Built in the beginning of 1800, CHICAGO, the pulse
of America is considered the nation's last great city. However,
during the thriving Twenties, Chicago's self-image as an unrestrained
free market was pushed to the limit by a new breed of entrepreneurs.
Criminal syndicates and ruthless gangsters like Al Capone and Bugsy
Moran took the city into captivity. Thankfully, these days, the
tourist authorities have played down the mobster era.
Today, Chicago has one of the world's best collections
of modern architecture, from Frank Lloyd Wright houses to the 110-story
Sears Tower that dominates the pancake-flat prairies for hundreds
of miles around. The Loop downtown holds the head offices of many
major US companies and some of the nation's most important commodity
markets, which together handle the buying and selling of one-third
of the world's agricultural and industrial products.
One interesting factor is Chicago is distinctly less expensive than
other US cities from eating out to shopping. The city has a surprisingly
low-key and generally welcoming population.
For visitors, Chicago offers the Art Institute
of Chicago and a wide range of excellent museums, many of which
have one day of free admission per week, restaurants, sports, and
one of the literati cultural activities. Visitors can jive to the
music, with a phenomenal array of jazz and blues clubs packed into
the back rooms of its friendly bars and cafés. The rock bands
are also one of the healthiest in the country with a creative number
of bands having come out of the city in the 1990s, including Smashing
Pumpkins, Material Issue, Veruca Salt and many more.
Visitors can get a real feel of the city, all they
need to do is head to ivy-covered Wrigley Field on a sunny summer
afternoon to catch baseball's Cubs in action, or take a cruise boat
under the bridges of the Chicago River at sunset.