Chicago - City of Broad Shoulders

This course is about Chicago, We will cover the history of the city and region, the politics, corruption, arts, plans, neighborhoods, humor, achievements and the future of the City.


Popular Nicknames for Chicago

Kathleen Holly
Chicago is the largest city in Illinois, widely known for a variety of things such as being an industry hub and a transportation hub. Chicago is famous for its history, sports, entertainment, culture and academics. Because of all these things and many more, there are a variety of nicknames for Chicago. Here are eight popular nicknames for Chicago.
"The Windy City" is one of the most well-known nicknames for Chicago. While there might be various reasons for the nickname, the windy weather that is so common in Chicago is the first thing that comes to mind. Step out onto streets of Chicago any time of the year and you will experience the wind firsthand.
"Second City" is another one of the most recognized nicknames for Chicago. One thing this nickname refers to is how much of the city was rebuilt after a significant section of the city was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in the late 1800s. Today, Chicago also has a popular comedy troupe by the name of Second City.
"Chi-Town" or "Chitown" is one of the most affectionate nicknames for Chicago. This nickname takes the beginning of name of Chicago and adds the companionable ending of town to form a well-used nickname.
"Chicagoland" is one of the nicknames for Chicago that refers not only to Chicago but its metropolitan area as well. When speaking about the city of Chicago along with its surrounding suburbs, this is a suitable nickname to use.
"The Big Onion" is one of the lesser known nicknames for Chicago. This nickname is similar to the nickname of "The Big Apple" for New York.
"My Kind of Town" is one of the nicknames for Chicago that was popularized by Frank Sinatra. You probably can't read the nickname without singing it in your head or maybe even out loud due to the widely recognized lyrics.
"That Toddling Town" is another one of the nicknames for Chicago that Frank Sinatra helped make popular through his music.
"Heart of America" is one of the nicknames for Chicago that refers to Chicago's location in the middle of the United States as well as being a transportation hub for the country.
Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, has many nicknames. These are eight nicknames for Chicago that are popular and widely used.
  • Chicagoland — A term for the city together with its surrounding suburbs. Sometimes the term encompasses the city and the nine counties around it.
Some nicknames are included in Carl Sandburg's 1916 poem "Chicago":
"Hog butcher for the world,
Tool maker, stacker of wheat,
Player with railroads and the nation's freight handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the big shoulders."
Other nicknames are "The Queen of the West" and "The Garden City".

Minor nicknames [edit]

  • "Beirut by the Lake" - From a Wall Street Journal article during the Council Wars of the 1980s.
  • "City in a Garden" - English translation of the Latin motto on the city seal: "Urbs in Horto"
  • "City of Broad Shoulders" - A popular variant of "City of the Big Shoulders"
  • "Heart of America" - Chicago is one of the largest transportation centers in America and its location is near the center of the United States.
  • "Hog Butcher for the World" - Described in a poem by Carl Sandburg.
  • "Paris on the Prairie" - From the 1909 plan for the City of Chicago created by Daniel Burnham.
  • "The Big Onion" - An homage to the original Native American name for the area (shikaakwa, which means "wild onion" in the Miami-Illinois language), in parallel with a popular New York nickname, "The Big Apple"
  • "The Black City" - a reference to the pre-1893 World's Fair Chicago (which site was called "The White City"); the phrase was prominently used in such media as The Devil in the White City
  • "The Chi" (pronounced "shy")- Short for the word 'Chicago'
  • "The Chill or Chi Ill" - Also used by rap musicians from the area (Chill as in Chicago Illinois)
  • "The Jewel of the Midwest" - Often used to describe Chicago and its various tourist destinations

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