Chicago is one of the most famous cities in the country and gained its popularity for many reasons, from its business district to food, entertainment, a world-class airport, and more.
Vacationing in Chicago is always a blast, be it summer or winter. But many people don’t realize just how big Chicago is before heading to the Windy City.
So, how many acres is the City of Chicago?
At 145,300 acres, Chicago is Illinois’ largest metropolis and ranks 23rd among the country’s biggest cities in terms of geography and 3rd for the population.
Additionally, O’Hare International Airport is one of the busiest in the US.
Chicago is always abuzz with activity. It is topped in terms of the population only by New York and Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
- How vast is Chicago overall?
- How big are the parks in Chicago?
- How does Chicago compare to New York?
- Is Chicago cultural?
- Why is Chicago’s film industry thriving?
- What draws people to the music scene in Chicago?
- What makes Chicago the country’s theater capital?
- Can you bike comfortably in Chicago?
- Why is Chicago a foodie destination?
Located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, the City of Chicago occupies an area of approximately 60,000 hectares and rises 176 meters above sea level.
It is the fifth-largest freshwater lake in the world, measuring 190 kilometers wide and 495 kilometers long.
The Calumet and Chicago rivers flow through the metropolis.
According to city officials, more than 2,716,450 people call Chicago home. That includes the former president of the United States, Barack Obama.
The city also has 50 wards and community areas totaling 77. It also has a whopping 100 neighborhoods and eight major league athletics teams, including two baseball teams.
Chicago has many city parks, which cover more than 3,000 hectares and draw roughly 86 million tourists each year. It well deserves its nickname Garden City.
After all, there are 600 parks across the city to choose from. You heard right! On top of that, families have 500 playgrounds where they can take their children to have fun and frolic.
Being one with nature in Chicago is pretty easy as you have seventy nature and bird sanctuaries to visit.
Sports lovers can choose from 307 fields to play or watch lacrosse, football, soccer, and more. There are also 250 field houses providing space for a myriad of sporting activities.
Tennis fanatics have 540 tennis courts, six of which are indoors, helpful for those chilly winter months. If you’d like to cool off or just show off your swimming skills, take your pick of swimming pools across the city (80 in total) or head to one of the city’s 29 beaches.
Did we forget to mention that you have 26 miles of accessible waterfront to hang out at all day?
When you compare Chicago to New York, you have to take Lake Michigan into consideration.
Brooklyn is famous for Coney Island, one of New York’s beach areas. However, Lake Michigan has 14 miles of shoreline that are unlike anything else in the world.
New York City’s beaches are always full and hard to get to, but Lake Michigan is just a short walk from downtown Chicago.
The beaches on Lake Michigan near downtown Chicago are beautiful and have a lot of fun things to do, like swimming, kayaking, jet skis, boats, and more.
In Chicago, 26 miles of lakefront comprises trails stretching some 18 miles, more than twenty public beaches, and a lot of lakefront beaches and parks.
Close to the Lincoln Park Zoo, you can go to North Avenue Beach or Oak Street Beach, which has volleyball courts with skyscrapers in the background.
Both cities are known for their food, and of course for their pizzas.
However, great hotdogs and deep-dish Chicago-style pizza aren’t the only things you’ll enjoy when you go to Chicago. In Chicago, there are a lot of different types of food – and it’s typically cheap to eat.
There are modern twists on American classics, inexpensive and tasty street food, gastropubs, and food from all over the world in Chicago.
New York has a lot to offer when it comes to food because it’s a mix of a lot of different cultures and countries. You have to pay a lot to get into New York City’s food scene, however.
It’s great to live in Chicago because it has a good work-life balance. Because of the size of New York City, the competitive employment market, and the feeling that you’re always running and always late, you may often feel stressed.
When you compare Chicago and New York City, you’ll find that residing in Chicago gives a huge advantage because it lets you have a better work-life harmony.
The roads and highways in Chicago make it easier for you to get around, so you won’t have to rely on public transit as much.
It’s possible to live in the outlying areas and still easily get to work in the city. You can go to the lake, spend time with friends, or maybe just relax at the end of the day.
