Chicago takes food very seriously—not just its famous pizza and hot dogs, but everything else, too, from ethnic food and breakfast to contemporary, innovating dining. Saveur Magazine even dubbed Chicago “America’s new culinary star.”
Theater and Music
Chicago has long been known for theater, from big productions at landmark venues in Chicago’s downtown Theater District
to experimental works at small storefront theaters in outlying neighborhoods. When it comes to music, you can find live performances of every kind every night of the week (although jazz and blues have a special place in the city’s cultural history).
To be able to enjoy an urban culture set along a stunning natural beauty like Lake Michigan is a rare and wonderful thing. When Chicagoans have had enough of the city sidewalks, they head over to the Lake to stroll the shoreline, play some volleyball, or bike or jog along Lake Shore Drive.
Chicago is truly a city reflective of the world—its diversity extends into every business, classroom, market and elevated ("L") train car. It’s also home to some of the most vibrant ethnic communities in America. Each of the city's more than 70 distinct neighborhoods has its own mini culture, whether it’s focused on cultural heritage and foods, or art, philosophy and religion. Some favorite ethnic communities to explore in Chicago include Greektown, Chinatown, Ukrainian Village and Little Italy.
Chicago is one of only three cities in the country with six professional teams: the Chicago Bears
and White Sox
. Classic Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, is a sight to see even if the Cubs aren't in town. The ballpark installed lights in 1988 and its scoreboard is still changed by hand. It was the White Sox, though, who brought home the 2005 World Series Championship, and the Blackhawks who won the 2010 Stanley Cup.
If you’d rather play sports than be a spectator, Chicago has a number of amateur athletic leagues. You can grab a pick up basketball game in one of the Chicago Park District
Field Houses, or play soccer or volleyball along the lakefront.
Chicago’s skyline is recognized around the world, and the city has been hailed the architecture capital of the United States. A favorite activity for tourists and locals alike is the famous Chicago Architecture River Cruise
, which includes stunning views and fascinating information about architectural styles and the city’s rich history.
Learning throughout the city is easy, thanks to Chicago’s nearly 50 museums dedicated to everything deserving of a museum, from art, science and technology to history and unique slivers of culture. Chicago's Art Institute
houses the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of the Louvre in Paris. Remote control your own Mars Rover at the Museum of Science and Industry
, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Or, go see "Sue" the largest, most complete, and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil yet discovered at the Field Museum
Chicago is a travel hub, which means it’s easy to get to from anywhere in the country or world. Once you’re in Chicago, there are many convenient options for getting around, from bike paths and L trains to buses and cabs.
Safety in Chicago
Chicago is a big city, which means many wonderful resources and opportunities for its residents, as well as some typical risks. We remind our students that living here, like in any metropolitan area, requires an awareness of safety concerns and a review common sense tips.