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Chicago is the county seat of Cook County , the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area , which is often referred to as "Chicagoland. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan , Chicago was incorporated as a city in near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. Chicago is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

Chicago welcomed a record 58 million domestic and international visitors in making it the second most visited city in the nation after New York. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, literature, film, theater, comedy especially improvisational comedy , food, and music, particularly jazz , blues , soul , hip-hop , gospel , [24] and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago , Northwestern University , and the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities.

Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues , including two Major League Baseball teams. The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the indigenous Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa for a wild relative of the onion , known to botanists as Allium tricoccum and known more commonly as ramps. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around in a memoir.

The city has had several nicknames throughout its history such as the Windy City , Chi-Town, Second City, and the City of the Big Shoulders, referring to its numerous towers and skyscrapers. In the midth century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi , who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples.

Du Sable was of African and French descent and arrived in the s. In , following the Northwest Indian War , an area that was to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. The Potawatomi were forcibly removed from their land after the Treaty of Chicago in He established an extensive and prosperous trading settlement in what would become the city of Chicago. He sold his Chicago River property in and moved to St.

Charles , now in Missouri, where he was licensed to run a Missouri River ferry. Point du Sable's successful role in developing the Chicago River settlement was little recognized until the midth century. On August 12, , the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of about Receiver of Public Monies.

The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, , and for several decades was the world's fastest-growing city. As the site of the Chicago Portage , [37] the city became an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States. The canal allowed steamboats and sailing ships on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River. A flourishing economy brought residents from rural communities and immigrants from abroad. Manufacturing and retail and finance sectors became dominant, influencing the American economy.

In the s, Chicago gained national political prominence as the home of Senator Stephen Douglas , the champion of the Kansas—Nebraska Act and the "popular sovereignty" approach to the issue of the spread of slavery. He defeated Douglas in the general election, and this set the stage for the American Civil War. To accommodate rapid population growth and demand for better sanitation, the city improved its infrastructure. In February , Chicago's Common Council approved Chesbrough 's plan to build the United States' first comprehensive sewerage system.

While elevating Chicago, and at first improving the city's health, the untreated sewage and industrial waste now flowed into the Chicago River , and subsequently into Lake Michigan , polluting the city's primary freshwater source. The city responded by tunneling two miles 3. In , the problem of sewage contamination was largely resolved when the city completed a major engineering feat. It reversed the flow of the Chicago River so that the water flowed away from Lake Michigan rather than into it.

This project began with the construction and improvement of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and was completed with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that connects to the Illinois River , which flows into the Mississippi River. In , the Great Chicago Fire destroyed an area about 4 miles 6. These set a precedent for worldwide construction. The city has grown significantly in size and population by incorporating many neighboring townships between and , with the largest annexation happening in , with five townships joining the city, including the Hyde Park Township , which now comprises most of the South Side of Chicago and the far southeast of Chicago, and the Jefferson Township , which now makes up most of Chicago's Northwest Side.

Chicago's flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe and migrants from the Eastern United States. Germans , Irish , Poles , Swedes and Czechs made up nearly two-thirds of the foreign-born population by , whites were Labor conflicts followed the industrial boom and the rapid expansion of the labor pool, including the Haymarket affair on May 4, , and in the Pullman Strike.

Anarchist and socialist groups played prominent roles in creating very large and highly organized labor actions. During the s and s, Chicago attained national stature as the leader in the movement to improve public health. City, and later, state laws that upgraded standards for the medical profession and fought urban epidemics of cholera , smallpox , and yellow fever were both passed and enforced.

These laws became templates for public health reform in other cities and states. The city established many large, well-landscaped municipal parks , which also included public sanitation facilities. The chief advocate for improving public health in Chicago was Dr. Rauch established a plan for Chicago's park system in He created Lincoln Park by closing a cemetery filled with shallow graves, and in , in response to an outbreak of cholera he helped establish a new Chicago Board of Health.

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Ten years later, he became the secretary and then the president of the first Illinois State Board of Health, which carried out most of its activities in Chicago. In the s, Chicago became the nation's railroad center, and by over 20 railroads operated passenger service out of six different downtown terminals. The Exposition drew The term "midway" for a fair or carnival referred originally to the Midway Plaisance , a strip of park land that still runs through the University of Chicago campus and connects the Washington and Jackson Parks.

