Who really knows why Chicago is called the ‘Windy City”?
Depending on who you ask, it’s either because of the famous summer breezes off Lake Michigan, or the equally famous ‘hot air’ from local politicians.
And then there are those who say the term was coined by arch-rival, Cincinnati, to suggest that the good folk of Chicago were prone to bragging.
If that’s the case, then the nickname is well deserved. Chicago has plenty to brag and, although even locals describe winter as “miserable”, the Mid-Western US city is a wonderful place to visit in the warmer months.
With more than 2.7 million residents,Chicago is the biggest city in the US state of Illinois – and the third most populous in the country.
With its legendary skyscrapers, Chicago is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.
But over recent decades, the city has really made a name for itself in the arts, culture and sporting fields.
And the creativity and community spirit of this metropolis by the lake is obvious everywhere you look.
For example, in the heart of the city is Millennium Park, an astonishing 25 acres of landscapes, architecture and public art, including Cloud Gate, the massive stainless steel lump, known world-wide as ‘The Bean’.
The 168 polished steel plates look like a giant drop of highly reflective liquid mercury and are a dream for photographers.
Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art, with donors establishing funding for such art as far back as 1905. A number of Chicago’s public art works are by leading international figurative artists.
Not far away is Grant Park, set beneath the backdrop of Lake Michigan.
For the past 20 years, many Chicago residents have flocked to a weekly music and dance event known as SummerDance. Running from June to September, SummerDance is billed as the biggest event of its type in the US and features a 4,900 square foot open air dance floor.
We made it to one of the last summer performances.
Grant Park is located in the area known as the Chicago Loop, that also take in the central business district, ‘Magnificent Mile’ shopping area, Chicago River, the Art Institute, Willis (Sears) Tower and the city’s Cultural Center.
The Magnificent Mile is a shopping magnet and fine dining strip, while the river is known for its informative boat tours that take visitors on a meandering journey amid the skyscrapers.
Other outstanding attractions include Lincoln Zoo and the 50-acre entertainment playground and museum hub known as Navy Pier.