chicago bean


From the iconic “bean” to its culture and food, there are so many things to do and explore in Chicago. And with such a rich history and being the birthplace of many innovations, there is always something new to learn about the Windy City. So whether you’re a long-time resident or a recent transplant, here are 12 fun facts about Chicago you may not know.

chicago bean

1. The world’s first skyscraper was in Chicago

Built in 1885, the Home Insurance building made its debut as the world’s first modern skyscraper. The building was ten stories tall and influenced the infrastructure and architecture of major U.S. cities that we see today.

2. The Chicago River flows backwards

The 156 mile-long river runs backwards through the city into the Mississippi River rather than north into Lake Michigan. The decision to redirect the river was made to protect Chicago’s primary source of drinking water from pollutants and the possibility of water-borne illnesses.

3. Chicago is the birthplace of the famous Twinkie

The Twinkie launched in 1930 and was originally filled with banana cream, but was later on replaced with vanilla cream. The creator, a manager at Hostess named Jimmy Dewar, got inspiration for the name from an ad for “Twinkle Toe Shoes.”

4. Each year, the river is dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day

Chicago has become well known across the U.S. for its grand celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The city hosts a range of festivities all weekend long, such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown, but there are also two other parades that take place over the holiday weekend. The city began dyeing the river in 1962, and it has become a long-standing and famous tradition.

5. Route 66 begins in Chicago

The infamous Route 66 runs from downtown Chicago to Santa Monica, CA. It holds a special place in American history as it was one of the “best and most scenic routes” and symbolized the evolution of infrastructure from dirt roads to highways.

6. The first televised presidential debate was broadcasted from Chicago

In 1960, CBS broadcasted the presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon for the first time in American history.

7. There is a large arts scene in Chicago with more than 500 public art pieces and installations displayed throughout the city

As part of the City of Chicago’s Public Art Program, these 500+ works of art are displayed in over 150 facilities throughout Chicago such as libraries and police stations. There are also over 60 museums in the city that exhibit a wide range of art and history.

8. The brownie was born in Chicago

Another delicious dessert staple that was created in Chicago was the brownie. It was invented in 1893 at the Palmer House by Bertha Palmer as a new dessert for the World’s Columbian Exposition.

9. There is green space galore spread all throughout the city

You’ll find over 600 parks throughout Chicago with more than 8,800 acres of green space for walking, riding bikes, and other outdoor recreation.

10. You can thank the Windy City for spray paint

If you’ve ever tackled a DIY project with spray paint, you have Chicagoan Edward Seymour to thank. Created in 1949 by the suggestion of his wife, Seymour mixed paint and aerosol in a can. The first color was aluminum.

11. The 360 Chicago Observation Deck offers one-of-a-kind views of the city from 1,030 feet in the sky

Located in the John Hancock Center on the 94th floor, you can actually see all four nearby states on a clear day including Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

12. The Ferris wheel was designed and built in Chicago

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. constructed the Ferris wheel during the World’s Fair in 1893.



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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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