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The Windy City is the largest city in Illinois and the third largest in the whole US with the metropolitan area across three states being more than 9.5million.Variously known as the Second City (an allusion to the fact that it is second in importance in the nation to New York), the Windy City (not as many believe because of the actual ‘wind’ that besets the city but rather boastful 19th century Chicagoan politicians) and the City that Works (the double meaning also being a nod to the city’s blue collar credentials), Chicago is an unpretentious place but is still recognised throughout the world.

 

"Officially founded in 1833 near a portage of the Great Lakes (it stands on Lake Michigan) and the Mississippi it became, and still is, a major transport hub within the US. Nowadays Chicago is also one of the world’s pre-eminent financial centres and attracts more than 40 million visitors annually who come to take advantage of the area’s natural resources such as the Lake upon which it stands."

Chicago is also famed for being the birthplace of the skyscraper. After the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871 which destroyed nearly a third of the city including the business district, there was rapid growth and rebuilding in Chicago. This lead to ambitious building projects such as the steel-skeleton skyscraper back in 1885. Industry also expanded and with it jobs which encouraged large numbers of migrant workers from the South of the US, many of them African American. This Great Migration is what led to another of Chicago’s claims to fame, being a world centre for jazz.

Click here for our recommended range of travel guides for Chicago.

 

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