33 Things That I Guarantee You Didn’t Know About Chicago. Guaranteed!

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The “Windy City” is full of surprises and I’m about to lay them down before you in a way that you never thought possible. While you may think you know Chicago oh so well, these are sure to leave you with quite the awakening and maybe even get you to start planning your next trip there, to see it all for yourself. I hope so anyway! So here they are.. enjoy!


1. Chicago’s Western Avenue is the world’s longest continuous street, at 23.5 miles.

2. Chicago is home to the world’s largest free outdoor food festival, the Taste of Chicago.

3. An average of 35 million visitors flock to Chicago each year.

4. The Chicago Public Library was created directly from the ashes of the great Chicago Fire in 1871.

5. Chicago was technically the birthplace of soap operas.

6. Shedd Aquarium is home to the oldest aquatic animal in a public aquarium in the world, an Australian lungfish named Granddad, who is at least 85 years old.

7. The longest MLB game to ever be played was in 1984 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Chicago White Sox defeated the Milwaukee Brewers after 25 innings.

8. Chicago inventor Martin Cooper invented the first cell phone.

9. In 1924, the first gay rights group in the U.S. was created in Chicago.

10. The first form of softball was invented in Chicago.

11. In 1893, the first open heart surgery in the United States was performed in Chicago.

12. The first Playboy Mansion was in Chicago.

13. The Ferris wheel was invented in Chicago in 1893. This is talked about in our post on 27 Interesting Facts About The United States.



I swear this has to be the coolest theater in the entire world. Love it!


14. Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backward.

15. Chicago is home to Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the world’s last free zoos.

16. The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris.

17. The first blood bank in the United States was created in Chicago in 1937.



You can’t visit Chicago without checking out “The Bean!”


18. The first all-color TV station made its debut in Chicago in 1956.

19. Four states are visible from the top of the Willis Tower (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin).

20. The first televised U.S. presidential debate was broadcast from Chicago’s CBS Studios on Sept. 26, 1960, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

21. Chicago is home to 552 parks.

22. Chicago has 15 miles of bathing beaches.

23. Historic Route 66 began in Chicago.

24. In 1885, Chicago became home to the first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, which was originally nine stories tall.

25. The four stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago fire, the World’s Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition.

26. The first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo was a bear cub, bought for $10 in 1874.

27. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (PBR) was first introduced during the 1893 Colombian Exposition, also known as the 1893 World’s Fair, which was held in Chicago.

28. Cracker Jacks were also introduced during the 1893 Chicago fair.



Picturesque view of Navy Park


29. The first Rotary Club in America was founded in Chicago.

30. Chicago is known as the home of baton twirling. This is because the first baton-twirling contest was held as part of the Chicagoland Music Festival in 1935.

31. The Wrigley Building was the first air-conditioned office building.

32. The first McDonald’s franchise restaurant, owned by Ray Kroc, opened in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines in 1955.

33. In 1895, the first automobile race ever seen in the United States was held in Chicago.



It may be the third largest city in America, but that sure doesn’t mean there’s a lack of skyscrapers. In fact, they’ve had the nation’s largest for many years.


See, I told you you wouldn’t know any of those facts! And if you did, I guess I lied. My apologies go out to you. I’ll make it up to ‘ya sometime. 😉

For more cool facts about cities from across America, be sure to check out the post mentioned earlier, 27 Interesting Facts About The United States!

So… What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!



Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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