CHICAGO – Chicago turns 178 Wednesday, and despite the cold winter, it’s looking as good as ever.
We couldn’t possibly list all the things that put Chicago ahead of the pack. It’s not possible. So here are just SOME of the reasons our city is so wonderful. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.
9. We’re hilarious.
In fact, we’re the funniest city in America, at least according to social science researchers from the University of Colorado, who in 2014 put Chicago at the top of its list, beating out cities such as Boston and Atlanta for the comedy crown. And with venues like Second City, iO and other outlets dishing out comedians such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Bill Murray over the years, who could argue?
8. We’re the best drinking city in the country.
It’s true: In 2014 GQ named Chicago “Officially the greatest drinking city in America,” saying that no matter what you prefer, you’re only a block away from a great bar to enjoy a beer, gin, you name it.
So grab a brew or a cocktail, Chicago. It’s time to celebrate. Just drink responsibility.
7. We have one of the best skylines in the world.
Business Insider put Chicago at No. 6 in a worldwide ranking last year, while this (albeit unscientific) list put us at No. 8. No matter where you rank it, Chicago’s skyline is undoubtedly legendary and magnificent. From the Hancock to the Sears/Willis Tower, the beautiful architecture rising over a shimmering Lake Michigan, Chicago’s skyline is one of the most recognizable in the entire world.
6. Our sports teams.
Yes, sometimes they give us headaches and reasons to complain endlessly, whether it be at the water cooler or to sports radio. But truth be told, Chicago boasts a myriad pro teams that compete almost every year. Since 2000, the Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cups, the White Sox have won the World Series and the Bears have made the Super Bowl. The Bulls, dominant in the 1990s, remain a perennial Eastern Conference contender in the NBA.
Sure, there’s room for improvement, but if you’re a fan of any sport, there is always something for you in Chicago. And if you’re a baseball fan, you get to choose from two! (Just make sure you acknowledge the difference. The North Side/South Side debate will live on for as long as the city does.)
5. We have the best museum in the world.
Just ask Trip Advisor, who ranked our very own Art Institute at No. 1, putting it ahead of iconic places like The Louvre, The Smithsonian and the Museum of Art in New York. And it doesn’t stop with the Art Institute; Chicago boasts other great tourist attractions like the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium to boot.
4. Our beaches. They are amazing.
Ahh, sitting along Lake Michigan. A fond and distant memory in winter — but come May, the beaches will open again, as thousands can go to any number of wonderful spots along the city’s shore. And it’s not just North Avenue Beach, though that may be the city’s most popular. The city boasts several more, which you can see here. Hurry up, summer.
3. Our diversity.
Chicago is known as a city of neighborhoods, and many of those neighborhoods are rooted in deep ethnic heritage. From Greektown to Chinatown, Chicago is truly a masterpiece of diversity. The city boasts significant Polish, Irish, German and Italian populations — and it doesn’t end there.
2. Our culture.
We’ve already mentioned some of the attractions and accolades that have made the city world-class; blend it all together and add a few more, and you get one of the best cultural centers of the world. From the incredible food, to the music, to the arts, Chicago is right up there with the top cities worldwide. Into outdoor music? Lollapalooza, with its more than 150,000 attendees, is here for you. Want to grab a bite to eat? You can’t go farther than a city block without finding an incredible restaurant. And if you haven’t had deep dish pizza or a Chicago dog, you haven’t lived.
1. The people.
Blend the drive and ambition often characterized on the coasts with the Midwest sensibilities, and you have some of the best character in the world. Chicago is truly the heart of the nation — beauty without pretension. Those who live here know it as a great American city, despite its inevitable flaws.
And in case you need more convincing, this video ought to do it. As it says, Chicago is a city that “talks the talk of the American dream — without having to shout it.”
by Thomas Owen, WGN.