About the Chicago Area and the Chicago Region

City of Chicago

The City of Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois, on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River. This position puts the city in the heart of the American Midwest. Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and covers a land area of 588.2 sq km (227.1 sq mi) and extends 47 km (29 mi) along Lake Michigan. According to the 2000 census, Chicago's population was estimated at 2,862,244. The city is known for its many distinctive, diverse and interesting ethnic neighborhoods. It is celebrated for its contrasting views, both urban and natural, which take on a new beauty after the sunset.

City government is headed by a mayor and a city council which consists of 50 aldermen/women, one from each of the City's wards. To learn more about the City's interesting history, government, neighborhoods and related information, see the official website of Chicago , the Chicago Reporter magazine, and the Chicago Visitor's bureau website.

Chicago Area Climate/Weather

Chicago has four distinct seasons and its weather changes with each season. The warmest month is July; however, cool breezes from Lake Michigan help keep the city more comfortable than most Midwestern locations. The very cold days come in December through February when the temperatures can average in the low 30's to upper 20's (degrees Fahrenheit.) For current weather information see Chicago weather information.

Chicago's Attractions

Chicago offers many interesting things to do and see. One popular stop for sightseers is the famous Buckingham Memorial Fountain . It is the world's largest lighted fountain. Colorful lights make the fountain a show piece each evening during the summer. Lake Michigan is the third largest of the Great Lakes and the world's sixth largest freshwater lake. It also provides the city with a ready supply of fresh water and is a significant recreational destination--swimming, lake tours, and sailing are all very popular.

For many years, Willis Tower (Former Sears Tower) was the world's tallest building. It soars 1450 feet or 110 stories high. On a clear day, four states--Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan--are visible from its observation deck. In warm or cold weather, you can walk out on to Grand Avenue and explore Navy Pier, which is Chicago's most popular tourist destination. Navy Pier always has a variety of programs, fairs and art exhibitions. The Water Tower is another main attraction in Chicago, one of the few surviving structures from the famous 1870 Chicago Fire. You can also find out more about such attractions as the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building, Shedd Aquarium, and the Magnificent Mile at Chicago Attractions.


Chicago parks provide a place for you to take a long walk, play or just relax on a bench. Chicago has 542 parks that cover almost 7,500 acres. Downtown Millennium Park, along with Grant Park, provides activities all year long and is well known for its landscape design and architecture. One of the country's few free major zoos, the Lincoln Park Zoo, has been around for over 100 years and is located in one of the City's most scenic parks. Brookfield Zoo, located in the nearby suburb of Brookfield, IL is also another great zoo along with a park for everyone to enjoy. In winter, after a heavy snowfall, the parks and local forest preserves can be used for cross country skiing, snowmobiling and other snow-related fun activities.

Chicago Arts and Sciences

Chicago is home to many great museums and live theatrical and music venues. The City has nearly fifty museums. The Chicago Art Institute is one of the world's greatest art museums. Some of the other fine museums to visit are the Museum of Science and Industry, with many "hands on" exhibits related to science and industry; the Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses the largest collection of visual art from 1945 to the present; and the Chicago's Children's Museum, which offers an environment of learning and regularly features activities for children. The Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum of Natural History are all within walking distance of each other on Chicago's lakefront. For musical performances, Chicago offers everything from blues to Bach. For the most complete listings of Chicago entertainment, check out the Chicago Traveler Guide or the theater section on Chicago Tribune's Metromix.com.

Chicago Restaurants

Chicago is known for a wide variety of restaurants of every price range and ethnicity: from haute cuisine to deep dish pizza. Click here to find restaurants that fit your interests and needs.

Chicago Sports

Chicago is very proud and passionate about its sports teams. Chicagoans traditionally stand by them when they lose and cheer loudly when they win. Chicago's two major league baseball teams are the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs . The Chicago Bears professional football team plays at famous Soldier Field along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. On Chicago's west side, the Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Blackhawks hockey team play at the impressive United Center. Information on Chicago's many other professional sports teams can be found at ChicagoSports.com.

Chicago Transportation

Every day, about half a million people ride Chicago's excellent and extensive public transportation network. Many commuters prefer to use this form of transportation because it frees them from long commutes, traffic congestion and the cost of gasoline and parking. Train and bus services run regularly within the City and between the City and the suburbs. Chicago's railway/bus systems, METRA and the CTA, are the city's least expensive, fastest, and most convenient mode of transportation. See the Chicago Public Transit website to find out more about how to get around the city of Chicago.

Chicago Real Estate

There are many on-line resources available to assist in finding housing in the City of Chicago and its many suburbs. The following are just a couple examples of these:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ , http://chicago.craigslist.org/hhh/.

The Rest of the Region

For information on the six states in the Chicago Region of Social Security you may want to consult the following websites:

Illinois: http://www.illinois.gov/

Indiana http://www.state.in.us/

Michigan: http://www.michigan.gov/som/

Minnesota: http://www.state.mn.us/portal/mn/jsp/home.do?agency=NorthStar

Ohio: http://ohio.gov/

Wisconsin: http://www.wisconsin.gov/state/home/app?COMMAND=gov.wi.state.cpp.command.LoadPortalHome