What is Chicago, Illinois Known For? (18 Things It’s Famous For)

Chicago is a city in Illinois located in the Midwest of the United States of America. With roughly 2.7 million residents, it is the country’s 3rd most populous city, right behind New York City and Los Angeles. The city is part of the Cook and DuPage Counties of Illinois.

Chicago is known for its iconic architecture, food and music. It is also known for its vibrant culture and rich history. It is among the three biggest cities in the U.S. It is home to several professional sports teams. The city has more than enough activities to keep everyone entertained.

Chicago Skyline at the Willis Tower

The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is a skyscraper that once held the title of the world’s tallest building. However, since it was completed in 1973, many other skyscrapers have been built. It stands 1,450 feet tall. It is a popular tourist destination mainly because of the Skydeck on the 103rd floor. The deck offers stunning panoramic views of the city. There are also numerous shops and restaurants in the tower. It is a prime example of modern architectural design and a must-see for visitors to Chicago. 

Take a Stroll on the Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a public walkway along the main branch of the Chicago River. It is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It stretches from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street. The riverwalk offers great views of the city’s famous architecture. This includes Willis Tower and the Wrigley Building. Many locals and tourists take this scenic route for a stroll, jog, or bike commute. It is lined with benches, flowers, and greenery along the walkway. It features a variety of restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon, especially during summer.

Classics at the Art Institute of Chicago 

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in Illinois and the United States. It was founded in 1879 and is located in Chicago’s Grant Park. The museum is home to an impressive collection of art from around the world. This includes European, American, contemporary, and ancient paintings. In addition, it houses pieces from world-famous artists such as Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh. The museum also displays sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts. It also displays seasonal exhibits that change throughout the year, usually to support local or up-and-coming artists.

A Family Trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo is a 35-acre zoo home to over 1,100 animals worldwide. It is one of the oldest zoos in the country, having been founded in 1868. The zoo is known for its commitment to animal welfare. Many of its animals are involved in breeding programs for endangered species. The exhibits at the zoo include the Regenstein Center for African Apes, the Kovler Lion House, the Helen Brach Primate House, the Farm-in-the-Zoo, and the Nature Boardwalk. It also features educational programs and events, including behind-the-scenes tours, animal encounters, and keeper talks. 

Chicago’s Stinky Beginnings

The name Chicago is now synonymous with the great city, but its origin wasn’t something its first inhabitants were proud of. The name Chicago is a French derivative of the Native American word, shikaakwa. It is a relative of the onion, more commonly known as ramps. This pungent onion grew along the Chicago River. During earlier times, settlers would avoid living near the river because of the smell. Since then, the ramps have been removed, and now, properties by the river are the most sought-after real estate in the city.

Visit the Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is a public museum dedicated to studying astronomy and space science. It was founded in 1930 and is the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere. The planetarium features a variety of exhibits and shows that explore the latest discoveries in astronomy and the history of space exploration. Some exhibits include the Sky Theater, the Atwood Experience, the Space Visualization Laboratory, and the Definiti Theater. The planetarium also has several programs and events throughout the year, like stargazing events, sky shows, lectures, and workshops. 

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago-style deep-dish pizza isn’t your usual thin-crust pizza. Instead, its crust is a buttery, flaky pastry pressed into a deep dish pan. The toppings are layered in the following order: cheese, meat, vegetables, and a chunky tomato sauce spread on top. The finished product is a pizza with a crispy crust, gooey cheese, and a generous serving of toppings. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is a local delicacy and a must-try for visitors to the city. Some famous pizzerias that serve deep-dish pizza are Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East, and Pizzeria Uno. 

The Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum of Natural History was founded in 1893 and is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Its vast collection includes over 30 million specimens, including fossils, artifacts from ancient cultures, and natural specimens. Some of the most famous exhibits at the Field Museum include Sue, the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found, the Evolving Planet exhibit that covers 4 billion years of life on Earth, the Hall of Jades, and the Ancient Americas exhibit. The Field Museum also features a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities. 