During World War I and the s there was a major expansion in industry. Between and , the African American population of Chicago increased dramatically, from 44, to , The ratification of the 18th amendment to the Constitution in made the production and sale including exportation of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. This ushered in the beginning of what is known as the Gangster Era, a time that roughly spans from until when Prohibition was repealed. Chicago was the first American city to have a homosexual-rights organization.

The organization, formed in , was called the Society for Human Rights. It produced the first American publication for homosexuals, Friendship and Freedom. Police and political pressure caused the organization to disband. The Great Depression brought unprecedented suffering to Chicago, in no small part due to the city's heavy reliance on heavy industry. The Republican political machine in Chicago was utterly destroyed by the economic crisis, and every mayor since has been a Democrat.

From to , the city witnessed a tax revolt, and the city was unable to meet payroll or provide relief efforts. Unemployed workers, relief recipients, and unpaid schoolteachers held huge demonstrations during the early years of the Great Depression. The fiscal crisis was resolved by , and at the same time, federal relief funding began to flow into Chicago and enabled the city to complete construction of Lake Shore Drive, landscape numerous parks, construct 30 new schools, and build a thoroughly modernized State Street Subway.

By the Workers Alliance of America begun organizing the poor, workers, the unemployed. In and , the city celebrated its centennial by hosting the Century of Progress International Exposition Worlds Fair. When general prosperity returned in , Chicago had an entrenched Democratic machine, a fully solvent city government, and a population that had enthusiastically shared mass culture and mass movements.

Over one-third of the workers in Chicago's manufacturing sector were unionized. Over 1, companies produced everything from field rations to parachutes to torpedoes, while new aircraft plants employed , in the construction of engines, aluminum sheeting, bombsights, and other components. The Great Migration, which had been on pause due to the Depression, resumed at an even faster pace in the second wave , as hundreds of thousands of blacks from the South arrived in the city to work in the steel mills, railroads, and shipping yards.

On December 2, , physicist Enrico Fermi conducted the world's first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. Daley , a Democrat , was elected in , in the era of machine politics. In , the city conducted its last major expansion when it annexed the land under O'Hare airport, including a small portion of DuPage County. By the s, white residents in several neighborhoods left the city for the suburban areas — in many American cities, a process known as white flight — as Blacks continued to move beyond the Black Belt.

While home loan discriminatory redlining against blacks continued, the real estate industry practiced what became known as blockbusting , completely changing the racial composition of whole neighborhoods. At its peak during the s, some , workers were employed in the steel industry in Chicago, but the steel crisis of the s and s reduced this number to just 28, in In , Martin Luther King Jr. Daley and the movement leaders. Two years later, the city hosted the tumultuous Democratic National Convention , which featured physical confrontations both inside and outside the convention hall, with anti-war protesters, journalists and bystanders being beaten by police.

She was notable for temporarily moving into the crime-ridden Cabrini-Green housing project and for leading Chicago's school system out of a financial crisis. In , Harold Washington became the first black mayor of Chicago. Washington's first term in office directed attention to poor and previously neglected minority neighborhoods. Daley , son of Richard J. Daley, was elected in His accomplishments included improvements to parks and creating incentives for sustainable development , as well as closing Meigs Field in the middle of the night and destroying the runways.

After successfully running for re-election five times, and becoming Chicago's longest-serving mayor, Richard M. Daley declined to run for a seventh term. In , a construction accident near the Kinzie Street Bridge produced a breach connecting the Chicago River to a tunnel below, which was part of an abandoned freight tunnel system extending throughout the downtown Loop district. On February 23, , former Illinois Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel won the mayoral election, after defeating challenges that he was not a Chicago resident and beating five rivals with 55 percent of the vote alone, [91] and was sworn in as Mayor on May 16, Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan.

It is the principal city in the Chicago metropolitan area , situated in the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region. Chicago rests on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage , connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds. The city lies beside huge freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow entirely or partially through Chicago. While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side.

The lake also provides another positive effect: When Chicago was founded in , most of the early building was around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks. The Chicago Loop is the central business district, but Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods.

Lake Shore Drive runs adjacent to a large portion of Chicago's waterfront. Most of the city's high-rise commercial and residential buildings are close to the waterfront. An informal name for the entire Chicago metropolitan area is "Chicagoland", which generally means the city and all its suburbs. The Chicago Tribune , which coined the term, includes the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County , eight nearby Illinois counties: Lake , Porter and LaPorte. Major sections of the city include the central business district, called The Loop , and the North, the South , and West Sides. The South Side contains most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago.

