Chicago is located in the northeastern corner of Illinois, bordered by the state of Wisconsin to the north, the state of Indiana to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east. Chicago is definitely worth visiting with bold architecture, an iconic skyline, and renowned museums.
In this article, you will learn what Chicago is famous for, what tours take and museums to visit, which parks are worth visiting, what foods to try, as well as some strange Chicago laws and unique “firsts” that put Chicago on the map.
Dive in and take a look at all of the intriguing and wonderful things this Illinois city has to offer and get ready to play tourist in the famous Windy City.
What Is Chicago Famous For?
Food is central to Chicago’s fame with delightful edible treats such as deep dish pizza, red hot dogs served on a poppyseed bun, and Maxwell Street Polish sausages. One of Chicago’s shining eras occurred in the 1920s with the popularity of jazz music and infamous gangsters such as Al Capone.
More than anything though, Chicago is renowned for its stunning architecture such as that displayed by the Sears Tower. Chicago also has a plethora of museums housing fantastic art collections and historical memorabilia.
What Tours of Chicago Can I Take?
There are numerous tours of the Windy City which help you get acquainted with the unique culture and atmosphere of Illinois’ most popular place to be. You can take a walking tour to admire the architecture, spend time by the river or hop on a Segway for a more motorized experience.
Riverboats will take you through the heart of the city to experience its legendary buildings. Perhaps you want a taste of Chicago’s infamous history by going on a crime tour. Or maybe you’re in the mood to get spooked by one of Chicago’s haunted walking tours instead.
Why choose though, when you can do both on the gangsters and ghost tour of the Windy City.
What Museums Does Chicago Have?
There’s a museum for everyone in Chicago from the Richard H. Driehaus Museum and Ed Paschke Art Center for the art enthusiast to the Wndr Museum and The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for the science geek.
Chicago features museums that highlight a multitude of different cultures such as the Oriental Institute Museum, Swedish American Museum, Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, and the Chinese American Museum of Chicago.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try checking out some of the more specialized museums like the United States Pizza Museum, the Fire Museum of Chicago, or the International Museum of Surgical Science.
What Parks Are There to Visit in Chicago?
Despite being a big city, Chicago has a lot of dedicated green spaces with some lovely parks to wander through, some of which feature famous monuments and stunning art pieces.
Millennium Park is home to the famously photographed sculpture Cloud Gate where you can pose for a selfie in front of the giant mirrored art structure. Maggie Daley Park has a wonderful playground that any kid will enjoy playing on for hours.
If you’re looking for a park that also has memorials and dedicated historical landmarks, try checking out Gold Star Families Park and Memorial, Millennium Monument, Ping Tom Memorial Park, and Jackson Park.
For beautiful gardens and peaceful scenery, these Chicago parks are the places you want to visit: Humboldt Park, Oz Park, Washington Square Park, and Palmisano Park.
What Signature Chicago Foods Should I Try?
Chicago is famous for its incredible food and is home to more than one unique culinary concoction. Number one on your list of Chicago foods to try is the Chicago style hot dog complete with a red hot dog in a poppy seed bun topped with mustard, pickles, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
Chicago’s deep dish pizza, where the toppings are piled underneath the tomato sauce in a thick layer of yummy goodness, is another staple of Chicago eats. For snacks, you can grab a mixture of caramel and cheesy homemade popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops, ice cream from The Original Rainbow Cone, or the original brownie from Palmer House.
What Are Some Strange Chicago Laws?
In Chicago, it is illegal to buy a car on Sunday and until 1977, it was also against the law to purchase meat on weekends or after 6 PM on weekdays. Until 1984, every movie that was shown in a Chicago movie theater was censored and some films like Scarface were banned altogether.
Another strange law that went into effect just after the turn of the 21st century in 2006 banned foie gras from being served in restaurants. The legislators cited the mistreatment of the animals the food product came from as being the reason for the ban.
Is Chicago the Birthplace of Any Inventions?
Chicago is famous for a number of things, some of which include being the first to accomplish historical landmarks. The first skyscraper was built in Chicago at only ten stories tall for the Chicago Home Insurance Company.
Daniel Hale Williams performed the country’s first open heart surgery in Chicago in 1983. Another astounding scientific accomplishment includes the splitting of the atom in 1942 at the University of Chicago.
Chicago was the first city to host a televised presidential debate in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Perhaps the best of Chicago’s “firsts” is the invention of the brownie at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Some other notable Chicago inventions include the Twinkie and spray paint. Chicago is also home to the first full color television station as well as the first established blood bank in the United States.
In a city of “firsts”, Chicago is the only place in the world to play host to a backward flowing river. The Chicago River which runs through the heart of the Windy City was engineered to flow away from Lake Michigan in order to avoid depositing the city’s sewage material into the otherwise pristine water body.