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Facts & Statistics

Chicago Skyline at Sunrise

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

 

Chicago is home to...

  • 237 square miles of land
  • An estimated 2,695,598 residents
  • Dozens of cultural institutions, historical sites and museums
  • More than 200 theaters
  • Nearly 200 art galleries
  • More than 7,300 restaurants
  • 77 community areas containing more than 100 neighborhoods
  • 26 miles of lakefront
  • 15 miles of bathing beaches
  • 36 annual parades
  • 19 miles of lakefront bicycle paths
  • 552 parks
  • United States President Barack Obama

 

Did you know...

  • Nearly 40 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 21 Fortune 500 companies.
  • McCormick Place, Chicago’s premier convention center, offers the largest amount of exhibition space in North America (2.2 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 15-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 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 1865.
  • The first mail-order business, Montgomery Ward & Co., was established in 1872.
  • The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built 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 1946.
  • Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1949.
  • The remote control was invented 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 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 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.

Additional Links:

U.S. Census Bureau's Statistics about Chicago

ChooseChicago.com, the Official Tourism Website for Chicago

Illinois Data