In the late s, sociologists at the University of Chicago subdivided the city into 77 distinct community areas , which can further be subdivided into over informally defined neighborhoods.

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Chicago's streets were laid out in a street grid that grew from the city's original townsite plat, which was bounded by Lake Michigan on the east, North Avenue on the north, Wood Street on the west, and 22nd Street on the south. As new additions to the city were platted, city ordinance required them to be laid out with eight streets to the mile in one direction and sixteen in the other direction about one street per meters in one direction and one street per meters in the other direction. The grid's regularity provided an efficient means of developing new real estate property.

A scattering of diagonal streets, many of them originally Native American trails, also cross the city Elston, Milwaukee, Ogden, Lincoln, etc. Many additional diagonal streets were recommended in the Plan of Chicago , but only the extension of Ogden Avenue was ever constructed. In , Chicago was ranked the sixth-most walkable large city in the United States. This helps to keep pedestrians on the sidewalk further away from the street traffic.

Chicago's Western Avenue is the longest continuous urban street in the world. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago's boulevards and parkways. The destruction caused by the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In , the first steel-framed high-rise building , the Home Insurance Building , rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era , [56] which would then be followed by many other cities around the world. Atwood, John Root, and Helmut Jahn. Industrial districts , such as some areas on the South Side , the areas along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal , and the Northwest Indiana area are clustered.

Chicago gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School , two movements in architecture. Large swaths of the city's residential areas away from the lake are characterized by brick bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. A popular tourist activity is to take an architecture boat tour along the Chicago River. Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art with donors establishing funding for such art as far back as Benjamin Ferguson's trust.

Some events which shaped the city's history have also been memorialized by art works, including the Great Northern Migration Saar and the centennial of statehood for Illinois. Finally, two fountains near the Loop also function as monumental works of art: Standing Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State a. There are preliminary plans to erect a 1: Dfa , and experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and often humid, with a July daily average high of Winters are cold and snowy, although the city typically sees less snow and rain in winter than that experienced on the East Coast ; blizzards do occur, as in Spring and autumn are mild, short seasons, typically with low humidity.

Dew point temperatures in the summer range from The proximity to Lake Michigan tends to keep the Chicago lakefront somewhat cooler in summer and less brutally cold in winter than areas away from the lake. The border with the Eastern Time Zone is located shortly to the east, used in Michigan and certain parts of Indiana.

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During its first hundred years, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. When founded in , fewer than people had settled on what was then the American frontier. By the time of its first census, seven years later, the population had reached over 4, At the end of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world, [] and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century.

Within sixty years of the Great Chicago Fire of , the population went from about , to over 3 million, [] and reached its highest ever recorded population of 3. Today, Chicago's South Side and the adjoining south suburbs constitute the largest black majority region in the entire United States.

Chicago's population declined in the latter half of the 20th century, from over 3. By the time of the official census count in , it was overtaken by Los Angeles as the United States' second largest city. The city has seen a rise in population for the census and is expected to have an increase for the census. As of the census , [] there were 2,, people with 1,, households living in Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Chicago is one of the United States' most densely populated major cities, and the largest city in the Great Lakes Megalopolis. The racial composition of the city was:. Chicago has a Hispanic or Latino population of Its members may belong to any race; According to the U.

According to the — American Community Survey, the ancestral groups having 10, or more persons in Chicago were: Persons identifying themselves as "Other groups" were classified at 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. The first two Parliament of the World's Religions in and were held in Chicago.

Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second-largest central business district in the United States. In , Chicago exchanges traded 4. Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area contain the third-largest labor pool in the United States with about 4. According to Site Selection magazine, the Chicago area has seen the most corporate headquarters relocation or expansion projects in the US for each of four consecutive years form to Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy.

Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International , Boeing , Abbott Laboratories , and the Healthcare division of General Electric. In the s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the s and s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded.

As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company , created global enterprises. Although the meatpacking industry currently plays a lesser role in the city's economy, Chicago continues to be a major transportation and distribution center. Lured by a combination of large business customers, federal research dollars, and a large hiring pool fed by the area's universities, Chicago is also the site of a growing number of web startup companies like CareerBuilder , Orbitz , Basecamp , Groupon , Feedburner , Grubhub and NowSecure. Chicago has been a hub of the Retail sector since its early development, with Montgomery Ward , Sears , and Marshall Field's.

