1. 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. Also, the Chicago River is dyed green every year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
2. The Lincoln Park Zoo is the country’s oldest public zoo, and one of the last free zoos in the U.S. The annual attendance tops 3 million people.
3. Chicago’s infamous Willis Tour (formerly the Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 110 stories, the building’s elevators are some of the fastest in the world, travelling at a rate of 1600 feet per minute.
4. When it opened in 1991, The Harold Washington Library was the world’s largest library with approximately 6.5 million books.
5. The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most extensive collections of Impressionist & Post-Impressionist paintings in the entire world.
6. The historic “Route 66” begins at spacious Grant Park on Adams Street in Chicago’s downtown area.
7. Chicago’s downtown area is known as “The Loop” coming from it being encircled by the “L” train/transit system.
8. The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built in 1885.
9. Chicago hosts the world’s largest free outdoor festival- The Taste of Chicago.
10. Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park is one of the world’s largest fountains.
11. Chicago is also the birthplace of fast food giant – McDonalds, chewing gum giant -Wrigley’s & also cell phone giant Motorola.
12. Move over Krakow and Greenpoint, because after Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population.
13. The Twinkie was invented in Chicago in 1930.
14. Chicago offers locals and guests about 40 museums, more than 150 theaters and over 6,000 restaurants.
15. Couch potatoes can thank Chicago because the remote control was invented there in 1950.
16. Roller skates rolled onto the scene in 1884 in Chicago.
17. The name Chicago is derived from an Algonquin word “Chigagou,” which translates to “onion field.” So why was it called that? Lots of onions grew on fields where the city was formed.
18. The Shedd Aquarium is the second largest aquarium in the world. It holds 5 million gallons of water to support the life of over 20,000 aquatic animals.
19. The world’s largest commercial building is the Merchandise Mart.
20. Chicago is home to the greatest & best rated hostel, Chicago Getaway Hostel.