Chicago, the third-most populous city in the USA and one of the most important business centers in the world, was born out of the ashes of the conquest of the west in 1837, and now is an international hub for commerce, industry, and technology.
In 2016, Chicago welcomed more than 54 million visitors from all over the world, which made it one of the top visited cities in the world, with sights and attractions such as the Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Willis (Sears) Tower, and the Lincoln Park Zoo, along with its rich culture treasure chest, including visual arts, novels, improvisational comedy, and jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel and house music.
Still, Chicago has unearthed treasures few visitors know about. But Segway’s guides do, and are happy to share with you 8 things about Chicago you did not know about!
- Chicago's Western Avenue is the world's longest continuous street, at almost 24 miles. A truly spectacular example of an art deco style streetscape, it also encompasses the South Western Avenue Improvement, preserving street overpasses, railroad viaducts, and even lampposts from another era, when construction of this kind carried a unique aesthetic value.
- Chicago is home to the world's largest free outdoor food festival, the Taste of Chicago. Almost 40 years ago, a group of restaurateurs approached the Mayor of Chicago with the idea of a food festival on the Fourth of July. The Taste of Chicago was an immediate success and has since become the king of food festivals. Usually held at Grant Park, it is one of the largest tourist attractions in the USA and, what’s best, it is a free-admission festival!
- The Chicago Public Library was created directly from the ashes of the great Chicago Fire in 1871. In the aftermath of this destructive event, Burgess and Hughes drew up a plan that involved a huge donation of books from England to provide the basis for a free library to the destroyed city. The Chicago Public Library was created directly from the ashes of the great Chicago Fire. Donors included Queen Victoria, Benjamin Disraeli, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and John Stuart Mill.
- Italian immigrants in Chicago invented the deep-dish pizza. Its crust is very deep, creating a very thick pizza layer resembling a pie. Baked in a round, steel pan the pizza dough usually contains cornmeal, semolina, or food coloring, giving the crust a distinctly yellowish tone.
- You can see four different USA states from the top of the Willis Tower, namely Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Better known as the Sears Tower, it is a 108-story, skyscraper, of almost 450 meters’ height, completed in 1973.
- The four stars on the Chicago flag stand for Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition. Fort Dearborn was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 but has played an important role in Chicago’s troubled history. The World's Columbian Exposition was a world's fair held in 1893 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World and was an influential social and cultural event with a profound effect on architecture, sanitation, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism. The Century of Progress International Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago, to celebrate the city's centennial.
- In 1895, Chicago hosted the first automobile race ever seen in the United States. The Duryea brothers, who created the first gasoline-powered "horseless-carriage" in 1893 (achieving a top speed of 7.5 mph!) developed a second car with a two-cylinder engine a couple of years later, and drove it in America's first automobile race on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1895, along with 2 electric cars and 3 gasoline-powered Benz machines imported from Germany. The race spanned for 54 miles, from downtown Chicago to Evanston and back.
- The first Rotary Club in America was founded in Chicago. Rotary International, an international service organization, aiming at bringing together business and professional leaders for humanitarian purposes, is a non-political organization numbering almost 35,000 member clubs worldwide.