Historic Chicago

Immerse yourself in Chicago's history.
By: Maryalice Yakutchik
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'Upscale homes and townhouses, Prairie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA'

Photo by: Bruce Leighty

Bruce Leighty

Chicago's name derives from Native Americans. One generally accepted theory is that "Chicago" comes from the Indian words for wild onion or skunk; another is that the name means great or strong. You can always ask knowledgeable locals what they think, of course: Chicago Greeter is designed to match a friendly, enthusiastic and city-savvy local with visitors for two- to four-hour informal, insider orientations to Chicago's sights. Chicago Greeter highlights more than 40 special interest areas and more than 25 neighborhoods for visitors to explore. Visitors are matched with greeters through an online registration system based on special interest and language.

Stay at The Palmer House Hilton, not only because it's North America's longest continually operating hotel, but also because the brownie was invented here. (History doesn't get much richer than this.)

The Chicago Architecture Foundation's "Devil in the White City Tour" focuses on remarkable events that occurred in Chicago in 1893, notably the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the emergence of America's first mass murderer.

Don't miss:

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio; the Chicago History Museum, where artifacts include the bed on which Abraham Lincoln died and George Washington's compass. The museum features The History Cafe, a restaurant operated by Wolfgang Puck.

Maxwell Street first appears on a Chicago map in 1847. Named for an early settler, it was originally a wooden plank road that ran from the south branch of the Chicago River west to Blue Island Street. This historic "gateway" neighborhood for immigrants is home to the colorful New Maxwell Street Market, Canal Street and Roosevelt Road.

 

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