Late in the 19th century, Chicago was part of the bicycle craze, with the Western Wheel Company, which introduced stamping to the production process and significantly reduced costs, [] while early in the 20th century, the city was part of the automobile revolution, hosting the Brass Era car builder Bugmobile, which was founded there in Chicago is a major world convention destination.

The city's main convention center is McCormick Place. With its four interconnected buildings, it is the largest convention center in the nation and third-largest in the world. The city's waterfront location and nightlife has attracted residents and tourists alike. Over a third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods from Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south.

Downtown is the center of Chicago's financial, cultural, governmental and commercial institutions and the site of Grant Park and many of the city's skyscrapers. Many of the city's financial institutions, such as the CBOT and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago , are located within a section of downtown called " The Loop ", which is an eight-block by five-block area of city streets that is encircled by elevated rail tracks.

The term "The Loop" is largely used by locals to refer to the entire downtown area as well. These areas contribute famous skyscrapers , abundant restaurants, shopping , museums , a stadium for the Chicago Bears , convention facilities , parkland , and beaches. The Chicago Pride Parade , held the last Sunday in June, is one of the world's largest with over a million people in attendance.

It also contains the University of Chicago , ranked one of the world's top ten universities, [] and the Museum of Science and Industry. Two of the city's largest parks are also located on this side of the city: Jackson Park , bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in , and is the site of the aforementioned museum; and slightly west sits Washington Park. The two parks themselves are connected by a wide strip of parkland called the Midway Plaisance , running adjacent to the University of Chicago. Adalbert's Church in Pilsen.

The city's distinctive accent, made famous by its use in classic films like The Blues Brothers and television programs like the Saturday Night Live skit " Bill Swerski's Superfans ", is an advanced form of Inland Northern American English. This dialect can also be found in other cities bordering the Great Lakes such as Cleveland , Milwaukee , Detroit , and Rochester, New York , and most prominently features a rearrangement of certain vowel sounds, such as the short 'a' sound as in "cat", which can sound more like "kyet" to outsiders.

The accent remains well associated with the city. Broadway In Chicago offers Broadway-style entertainment at five theaters: Polish language productions for Chicago's large Polish speaking population can be seen at the historic Gateway Theatre in Jefferson Park. Since , 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.

In the summer, many outdoor concerts are given in Grant Park and Millennium Park. 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 s 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 an epicenter for rave culture, since the s. A flourishing independent rock music culture brought forth Chicago indie. Annual festivals feature various acts, such as Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival. 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.

Henry Darger is one of the most celebrated figures of outsider art. Chicago contains a number of large, outdoor works by well-known artists.

Chicago also has a nationally televised Thanksgiving parade that occurs annually. The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is seen across the nation on WGN-TV and WGN America , featuring a variety of diverse acts from the community, marching bands from across the country, and is the only parade in the city to feature inflatable balloons every year.

More than neighborhood festivals are celebrated annually in Chicago, most during the warm summer months. As many as , people enjoy the traditions, entertainment, and cuisines of the respected neighborhoods. Some of the more famous festivals include:. In [update] , Chicago attracted The city is the United States' third-largest convention destination.

A study by Walk Score ranked Chicago the fourth-most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States. The historic Chicago Cultural Center , originally serving as the Chicago Public Library , now houses the city's Visitor Information Center, galleries and exhibit halls. The park also hosts the annual Taste of Chicago festival. Also, an outdoor restaurant transforms into an ice rink in the winter season.

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Two tall glass sculptures make up the Crown Fountain. The fountain's two towers display visual effects from LED images of Chicagoans' faces, along with water spouting from their lips. Behind the pavilion's stage is the Harris Theater for Music and Dance , an indoor venue for mid-sized performing arts companies, including the Chicago Opera Theater and Music of the Baroque. Dutch Wheels, a world renowned company that manufactures ferris wheels, was selected to design the new wheel.

It also has entertainment systems inside the gondolas as well as a climate controlled environment. On June 4, , the city officially opened the Museum Campus , a acre 4. Buckingham Fountain anchors the downtown park along the lakefront. The University of Chicago Oriental Institute has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts.

