The Chicago Culture

Chicago is a bustling city in the northeastern part of the state of Illinois. Surrounded by skyscrapers and a river, it is the home for 2.7 million United States citizens and residents, with not only Americans living in it but also people from Europe especially from Poland, Greece, Lithuania amongst many others, the Middle East, and Subsaharan Africa. Chicago boasts of a variety of artistic culture, both in the performing arts and in visual arts, sports teams and organizations, music and musicians, a variety of delicacies influenced by the different ethnicities residing in it, and an active and healthy lifestyle.

Chicago has a wonderful cityscape, with a multitude of skyscrapers started by the first one, Home Insurance Building. Now the city has four buildings that are included in the top ten tallest buildings in America and not to mention that nine of the 100 tallest buildings in the world are also found in Chicago. Aside from the visually stunning skyline, the city also gives a wonderful forefront to the Chicago River, which can be ideal for a variety of activities such as running by the river walk, and an assortment of water activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, among many others.

Chicago’s performing arts scene is also a great tourist attraction. Modern improvisational comedy was first coined and started in this city, now it has up and coming comedians performing in the city’s theaters and is slowly being popularized in the whole world. The longest running plays in the United States can also be watched in Chicago, with some plays running for 30 years in a row. Actors and people who would like to develop and harness their talents when it comes to theater can also take some classes at the Northwestern University. The most famous theatres and theatre companies are the Goodman Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre company, the Strawdog Theatre Company, the Chicago Theatre, among many others. These theatres and theatre companies have been a witness to the flourishing performing arts scene that continues to support the city’s tourism.  People flock to Chicago not only to watch the plays and the musicals, but also to be able to experience visiting the rustic and historical theatres. There have been awards for the musicals, plays and comedies that were shown in these theatres as well. Because of the diverse population of individuals living in Chicago, there have also been plays dubbed in Polish and Lithuanian to support the minorities. The performing arts are not only limited to the plays and musicals, but also include great ballet, jazz dance groups, and modern dancers. And another up and coming performance art called Slam poetry is also gaining a lot of followers lately.

Aside from performing arts, Chicago is also famous for its musicality, especially in pop music. Chicago is very much famous for blues, soul, Jazz and of course, gospel music. In fact, if one would like to hear true musical performances, it is highly suggested to visit any bars or speak easies. The house style of music was also discovered and started in Chicago which gave birth to techno music in Detroit. There are also hip hop artists that were made famous such as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, etc. Aside from hip hop, there are also R & B artists that are from Chicago, like R. Kelly and Jennifer Hudson.  Not only is Chicago famous for these genres of musical artists, but there are also rock and roll bands that hailed from Chicago such as The Blues Brothers, Chicago, Styx, among many others. With all the performing arts and musical talent from Chicago, there seems to be the absence of a counterpart for Juilliard School, albeit the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts in Roosevelt University are expanding their programs.  There are also a number of street art found near Wicker Park, and a number of contemporary art galleries where people from Chicago are able to exhibit their sculptures, paintings, and other pieces of art that they have made.

Though artistic in nature, Chicago boasts of simple food and dining choices, with local delicacies such as the Chicago hotdog, Chicago-style pizza, the Italian beef sandwich, chicken Vesuvio, shrimp DeJonghe, are amongst the popular ones. As the city is a melting pot, there are also a lot of mini-towns that can be found such as a Greek town, China town, Polish neighborhood, little Italy, Mexican village, Vietnamese and Korean streets, and the Indo-Pakistani area. In each of these places there are different and exotic cuisines that can be tried. The varieties of food choices for the people who reside in Chicago are limitless.

The city is not only flourishing in the arts and music, but also in sports. Chicago also has fifteen professional sports teams, among of which includes two baseball teams, one basketball team, one hockey team, one football team, one soccer team, one lacrosse team, etc. The city is also the home for one of the largest National Football League or NFL stadiums. Because of the sports influence, Chicago is also home to a lot of initiatives for a healthy lifestyle, starting with a variety of work-outs and classes being offered in the city. Organizations like the Healthy Initiative Foundation, the YMCA of Metro Chicago, Healthy Schools Campaign, Chicago Lives Healthy are among the most popular healthy lifestyle initiates in the city.

Boasting with a very well rounded culture of arts, music, sports, architecture, and health, Chicago is one of the best cities to experience multicultural and health and fitness awareness. Although there are reports saying that living in Chicago is more costly than other cities, the people who reside here take great pleasure in Chicago’s well rounded culture and would have not chosen another city, in spite of the economical factors. Some areas have been greatly preserved, like the older theatres, but there are also a lot of new skyscrapers and building being built in lieu of skyline tradition that is now one of the highlights of the city.