Facts & Statistics

At a Glance

Welcome to Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, with a population of nearly three million people.

Chicago is home to...

  • 2,716,450 residents
  • 50 wards
  • 77 community areas 
  • 100 neighborhoods
  • 8 major league sports teams, including two MLB teams
  • United States President Barack Obama     

Chicago is a celebrated melting pot...

  • 36 annual parades 
  • 40 annual film festivals 
  • 74 music festivals 
  • 200 professional dance companies
  • More than 200 theaters
  • 250 live music venues
  • 40+ annual film festivals 
  • 20+ film and filmmaker nonprofit organizations 
  • 12+ art house and independent cinemas 
  • 13,000 film and TV production jobs 
  • 400+ individual film and TV productions

(Sources: DCASE, Choose Chicago)

Chicago is a city in a garden... 

  • 600 parks
  • 500 playgrounds  
  • 70 nature and bird sanctuaries 
  • 307 fields for soccer, football, lacrosse and more  
  • 250 field houses  
  • 534 tennis courts and 6 indoor courts  
  • 80 swimming pools  
  • 29 beaches
  • 26 miles of open lakefront

(Source: Parks District)

Chicago is a biking city...

  • Chicago has the second-highest percentage of commuters riding their bikes to work  
  • Bicycle commute times in the region average only 23 minutes  
  • 303 miles of bike lanes
  • 19 miles of lakefront bicycle paths along Lake Michigan
  • 303 miles of bike lanes   
  • 13,000+ bike racks
  • A 40-acre bike path for BMX and trail-riding

(Source: DPD)

Chicago is a foodie destination... 

  • More than 7,300 restaurants
  • 7 AAA Diamond-rated restaurants
  • 26 Michelin-starred restaurants
  • 40 James Beard Award-winning restaurants, and host of the annual James Beard Awards
  • 54 Bib Gourmand winners
  • 144 dog-friendly restaurants

Sports: A City for Sports Fans  

As much as Chicagoans like to play sports, we also love to watch the pros do it. Chicago has been named the Best Sports City by Sporting News three times and has made TSE’s international Ranking of Sport Cities every year since 2012.  

Greatest Chicago Sport Moments

1837: The Invention of Softball

1906: Chicago White Sox win World Series

1907: Chicago Cubs win World Series

1908: Chicago Cubs win World Series

1917: Chicago White Sox win World Series

1935: Chicago Cubs secure a record as the third-longest unbeaten MLB game streak with 21 consecutive wins.

1935: Chicago native, Jay Berwanger was the first recipient of the Heisman Trophy.

1977: Walter Payton Sets Record

1986: Chicago Bears win Super Bowl

1991-1993 Chicago Bulls, 3peat

1996-1998 Chicago Bulls, 3peat 

1998: Chicago Fire wins MLS Cup

2005: The Chicago White Sox win the World Series and break 88-year title drought

2010: Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup Championship

2012: Chicago Red Stars win National Women's Open

2013: Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup Championship

2015: Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup Championship

2016: The Chicago Cubs win World Series; break 108-year title drought and broke the “Curse of the Billy Goat”

 

Sports Locations 

  • Wrigley Field - Lake View
  • GuaranteedRate Field (Formerly Comiskey Park) - Bridgeport    
  • Soldier Field - South Loop
  • United Center – Near West Side
  • Wintrust Arena – Near South Side
  • Toyota Park – McKinley Park

Major League

  • Chicago Cubs - baseball
  • Chicago Bears - football
  • Chicago Bulls - basketball
  • Chicago White Sox - baseball
  • Chicago Blackhawks - hockey
  • Chicago Fire - soccer
  • Chicago Sky - basketball
  • Chicago Red Stars – soccer 

NCAA

  • DePaul Blue Demons
  • Loyola Ramblers
  • Chicago State Cougars
  • UIC Flames

A Melting Pot of Arts & Culture

Dance 

Home to more than 200 professional dance companies including the Joffrey Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Chicago delivers a packed calendar of performances on downtown stages and in neighborhood venues and parks. The city is the site of an influential hip-hop scene, and it has launched new music and dance styles such as Chicago juke and footwork. For more than two decades, Chicago has hosted Chicago SummerDance, the largest annual outdoor dancing series in the U.S. Don’t forget, every April is ‘Chicago Dance Month’ across the city.