Home of the Italian Beef and Chicago Hot Dog

Chicago is home to two sandwiches that locals are very proud of. The Italian Beef sandwich originated from the city’s Italian-American community. It’s made with thin slices of roast beef, slow-cooked in broth, then served on an Italian-style bread roll. It can be topped with cheese or peppers and dipped in a consommé. The Chicago Dog is a steamed all-beef hotdog on a poppy seed bun topped with yellow mustard, sport peppers, white onions, a dill pickle spear, and tomato slices. Locals take pride in their tomatoes, so visitors might want to refrain from asking for ketchup.

Explore the Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a public park that opened in 2004. It features several iconic attractions, such as the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain, the Cloud Gate sculpture, and the Lurie Garden. The park also offers a variety of amenities, including a large lawn, walking paths, a skate Park, and an ice-skating rink. It is also home to many cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts and art exhibitions. The park is also great for relaxing and enjoying the city’s skyline.

Architectural Boat Tour on the Chicago River

The architectural boat tour on the Chicago River is a popular tourist attraction that offers visitors a unique way to explore the city’s architecture. The tour takes place on a boat that travels along the Chicago River, providing a close-up view of many of the city’s most iconic buildings. Tour guides provide a detailed and informative commentary on the history and architecture of the buildings, including the Willis Tower, the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, and many other famous structures. It is a great way to learn about Chicago’s rich architectural heritage and to see the city from a different perspective. 

Walk Down the Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile, sometimes known as MagMile, is a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue running from the Chicago River to Oak Street. The area is known for its high-end boutiques, department stores, and luxury brands. It also features a wide variety of restaurants and cafes and popular tourist attractions such as the John Hancock Center, the Water Tower Place, and the American Girl Place. It is also home to several notable museums and cultural institutions, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago Cultural Center. 

Chicago Bulls or Blackhawks at the United Center

The United Center is an indoor sports arena in the Near West Side community. It is the home of the Chicago Bulls of the NBA and the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL. It was opened in 1994 and has a capacity of 20,917 for basketball games and 22,428 for hockey games. Watching the iconic entrance of the Chicago Bulls will surely be a treat for any tourist. It also hosts other events such as concerts, wrestling, and ice shows. 

Exotic Flowers in the Lincoln Park Conservatory

The Lincoln Park Conservatory is a Victorian-era greenhouse built in 1892 and is one of the oldest public conservatories in the United States. The conservatory houses a wide variety of exotic plants and flowers. It is open to the public year-round, and admission is free. Visitors can stroll through the different rooms, take in the lush greenery, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The conservatory also features a large pond and a koi fish exhibit. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some natural beauty. 

Chicago’s Downtown Theatre District

Chicago’s Downtown Theatre District is a vibrant cultural hub home to some of the city’s most iconic theatres, including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the CIBC Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, and the Auditorium Theatre. These theatres host productions such as Broadway shows, musicals, plays, and concerts. In addition, the district is also home to many smaller, off-Broadway-style theatres. With a rich history and a wide range of entertainment options, the Downtown Theatre District is a must-see destination for theatre lovers visiting Chicago. 

Trip to Wrigley Field to Watch the Chicago Cubs

Wrigley Field is the home field of the Chicago Cubs of the MLB. The stadium was built in 1914. It has a seating capacity of 41,649. It is known for its historic architecture, nostalgic atmosphere, ivy-covered walls, and hand-turned scoreboard. The stadium is also famous for its rooftop seating, where fans can watch the game while enjoying a view of the surrounding neighborhood. Wrigley Field is also home to several popular traditions, such as the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch and the famous Wrigley Field Marquee. 

Family Fun at the Navy Pier

The Chicago Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city and attracts millions of visitors each year. The pier features the iconic 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel and other rides. There are also several museums and exhibits, such as the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Polk Bros Park. It also offers seasonal events like the winter wonder fest, fireworks shows, and ice skating. It’s a great place to visit for families and people of all ages.

Relive Your Favorite Hollywood Classics

First-time visitors may find some areas in Chicago to be oddly familiar. This is because Chicago has been one of Hollywood’s favorite cities to film in due to its iconic architecture. Some famous movies filmed in the city include Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Blues Brothers, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Untouchables, Sixteen Candles, Spider-Man 2, and many more. Each tourist experience will mean a lot more for cinephiles. Whether it’s reliving youthful days with John Hughes classics, visiting iconic spots from a comic book or gangster movies, or not letting the moment pass by on the boat tour.