There are a bunch of standard things that come to mind when locals and non-Chicagoans alike think of Chicago: Al Capone, deep dish pizza, soaring skyscrapers, sports teams, corrupt politicians, freezing winters and Oprah, just to name a few.
If you’re so over this narrow and stale view of this multifaceted town, we’ve got some hope for you.
Thanks to your questions about Chicago, the region and its people, we’ve spent the past two years investigating some far-out places and funky moments in Chicago’s past. (You can catch all those stories online here, on our podcast, and you can always ask a question anytime, here.)
In the spirit of this season of giving, we’ve wrapped up an hour’s worth of our favorite stories for you — stories that reveal fun facts and oddities about this town you might not know, even if you consider yourself up on all things Chicago.
Kick back and listen above and then dive deeper into each piece via the links below. We hope these stories get you equipped with enough local trivia prowess to wow the crowd at any gathering — or to defend your choice of calling Chicago home to anyone who dares question you. (And how dare they?!?)
You may not realize:
- Some things can only be found in Chicago
- For nearly a decade Chicago had just one tattoo parlor
- Chicago is the pinball industry capital of the world (Hear a related story that appeared on the 99% Invisible podcast).
- The city’s highest natural point is in Beverly
- The most biodiverse section of Chicago is on the Southeast Side
- Chicago’s namesake wild onion can be found today
- West Ridge and Rogers Park once waged a fight involving cabbages
- A public water pump in a forest preserve is touted as a “fountain of youth”
- Why O’Hare is missing a terminal 4, when it has terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5
And if you like what you’ve heard or read, pass on this gift of Curious City to the Chicagophile in your life! Note: We’re not responsible for friends and family suddenly taking more interest and / or pride in Chicago as a result.
Curious City tweets @WBEZCuriousCity.