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North America > United States > Illinois

Only in the eyes of New Yorkers is Chicago this country's Second City. For in the Windy City, visitors will find culture and chaos, sports and skyscrapers, dramatic architecture and a diverse population.
Incorporated in 1837, the Town of Chicago drew its name from a Native-American word meaning "great." Thirty years later, 90,000 residents were left homeless in the Great Chicago Fire, which killed 300 people and left a devastating $200 million in damage. A grave disaster, the fire nonetheless provided the city an opportunity to rebuild and grow; by the time it hosted the 1893 World's Fair, it was home to the famous "El" train that still encircles the heart of downtown Chicago. Nearly three million people call Chicago home, a mid-Western mixture of cultures and races. The city's motto, "I will," is an articulation of its hopes and dreams as the city continues to grow in importance. And true to its name, it is a great city, with world-champion teams like the Chicago Bulls and well-beloved teams like the Chicago Cubs. Chicago sports fans are known around the globe for undying devotion in the bitter winter to their Bears, and through the long summers in the bleachers at Wrigley and Comiskey parks.
Chicago boasts more than a handful of architectural achievements, from the towering Sears Tower to the Tribune Tower, whose base includes stones from famous buildings throughout the world. The city is a growing cultural haven; the Art Institute of Chicago houses a world-class collection, from Impressionist masters to more contemporary works in photography and ethnic art. And from the Art Institute, many of the city's major cultural and tourist attractions are within walking distance, including the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Hancock Tower.
And what would Chicago be without the blues? This classic American musical innovation floated up the Mississippi River, where it was perfected and is still performed throughout the city; the original House of Blues is located on Dearborn Street and hosts the masters of this music.
Nestled on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago can be whatever you want it to be - a sports fan's paradise, a music lover's mecca, a shopper's delight, a culture-seeker's dream. Just don't for a second call it boring.

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