Though the most popular theory is that a cow belonging to Mrs. O’Leary knocked over a lantern in her barn at 137 DeKoven Street, nobody knows exactly what started the blaze that quiet Sunday night. All we know for certain is that the resulting Great Chicago Fire, which started on October 8, 1871, spread rapidly through the predominantly wooden city. By October 10, 300 were dead, 100,00 were homeless, and Chicago as the world knew it was gone.
However, as it would prove over and over again throughout the next century and a half, the Windy City would not sway in the face of adversity. It quickly began to rebuild and, by 1893, was ready to host the World’s Fair. Today, Chicago is the third-largest hub in the U.S. and was even named the best city in the world for 2018. With mouthwatering food, zealous sports fans, and thriving music and comedy scenes, the Midwestern metropolis on the banks of Lake Michigan simply cannot be beaten.
Welcome to Chicago.
The Windy City
When to go
Plan Your Trip
Plan Your Trip
The city’s name comes from the Illinois tribe’s word “Chicagou,” which translates to “striped skunk.”
If you’re not a fan of the cold, don’t visit Chicago during the winter, when its nickname — “Chiberia” — is most applicable.
Planning to order a famous Chicago dog during your stay? Skip the ketchup and opt for the traditional fixings instead: yellow mustard, relish, white onions, pickled peppers, celery salt, tomatoes, and a dill pickle.
Chicago is one of the funniest cities in the nation — if you visit, be sure to check out one (or more!) of the city’s revered improv and comedy clubs.