(Source, DCASE)

Film 

Affordability, top notch crew and talent, and state-of-the-art facilities and vendors have made Chicago a hotbed for film and television dating back to The Blues Brother. Notable studios include Cinespace Studios, the largest North American soundstage outside of L.A and Music Box Films, one of the leading distributors of foreign language films documentaries in the U.S. For film fans, there’s the free Millennium Park Summer Film Series and film festivals year-round like the Chicago International Film Festival, the Latino, Black Harvest, Reeling (LGBTQ), Underground, Midwest Independent, and Children’s International film fest. 

  • 40+ annual film festivals 
  • 20+ film and filmmaker nonprofit organizations 
  • 12+ art house and independent cinemas

(Source, DCASE)

Music

Chicago is the birthplace of gospel, electric blues, house, juke, footwork, and drill. The unique sounds born in Chicago continue to resonate around the world. We’re also the home of renowned artists including Louis Armstrong, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind and Fire, Chance the Rapper, Common Smashing Pumpkins, Rise Against, Muddy Waters, and Kanye West. Chicago is a city music of festivals, celebrating every music genre. Experience Chicago’s most notable music festivals including the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival and Riot Fest. 

  • 250 live music venues including the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, and Joffrey Ballet.  
  • 74 music festivals the Chicago Blues Festival, Pitchfork, and Lollapalooza 
  • Thalia Hall - Pilsen 
  • Vic Theater - Lakeview
  • Riviera Theater - Uptown
  • House of Blues - River North
  • Green Mill - Uptown
  • Aragon Ballroom - Uptown
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Downtown
  • Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz
  • Ravinia Festival
  • Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
  • The Metro – Lakeview

(Sources, DCASE. ChooseChicago)

Theatre

Chicago is the theatre capital of the U.S.— birthplace of storefront theatre and improv comedy, home to long-running Broadway hits and boasting more world premieres than any other city in the country. Chicago’s 250-plus theatre companies take the stage at more than 200 theatres to perform work as varied and diverse as their audiences. Theatre-goers can choose from thousands of performances annually, featuring everything from Shakespeare to variety, in many languages. From the grand historic downtown theatres to those tucked away in a neighborhood storefront or church basement, audiences will find theatre of the highest quality throughout the city. Explore from one of the 150-plus buildings with behind-the-scenes tours.

(Sources, DCASE. ChooseChicago)

Long Standing Chicago Theaters

  • Second City - Old Town 
  • Music Box Theater - Lake View 
  • Goodman Theater - Loop 
  • Chicago Theater - Loop 
  • Mayne Stage - Rogers Park 
  • Lifeline Theater - Rogers Park 
  • Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater - Boystown 
  • Apollo 2000 (Formerly Marshal Square Theater) - Little Village 
  • Gateway Theater - Jefferson Park 
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Victory Gardens Theatre
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
  • Lookingglass Theatre Company

 A City in a Garden

The beauty of Chicago lies not only in its magnificent architecture, but also in the city's vast preserved green and open spaces. Chicagoans have over 580 parks and 8,300 acres of green spaces at their disposal. With beaches, ice rinks and bike paths, there's no shortage of outdoor recreation for Chicagoans.

Parks district - https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/

(Sources: DPD, Parks District)

606/Bloomingdale Trail 

A $95 million conversion of a former rail line to a 2.7-mile elevated park that extends through four vibrant, Chicago neighborhoods. An expansion will include 32 acres of linear park space along the Chicago River, 10 acres of sports and recreational fields and 17 acres of wetland park.  

Chicago Riverwalk 

An award-winning $108 million, 1.25-mile promenade along the south bank of the Chicago River downtown. Future expansion will extend the Riverwalk south an additional 1.8 miles from Lake Street to Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. 

Lincoln Park 

Lincoln Park, on Chicago’s North Side, attracts 20 million visitors annually. They come to see the nation’s oldest zoo to explore exotic plants at the grand Victorian glass conservatory, enjoy plays at the outdoor theater, row along the canal, stroll through the North Pond Nature Sanctuary and Butterfly conservatory, picnic on the playing fields, and frolic on North Avenue Beach. 