With an estimated completion date of , the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be housed at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park and include both the Obama presidential library and offices of the Obama Foundation. The Willis Tower formerly named Sears Tower is a popular destination for tourists. The Willis Tower has an observation deck open to tourists year round with high up views overlooking Chicago and Lake Michigan. The observation deck includes an enclosed glass balcony that extends 10 feet out on the side of the building. Tourists are able to look straight down. 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 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. 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. One the world's most decorated restaurants and a recipient of three Michelin stars, Alinea is located in Chicago. Well-known chefs who have had restaurants in Chicago include: In , Robb Report named Chicago the country's "most exceptional dining destination". Chicago literature finds its roots in the city's tradition of lucid, direct journalism, lending to a strong tradition of social realism.

In the Encyclopedia of Chicago , Northwestern University Professor Bill Savage describes Chicago fiction as prose which tries to " capture the essence of the city, its spaces and its people ". The challenge for early writers was that Chicago was a frontier outpost that transformed into a global metropolis in the span of two generations. Narrative fiction of that time, much of it in the style of "high-flown romance" and "genteel realism", needed a new approach to describe the urban social, political, and economic conditions of Chicago.

At least, three short periods in the history of Chicago have had a lasting influence on American Literature. What would become the influential Poetry magazine was founded in by Harriet Monroe , who was working as an art critic for the Chicago Tribune. Eliot 's first professionally published poem, " The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ", was first published by Poetry. The magazine was instrumental in launching the Imagist and Objectivist poetic movements. From the s through s, American poetry continued to evolve in Chicago. Additionally, Chicago is one of the six cities in the United States to have won championships in the four major professional leagues and, along with New York and Los Angeles, is one of three cities to have won soccer championships as well.

Chicago is the only city that has had more than one MLB franchise every year since the AL began in New York hosted only one between and early The two teams have faced each other in a World Series only once: The Cubs are the oldest Major League Baseball team to have never changed their city; [] they have played in Chicago since , and continuously so since due to the Great Chicago Fire.

They have played more games and have more wins than any other team in Major League baseball since They had not won their sport's title since , and had not participated in a World Series since , both records, until they beat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. The White Sox have played on the South Side continuously since , with all three of their home fields throughout the years being within blocks of one another. They have won three World Series titles , , and six American League pennants, including the first in The Sox are fifth in the American League in all-time wins, and sixth in pennants.

The other remaining charter franchise, the Chicago Cardinals , also started out in the city, but is now known as the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears have won more games in the history of the NFL than any other team, [] and only the Green Bay Packers , their longtime rivals, have won more championships. The Bears play their home games at Soldier Field. Soldier Field re-opened in after an extensive renovation. The Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cups , including in , , and Both the Bulls and the Blackhawks play at the United Center. The Fire have won one league title and four U. Open Cups , since their founding in Chicago will be home to a new USL team starting in They plan to play in a 20, seat stadium located in Lincoln Park.

They play home games at the Allstate Arena.

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The team was founded before the WNBA season began. The Chicago Marathon has been held each year since except for , when a half marathon was run in its place. When Chicago was incorporated in , it chose the motto Urbs in Horto , a Latin phrase which means "City in a Garden". There are 31 sand beaches , a plethora of museums, two world-class conservatories, and 50 nature areas. There is a historic boulevard system , [] a network of wide, tree-lined boulevards which connect a number of Chicago parks. It includes nineteen boulevards, eight parks, and six squares , along twenty-six miles of interconnected streets.

With berths for more than 6, boats, the Chicago Park District operates the nation's largest municipal harbor system. The wealth of greenspace afforded by Chicago's parks is further augmented by the Cook County Forest Preserves , a network of open spaces containing forest, prairie , wetland , streams, and lakes that are set aside as natural areas which lie along the city's outskirts, [] including both the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield.

The government of the City of Chicago is divided into executive and legislative branches. The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive, elected by general election for a term of four years, with no term limits. The current mayor is Rahm Emanuel. The mayor appoints commissioners and other officials who oversee the various departments. As well as the mayor, Chicago's clerk and treasurer are also elected citywide.

The City Council is the legislative branch and is made up of 50 aldermen, one elected from each ward in the city. The Chicago Police Department provides law enforcement and the Chicago Fire Department provides fire suppression and emergency medical services for the city and its residents. Civil and criminal law cases are heard in the Cook County Circuit Court of the State of Illinois court system, or in the Northern District of Illinois , in the federal system.

During much of the last half of the 19th century, Chicago's politics were dominated by a growing Democratic Party organization. During the s and s, Chicago had a powerful radical tradition with large and highly organized socialist, anarchist and labor organizations. Even before then, it was not unheard of for Republican presidential candidates to win handily in downstate Illinois, only to lose statewide due to large Democratic margins in Chicago.

