Like many an American city, Chicago began as a settlement on the far reaches of the frontier. Unlike most other American cities, Chicago’s explosive growth through migration and heavy industry turned it into one of the three most populous cities in the United States. But Chicago’s uniqueness isn’t one of numbers.

Chicago’s story is peopled with larger-than-life characters, including Al Capone and Martin Luther King, Jr. It is deeply shaded with suffering and violence. As with all true stories, it is complex, too nuanced for easy judgments.

During Prohibition, Chicago’s gangsters and bootleggers flouted the law and spilled a great deal of blood, usually each other’s. They at once terrified and captured the public imagination. The Great Depression brought Chicago more than its share of misery, as half of its industrial jobs evaporated in the wake of the economic crisis.

Yet Chicago and its millions of citizens survived and thrived, and every year, tourism and business bring millions more to the Windy City. Its architecture is so famous that one of the distinctive styles in which it was built is named after the city. Its museums are world-class; you can find three of the most noted on Museum Campus. From the Willis (formerly the Sears) Tower, visitors can see the city as a bird might. Navy Pier, which juts out off the shore of Lake Michigan, is one of the most famous attractions in the Midwest – and rightfully so. Another is Millennium Park. 

In Chicago, everything seems built on a grand scale. From its complicated history and tough-minded art to its monumental architecture and vivid nightlife, the city is often dazzling and always fascinating. 

Worth Checking Out

  • Navy Pier
  • Museum Campus
  • Willis (Sears) Tower
  • Millennium Park

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