1. Chicago wasn’t nick-named the ‘windy city’ because of the weather – Why not begin with the city’s famous nickname? While many people think that it originated from the cities often wild weather, the name actually originates from the often long-winded nature of its politicians who Chicagoans often affectionately mock.
2. There are 225 parks within Chicago – one of which (Lincoln Park) is home to my college campus DePaul University! The parks here allow for an extremely special escape from the busy, urban and sometimes overwhelming environment of the city. Millennium Park gets MVP as home to ‘the bean’. There is always something fun happening at Millennium Park.
3. The city thrives after a win – Sports is a huge part of the city. Whether you follow the cubs, the bears, the white sox, the bulls or the blackhawks, the city will light up after a win and you have a chance to experience the insane effect that these American pastimes can have on the entire community.
4. The Ferris wheel was invented in Chicago – In summer, Navy pier is the place to be if you want to score some amazing photos and an incredible view of the city from one of Chicago’s famous ferris wheels. Grab a hotdog and lounge around on the deck chairs while you’re there.
5. The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of impressionist paintings, second only to the Louvre in Paris – with so many famous works you could spend days exploring the gallery. (Even better when you can enjoy a seriously good student discount.)
6. Chicago invented the deep-dish pizza – and I would personally like to thank them! Deep dish pizza is considered an art form here in Chicago and I can certainly see why. While the portion sizes may be a little overwhelming for us Aussies, one slice of deep dish pizzas is the perfect size for lunch on the go.
7. On Oct 8th 1871, the infamous Chicago fire started and lasted 3 days – The fire was devastating and destroyed 18,000 buildings, leaving 90,000 people homeless.
8. Chicago is famous for its Architecture – While the fire was devastating, Chicago’s famous architecture is said to have risen from the ashes.
9. Chicago is credited as the birth place of improvisation – Famous improve group ‘Second City’ was established in Chicago in 1959 and is still going strong as one of the most significant theatres in the world. With alumni including Steve Carell, Bill Murray and Tina Fey it’s not hard to see why.
10. Chicago is home to 77 community areas containing more than 100 neighbourhoods – These different neighbourhoods and communities are a true reflection of the diversity of people in Chicago. This diversity is one reason why I think I have enjoyed my time here so much so far. The different types of people that the city allows you to meet are endless, adding so much to your experience as an exchange student.