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Chicago officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the third most populous city in the United States, following New York City and Los Angeles. With a population of 2,746,388 in the 2020 census, it is also the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the fifth most populous city in North America. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the U.S., while a small portion of the city's O'Hare Airport also extends into DuPage County. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, defined as either the U.S. Census Bureau's metropolitan statistical area (9.6 million people) or the combined statistical area (almost 10 million residents), often called Chicagoland. It is one of the 40 largest urban areas in the world.
Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city rebuilt. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900, less than 30 years after the great fire, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.Chicago is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts, issued by the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is part of the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures alone.
O'Hare International Airport is routinely ranked among the world's top six busiest airports according to tracked data by the Airports Council International. The region also has the largest number of federal highways and is the nation's railroad hub. The Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products (GDP) in the world, generating $689 billion in 2018. The economy of Chicago is diverse, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce. It is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Allstate, Boeing, Caterpillar, Exelon, JLL, Kraft Heinz, McDonald's, Mondelez International, Sears, United Airlines Holdings, US Foods, and Walgreens.
Chicago's 58 million tourist visitors in 2018 set a new record, and Chicago has been voted the best large city in the U.S. for four years in a row by Condé Nast Traveler. The city was ranked first in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global urban quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities, and was rated second most beautiful city in the world (after Prague) in 2021. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis (Sears) Tower, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo.
Chicago is also home to the Barack Obama Presidential Center being built in Hyde Park on the city's South Side. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, literature, film, theatre, comedy (especially improvisational comedy), food, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel, and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams.
The Chicago and North Western Transportation Company (reporting mark CNW) was a Class I railroad in the Midwestern United States. It was also known as the "North Western". The railroad operated more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of track as of the turn of the 20th century, and over 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of track in seven states before retrenchment in the late 1970s. Until 1972, when the employees purchased the company, it was named the Chicago and North Western Railway (or Chicago and North Western Railway Company). The C&NW became one of the longest railroads in the United States as a result of mergers with other railroads, such as the Chicago Great Western Railway, Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway and others. By 1995, track sales and abandonment had reduced the total mileage to about 5,000. The majority of the abandoned and sold lines were lightly trafficked branches in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Large line sales, such as those that resulted in the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad, further helped reduce the railroad to a mainline core with several regional feeders and branches. Union Pacific (UP) purchased the company in April 1995 and integrated it with its own operation.
Oak Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois adjacent to Chicago. It is the 29th-most populous municipality in Illinois with a population of 51,878 as of the 2010 U.S. Census estimate. Oak Park was first settled in 1835 and later incorporated in 1902, when it separated from Cicero. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife settled in Oak Park in 1889, and his work heavily influenced local architecture and design, including the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Over the years, rapid development was spurred by railroads and street cars connecting the village to jobs in nearby Chicago. In 1968, Oak Park passed the Open Housing Ordinance, which helped devise strategies to integrate the village rather than resegregate.Today, Oak Park remains ethnically diverse, and is known for its socially liberal politics, with 80% or higher voter turnout in every presidential election since 2000. Oak Park is closely connected to Chicago with Chicago Transit Authority access via the Green Line and Blue Line "L" train lines including the Metra Oak Park station downtown.
Chicago's North Shore
Bordering Chicago along Lake Michigan, Chicago’s North Shore is the most picturesque region in the metropolitan Chicago area boasting a scenic byway along the lakefront rich in natural beauty and homes and gardens of distinction.
Rosemont is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Located immediately northwest of Chicago, as of the 2010 census it had a population of 4,202. The village was incorporated in 1956, though it had been settled long before that. While Rosemont's land area and population are relatively small among municipalities in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, the village is a major center for commercial activity in the region and is a key component of the Golden Corridor. Due to its proximity to several interstates, O'Hare International Airport, and downtown Chicago, it has emerged as a significant edge city and entertainment district, with corporate facilities, millions of square feet of office space, nearly 50 restaurants, 15 hotels, the 840,000-square-foot (78,000 m2) Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (home to conventions and trade shows), the 16,000+ seat Allstate Arena (home to the Chicago Wolves, Chicago Sky, DePaul Blue Demons until 2017, and concerts and other live entertainment events), the 4,000+ seat Rosemont Theatre, the 130-store Fashion Outlets of Chicago, the Rosemont Stadium (home to an outdoor collegiate-level softball stadium and 140,000 sq ft indoor sports dome), Impact Field (home to the Chicago Dogs independent minor league baseball team), and the entertainment complex Parkway Bank Park, which features restaurants, entertainment and a large common area used for summer concerts and ice skating in the winter. Rosemont is near Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and additional hotels, offices, restaurants, and corporate facilities in the adjacent O'Hare neighborhood of Chicago and nearby suburban communities such as Des Plaines and Schiller Park. The residential sections of Rosemont are a gated community, as a result of the 1995 decision by residents to enclose the residential portions of the village (roughly half the area of the village), thereby restricting access to locals.