Go out on the Ledge, if you dare!
Take the Chicago challenge and step outside the tallest building in the
western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world! At 1,353 feet in
the air, the Ledges glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from Skydeck!
Are you brave enough to do it!? Just
a couple of inches of glass between you and the ground almost 1500 feet
marquee assets such as America's tallest building, outstanding restaurants,
theaters, and museums, Chicago is clearly among the premier visitor destinations
in the world.
From the bottom of the sea to the tops of the stars, Chicago has it all
on display. Start your adventures on the famous Museum Campus along Lake
Michigan. Three world-renowned museums call it home: The Adler Planetarium
& Astronomy Museum, The Field Museum, and The Shedd Aquarium, and all
are filled with opportunities to stretch your mind.
art lovers, the Art Institute of Chicago offers masterpieces from ancient
to ultra-modern, and our cultural institutions cover everything from famous
historical events to current GLBT issues. We celebrate African American
heritage, Jewish tradition, Mexican art, Lithuanian culture, and more.
We even have museum dedicated to surgical science.
The City of Chicago covers an area of 60,000 hectares and sits 176 meters
(578 feet) above sea level on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.
At 190 km wide and 495 km long, its the 5th largest body of fresh water
in the world. The city is traversed by the Chicago and Calumet rivers.
Chicago's extensive parklands, including 3,000 hectares of city parks
attract an estimated 86 million visitors annually.
a multicultural city that thrives on the harmony and diversity of its
neighborhoods, Chicago today embodies the values of America's heartland-integrity,
hard work and community and reflects the ideals in the social fabric of
its 77 distinct neighborhoods.
is recognized across the United States as a very passionate sports town.
is a leader in reforming public schools, enhancing public safety and security
initiatives, providing affordable housing in attractive and economically
sound communities, ensuring accessibility for all and fostering, social,
economic and environmental sustainability.
"It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with
Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them."
- Mark Twain, 1883
was only 46 years old when Mark Twain wrote those words, but it had already
grown more than 100-fold, from a small trading post at the mouth of the
Chicago River into one of the nations largest cities, and it wasnt
about to stop. Over the next 20 years, it would quadruple in population,
amazing the rest of the world with its ability to repeatedly reinvent
it still hasnt stopped. Today, Chicago has become a global city,
a thriving center of international trade and commerce, and a place where
people of every nationality come to pursue the American dream.
Chicagos first permanent resident was a trader named Jean Baptiste
Point du Sable, a free black man apparently from Haiti, who came here
in the late 1770s. In 1795, the U.S. government built Fort Dearborn at
what is now the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive (look for the
bronze markers in the pavement). It was burned to the ground by Native
Americans in 1812, rebuilt and demolished in 1857.
Incorporated as a city in 1837, Chicago was ideally situated to take advantage
of the trading possibilities created by the nations westward expansion.
The completion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1848 created a
water link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, but the
canal was soon rendered obsolete by railroads. Today, 50 percent of U.S.
rail freight continues to pass through Chicago, even as the city has become
the nations busiest aviation center, thanks to OHare and Midway
Great Fire of 1871
As Chicago grew, its residents took heroic measures to keep pace. In the
1850s, they raised many of the streets five to eight feet to install a
sewer system and then raised the buildings, as well. Unfortunately,
the buildings, streets and sidewalks were made of wood, and most of them
burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The Chicago Fire
Department training academy at 558 W. DeKoven St. is on the site of the
OLeary property where the fire began. The Chicago Water Tower and
Pumping Station at Michigan and Chicago avenues are among the few buildings
to have survived the fire.
Chicago rebuilt quickly. Much of the debris was dumped into Lake Michigan
as landfill, forming the underpinnings for what is now Grant Park, Millennium
Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Only 22 years later, Chicago celebrated
its comeback by holding the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893,
with its memorable White City. One of the Exposition buildings
was rebuilt to become the Museum of Science and Industry. Chicago refused
to be discouraged even by the Great Depression. In 1933 and 1934, the
city held an equally successful Century of Progress Exposition on Northerly
In the half-century following the Great Fire, waves of immigrants came
to Chicago to take jobs in the factories and meatpacking plants. Many
poor workers and their families found help in settlement houses operated
by Jane Addams and her followers. Her Hull House Museum is located at
800 S. Halsted St.
Throughout their citys history, Chicagoans have demonstrated their
ingenuity in matters large and small
The nations first skyscraper, the 10-story, steel-framed
Home Insurance Building, was built in 1884 at LaSalle and Adams streets
and demolished in 1931.
