Here are some Chicago conversation starters, even some the city's locals might not know ...
• Chicago has more than 5500 restaurants, more than 200 theatres, around 200 art galleries, 552 parks and 41km of lakefront including 30km of lakefront bike trails.
• Made a city in 1837, Chicago's nicknames include the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, The Windy City and The City That Works.
• In 1900, Chicago completed a massive and innovative engineering project - reversing the flow of the Chicago River to empty into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan. The main reason was to improve the quality of the city's drinking water.
• Each year, to celebrate St Patrick's Day, the Chicago River is dyed green.
• The historic Route 66 starts in Chicago at Grant Park, in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.
• The world's first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built in Chicago in 1885.
• The 110-storey Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Its elevators are among the fastest in the world, as fast as 487m a minute.
• The first Ferris wheel debuted in Chicago at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Today, Chicago's Navy Pier has a 15-storey Ferris wheel, modelled after the original one.
• "Jazz" was coined in Chicago in 1914. The city's musicians included band leader Benny Goodman and drummer Gene Krupa.
• The city has the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris.
• Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901 and went on to study drawing at Chicago's McKinley High School and the Institute of Fine Arts.
• More than 48 million people visit annually.
Further information: See DiscoverAmerica.com for more on visiting Chicago.