Chicago isn’t as big as New York City, but it has a lot of cultural sights, great parks, and events to enjoy.
Chicago has a lot of fun things to do on the water, like the Chicago Riverwalk, the Navy Pier, Lincoln Park, as well as the shorelines.
There are also leading attractions, such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, and Willis Tower.
In Chicago, there are some of the best museums in the country, such as the Field Museum and the Chicago Children’s Museum.
One of the best aspects of living in Chicago is that you won’t run out of things to do. The city has all that New York has to offer with a cheaper price tag.
YES! If you have a film or business idea, maybe a new cuisine, or just want to go somewhere that’s diverse in every aspect, Chicago is cultural.
Every year, Chicago hosts some 36 parades that attract people from all across the country and the world.
Also, it is the home of 40 film festivals each year. If you’re into music, there are 74 music festivals in Chicago that take place year-round.
Looking to learn some new dance moves? You have 20 professional dance organizations to choose among, plus, if you like to watch, then you have over 200 theaters to visit.
Live music is a big deal in Chicago, so you’ll never run out of options with 250 live music outlets. For people interested in film, you have more than 20 nonprofit filmmaking organizations.
Film and Art aficionados have more than a dozen art houses as well as independent cinemas to attend. Looking for jobs in the film industry?
There are 13,000 television production and film jobs in addition to more than 400 private film and television productions.
When it comes to film and television, Chicago has long been a hub thanks to its affordability, top-notch staff and artists, as well as top-notch venues and suppliers.
Cinespace Studios, the biggest North American studio beyond Los Angeles, as well as Music Box Films, one of the premier marketers of linguistic films and documentaries in the United States, are among the noteworthy studios.
Moviegoers can enjoy a variety of free summer screenings at Millennium Park and all-year festivals such as Midwest Independent Festivals, Underground festivals, Latino and Black Harvest Reeling, LGBTQ+, and the Chicago International Film Festival.
Drill, footwork, juke, house, electric blues, and gospel were all made in Chicago. These genres of music are enjoyed all over the world.
Earth, Wind and Fire, Jennifer Hudson, and Louis Armstrong are just some of the famous artists who live in this city, and Common and Chance the Rapper were originally from Chicago as well.
It’s a metropolis that loves all kinds of music and hosts a lot of festivals. Encounter some of the best music festivals in Chicago, like the Riot Fest, Pitchfork Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Chicago Blues Festival.
The motherland of storefront theater and improv comedy, Chicago is the theater leader in the United States. It has more international premieres than all other cities across the United States.
Chicago has more than 250 theater groups, and they perform in more than 200 theaters across the city.
They put on shows that are as diverse and unique as their audiences. People who go to the theater can choose among thousands of shows each year, including all of Shakespeare to an assortment of productions in multiple languages.
Audiences can find a high-quality theater in every part of town, from the great old theaters in the heart of the city to the small theaters in the rear of a store or a church’s basement.
You can more than bike comfortably there since the city made sure to designate some of its acres for cyclists.
Chicago ranks second when it comes to commuters traveling along their cycling paths to work. Riding night or day is a safe way to get around this vast and busy city.
A bicycle magazine named Chicago the best city to ride a bike in the United States back in 2016.
Everyone in Chicago, no matter what their age or ability, is able to bike more safely and comfortably thanks to Chicago’s commitment to better bike infrastructure, no matter how old or how to fit they were.
Between 2011 and now, Chicago has added more than 115 miles of bike lanes that are protected from cars.
There are 255 miles of bike lanes that are on the street. Trails off the road amount to five miles. Along the lakefront, you’ll find 19 miles of bicycle paths. Across the city, you’ll find plenty of bike racks, more than 13,000 of them.
Not only are the restaurants diverse in Chicago, but you’ll also find over 7,300 of them strewn across the city. Seven of these restaurants are AAA Diamond-rated facilities that are not easy to get into.
Additionally, the metropolis has 26 Michelin-starred eateries along with 40 restaurants boasting James Beard Awards. The award-winning restaurant continues with 54 Bib Gourmand awards. Taking your pets with you? You have 144 dog-friendly dining facilities to choose from.