and permanently demolished in 1857 .
The Growth of the City
Chicago was incorporated as a town in 1833 and as a city in 1837, when its population reached 4,000 . It soon became a major transportation hub, thanks to its strategic location at the intersection of several waterways and railroads. The completion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1848 created a water link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, but it was soon rendered obsolete by railroads . Today, 50 percent of U.S. rail freight continues to pass through Chicago, even as the city has become the nation’s busiest aviation center, thanks to O’Hare and Midway International airports .
Chicago also attracted waves of immigrants from Europe and migrants from other parts of the U.S., especially from the South. They came to work in the city’s booming industries, such as meatpacking, steelmaking, lumber, publishing, retail, and finance. Some of the most famous companies that were founded or headquartered in Chicago include Sears, Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field’s, Swift & Company, Armour & Company, Pullman Company, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Quaker Oats Company, Wrigley Company, Walgreens, Boeing, McDonald’s, and Motorola.