When residents were threatened by waterborne illnesses from sewage
flowing into Lake Michigan, they reversed the Chicago River in 1900 to
make it flow toward the Mississippi.
Start of the "Historic Route 66" which begins at Grant
Park on Adams Street in the front of the Art Institute of Chicago.
worlds largest commercial office building is Merchandise Mart
located at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza
worlds largest illuminated fountain is Buckingham Fountain located
in Grant Park
worlds largest public library is Harold Washington Library Center
located at 400 S. State St.
Lincoln Park Zoo, one of only three free major zoos in the country,
is the countrys oldest public zoo with an attendance of three
worlds tallest masonry building is Monadnock Block located at
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
worlds largest free-admission food festival is the Taste of Chicago
located in Grant Park
worlds largest convention facility is McCormick Place located
at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive
worlds highest steeple above ground is at the United Methodist
Church, 77 W. Washington St.
worlds busiest futures exchange is the Chicago Board of Trade
located at 141 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago Park District has the nations largest municipal harbor
worlds largest stand-alone theater is the Uptown Theatre located
at 4810 N. Broadway
worlds largest parochial school system is the Archdiocese of Chicago
worlds largest water filtration plant is the Jardine Water Purification
Plant located at 600 E. Grand Ave.
produced the first Roller skates in 1884
produced the first Elevated railway in 1892
produced the first Cracker Jacks in 1893
produced the first Zipper in 1896
produced the first Steel-framed skyscraper in 1885
produced the first Window envelope in 1902
was incorporated as a city in 1837.
"Historic Route 66" begins in Chicago at Grant Park on Adams
Street in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.
is home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, while the rest of the metropolitan
area hosts an additional 21 Fortune 500 companies.
Place, Chicagos premier convention center, offers the largest
amount of exhibition space in North America (2.2 million square feet).
first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago at the 1893 World's Columbian
Exposition. Today, Navy Pier is home to a 15-story Ferris wheel, modeled
after the original one.
game of 16-inch softball, which is played without gloves, was invented
1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative
engineering project reversing the flow of the Chicago River so
that it emptied into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan.
was one of the first and largest municipalities to require public art
as part of the renovation or construction of municipal buildings, with
the passage of the Percentage-for-Arts Ordinance in 1978.
Chicago Cultural Center is the first free municipal cultural center
in the U.S. and home to the worlds largest stained glass Tiffany
it opened in 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, with approximately
6.5 million books, was the worlds largest municipal library.
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the Western
Hemisphere at 110 stories high. Its elevators are among the fastest
in the world operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute.
first steel rail road in the United States was produced here in 1865.
first mail-order business, Montgomery Ward & Co., was established
here in 1872.
worlds first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built
here in 1885.
first televised U.S. presidential candidates debate was broadcast
from Chicagos CBS Studios on September 26, 1960, between John
Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon.
1,450-foot Sears Tower, completed in 1974, is the tallest building in
North America and the third tallest in the world.
sole female mayor, Jane M. Byrne, served from 1979 to 1983, and was
succeeded by our first African-American mayor, Harold Washington, who
served until his death in 1987. Richard M. Daley (1989 2011)
became the longest serving mayor in December of 2010 surpassing his
father Richard J. Daleys (1955-1976) record of 22 years in office.
Richard M. Daley reformed education and public housing, strengthened
community policing and overseen construction of billions of dollars
of schools, libraries, police stations and infrastructure, as well as
the renovation of Soldier Field and the creation of Millennium Park.
was the birthplace of:
refrigerated rail car (Swift)
retailing (Sears and Montgomery Ward)
car radio (Motorola)
TV remote control (Zenith)
first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, ushering in the Atomic
Age, took place at the University of Chicago in 1942. The spot is marked
by a Henry Moore sculpture on Ellis Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.