Culture

Chicago has a major theater scene, and is the birthplace of modern improvisational comedy. The city is home to two renowned comedy troupes: The Second City and I.O. (formerly known as ImprovOlympic). Renowned Chicago theater companies include the Steppenwolf Theatre Company (on the city's north side), the Goodman Theatre, and the Victory Gardens Theatre. Other theatres, from nearly 100 storefront performance spaces such as the Strawdog Theatre Company in the Lakeview area to landmark downtown houses such as the Chicago Theatre, present a variety of plays and musicals. The city is home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet, and several modern and jazz dance troupes.

Chicago is known for its Chicago blues, Chicago soul, Jazz, and Gospel. This strong tradition of music and musical innovation have continued into contemporary styles. The city is the birthplace of the House style of music, and is the site of an influential Hip-Hop scene. In the 1980s the city was a center for industrial, punk and new wave (spawning the famous Wax Trax! label); this influence continued into the alternative scene of the 1990s. There is a flourishing independent rock scene, with multiple festivals featuring various acts each year (Lollapalooza, the Intonation Music Festival and Pitchfork Music Festival being the most prominent).

Chicago has several signature foods which reflect the city's ethnic and working-class roots. These include the deep-dish pizza and the Chicago hot dog, which is almost always made of Vienna Beef and loaded with mustard, chopped onion, sliced tomato, pickle relish, celery salt, sport peppers, and a dill pickle spear. However, putting ketchup on a Chicago hot dog is often taken as an insult. Chicago is also known for Italian Beef sandwiches and the Maxwell Street Polish (always served topped with grilled onions and mustard). The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These include "Greektown" on South Halsted, "Little Italy" on Taylor Street, just west of Halsted, "Chinatown" on the near South Side, and South Asian on Devon Avenue.

In 2006, Chicago placed 10th on the UBS list of the world's richest cities.

Sites of interest

In 1998, the city officially opened the Museum Campus, a 10-acre (4-hectare) lakefront park surrounding three of the city's main museums: the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus was constructed on the southern section of Grant Park. Grant Park is also home to Chicago's other major downtown museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, which is partnered with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, is housed in the only in-place surviving building from the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Navy Pier, a 3000-foot (900 m) pier housing restaurants, shops, museums, exhibition halls, auditoriums, and a 150-foot-tall (45 m) Ferris wheel, is located north of Grant Park on the lakefront.

The Chicago Cultural Center, built in 1897 as Chicago's first permanent public library, now houses the city's Visitor Information Center, galleries, and exhibit halls. The ceiling of Preston Bradley Hall includes a 38-foot (11 m) Tiffany glass dome. The Oriental Institute, part of the University of Chicago, has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts, while the Freedom Museum is dedicated to exploring and explaining the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Other museums and galleries in Chicago are the Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African-American History, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Millenium Park is a monument that was intended to be finished at the turn of the 21st century, though it was delayed for several years. The park includes the modern sculpture Cloud Gate (known locally as The Bean). When one faces The Bean and Lake Michigan, the image of the Chicago skyline is reflected back to viewers. It contains an outdoor restaurant, which is transformed into an ice skating rink in the winter, and two large glass sculptures, known as the Plensa Fountains, that have both contain an LED display, showing images of various Chicagoans' faces, and then spouting water (as if the faces were spitting).

 

Media

Chicago is the third-largest market in the U.S. (after New York City and Los Angeles). All of the major American television networks have subsidiaries in Chicago. WGN-TV, which is owned by the Tribune Company, is carried (with some programming differences) as "Superstation WGN" on cable nation-wide. The city is also the home of the Oprah Winfrey Show, while Chicago Public Radio produces programs such as PRI's This American Life and NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. Other television news programs include ABC 7, NBC 5, CBS 2, FOX 32, WGN 9, and CLTV

There are two major daily newspapers published in Chicago: the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, with the former having the larger circulation. There are also several regional and special-interest newspapers such as the Daily Southtown, the Chicago Defender, the Chicago Free Press, the Newcity News, the Daily Herald, StreetWise, Windy City Times, The Gazette, and the Chicago Reader.

 

Sports

Chicago is the home to 16 professional sports teams, and is one of three U.S. cities that has two Major League Baseball teams. The Chicago Cubs of the National League play at Wrigley Field, which is located in the north side neighborhood of Lakeview, commonly referred to as "Wrigleyville." The Chicago White Sox of the American League won the World Series championship in 2005, their first since 1917. U.S. Cellular Field, once called New Comiskey Park and now referred to as "The Cell" by many locals unhappy with the corporate sponsor-ship, is located on the city's south side.

The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association is one of the world's most recognized basketball teams. One of the team's most well-known players, Michael Jordan, led the Bulls to six NBA championships in eight seasons in the 1990s. The Chicago Bears of the National Football League play at Soldier Field. The Chicago Fire, members of Major League Soccer, won one league and three US Open Cups since 1997. After eight years at Soldier Field, they recently moved to the new Toyota Park in Bridgeview at 71st and Harlem Avenue during the summer of 2006. Other major league sports teams in Chicago include the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Sky of the Women's National Basketball Association

The city has offered an official Olympic bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and is considered a strong contender among the three candidate American cities. Chicago also hosted the 1959 Pan American Games, and Gay Games VII in 2006.