The citizens of Chicago have not elected a Republican mayor since , when William Thompson was voted into office. The strength of the party in the city is partly a consequence of Illinois state politics, where the Republicans have come to represent rural and farm concerns while the Democrats support urban issues such as Chicago's public school funding. All eight of the city's representatives are Democrats; a Republican has only represented a significant portion of the city twice since , for one term each— Robert P. Hanrahan from to , and Michael Patrick Flanagan from to Machine politics persisted in Chicago after the decline of similar machines in other large U.

The independents finally gained control of city government in with the election of Harold Washington in office — From until May 16, , Chicago was under the leadership of its longest-serving mayor, Richard M. Daley , the son of Richard J. On May 16, , Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as the 55th mayor of Chicago. Because of the dominance of the Democratic Party in Chicago, the Democratic primary vote held in the spring is generally more significant than the general elections in November for U.

House and Illinois State seats. The aldermanic, mayoral, and other city offices are filled through nonpartisan elections with runoffs as needed. The Obamas' residence is located near the University of Chicago in Kenwood on the city's south side. Chicago had a murder rate of However, it was less than in many smaller American cities, including New Orleans , Newark , and Detroit , which had 53 murders per , residents in The year-end crime statistics showed there were murders in Chicago in compared with the year before, a Chicago had more homicides than any other city in in total but not on per capita basis, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The department also reported murders in Chicago for the year , a total that marked a According to reports in , "most of Chicago's violent crime comes from gangs trying to maintain control of drug-selling territories", [] and is specifically related to the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel , which by sought to control illicit drug distribution, against local street gangs such as the Vice Lords , Black P. Stones , Black Disciples , among others. Chicago's homicide tally remained low during , , and but rose to in , breaking for the first time since It was also nicknamed Chiraq by Chicago drill rappers.

At that time, the murder rate was historically low for Chicago. Louis , New Orleans , Detroit and Baltimore had the highest murder rate. In September , an Illinois state appellate court found that cities do not have an obligation under the Illinois Constitution to pay certain benefits if those benefits had included an expiration date under whichever negotiated agreement they were covered.

The Illinois Constitution prohibits governments from doing anything that could cause retirement benefits for government workers to be "diminished or impaired. Chicago Public Schools CPS is the governing body of the school district that contains over public elementary and high schools citywide, including several selective-admission magnet schools. There are eleven selective enrollment high schools in the Chicago Public Schools, [] designed to meet the needs of Chicago's most academically advanced students.

These schools offer a rigorous curriculum with mainly honors and Advanced Placement AP courses. Young Magnet High School , which was opened in , is ranked fourth. Chicago high school rankings are determined by the average test scores on state achievement tests. Chicago has a network of Lutheran schools , [] and several private schools are run by other denominations and faiths, such as the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in West Ridge. There are also the private Chicago Academy for the Arts , a high school focused on six different categories of the arts and the public Chicago High School for the Arts , a high school focused on five categories visual arts, theatre, musical theatre, dance, and music of the arts.

The Chicago Public Library system operates 79 public libraries, including the central library, two regional libraries, and numerous branches distributed throughout the city. Since the s, Chicago has been a world center of higher education and research with several universities. These institutions consistently rank among the top "National Universities" in the United States, as determined by U.

Top universities in Chicago are: Other notable schools include: William Rainey Harper , the first president of the University of Chicago, was instrumental in the creation of the junior college concept, establishing nearby Joliet Junior College as the first in the nation in The city also has two PBS member stations: Two major daily newspapers are published in Chicago: In addition, Chicago is the recent home of satirical national news outlet, The Onion , as well as its sister pop-culture publication, The A.

Dark of the Moon , Transformers: Age of Extinction , Transformers: Chicago has also been the setting for many popular television shows, including the situation comedies Perfect Strangers and its spinoff Family Matters , Married The city served as the venue for the medical dramas ER and Chicago Hope , as well as the fantasy drama series Early Edition and the — drama Prison Break. Discovery Channel films two shows in Chicago: Chicago has five 50, watt AM radio stations: Chicago is also home to a number of national radio shows, including Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont on Sunday evenings.

Chicago is also featured in a few video games, including Watch Dogs and Midtown Madness , a real-life, car-driving simulation game. Ireland including store hours with the best experience.

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