Millennium Park 

The top tourist destination in Chicago and the Midwest in 2017, Millennium Park offers 25 acres of exuberant architecture, serene gardens, grand pavilions, and dazzling fountains that sculpt light and water, walking paths. The park is home to a constantly rotating schedule of free cultural events for all ages, all year long. 

Jackson Park 

Jackson Park offers more than 500 acres of mature parkland along the lakefront, containing flower gardens, watercourses to wooded isles, sports facilities, stocked fish ponds, 18 miles of walking and biking paths—and it's the future site of the Barack Obama Presidential Center. 

Best Bike City in America

Chicago was named America’s Best Bike City by Bicycling Magazine in 2016.  Chicago's dedication to invest in better bike infrastructure made biking it safer and more comfortable for everyone in Chicago, regardless of age or ability.

Since 2011, Chicago has added... 

  • More than 115 miles of protected bike lanes
  • A network of 303 miles
  • 255 miles of on-street bike lanes
  • 5 miles of off-street trails.

(Sources: DPD, Parks District)

Did you know...

  • Over 55 million people visit Chicago annually.
  • Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837.
  • Chicago’s nicknames include: The Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, and The City That Works.
  • The "Historic Route 66" begins in Chicago at Grant Park on Adams Street in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • The Chicagoland area contains nearly 10 million people in three states – Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana – and is the 22nd largest metropolitan area in the world.
  • Chicago is home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, while the rest of the metropolitan area hosts an additional 23 Fortune 500 companies.
  • McCormick Place, Chicago’s premier convention center, offers the largest amount of exhibition space in North America (2.6 million square feet).
  • The first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Today, Navy Pier is home to a 20-story Ferris wheel, modeled after the original one.
  • Chicago’s downtown area is known as “The Loop.” The nickname refers to the area encircled by the elevated (‘L’) train tracks.
  • The game of 16-inch softball, which is played without gloves, was invented in Chicago.
  • In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project – reversing the flow of the Chicago River so that it emptied into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan. Each year, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most extensive collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. 
  • Chicago was one of the first and largest municipalities to require public art as part of the renovation or construction of municipal buildings, with the passage of the Percentage-for-Arts Ordinance in 1978.
  • The Chicago Cultural Center is the first free municipal cultural center in the U.S. and home to the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome.
  • When it opened in 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, with approximately 6.5 million books, was the world’s largest municipal library. 
  • The Lincoln Park Zoo, one of only three major free zoos in the country, is the country’s oldest public zoo with an estimated annual attendance of three million.
  • The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is the second-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 110 stories high.
  • The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) elevators are among the fastest in the world operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute.
  • Four states are visible from the Skydeck Chicago (formerly the Sears Tower Skydeck). Indiana, Illinois, Michigan & Wisconsin.
  • The first steel rail road in the United States was produced in Chicago in 1865.
  • The first mail-order business, Montgomery Ward & Co., was established in Chicago in 1872.
  • The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built in Chicago in 1885.
  • The original Ferris wheel was built on the midway of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
  • The Adler Planetarium became the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere in 1930.
  • The nation’s first blood bank was established in 1937 by Dr. Bernard Fantus at Cook County Hospital. 
  • The first drive-in bank opened in Chicago in 1946.
  • Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1949.
  • The remote control was invented in Chicago in 1950. 
  • The first Democratic National Convention televised coast-to-coast was held in 1952 at Chicago’s International Amphitheater. (The first televised Democratic National Convention, in 1948, only reached viewers in the Northeast.)
  • Maria Callas made her U.S. debut at the Lyric Opera in Chicago in 1954.
  • The first televised U.S. presidential candidates’ debate was broadcast from Chicago’s CBS Studios on September 26, 1960, between John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon.
  • Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Chicago became the country’s first female African-American U.S. senator in 1992.
  • The late Mayor Richard J. Daley and former Mayor Richard M. Daley became the first father-son team to head the United States Conference of Mayors in 1996.
  • President Barack Obama, who served from 2009 to 2017, was the first U.S. President from Chicago.

Additional Links:

U.S. Census Bureau's Statistics about Chicago

ChooseChicago.com, the Official Tourism Website for Chicago

Illinois Data





Additional Information

Would you like to plan a visit to Chicago, or find things to do within your City? 

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