Practical Information in Chicago

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Location - Chicago is located in the heart of the United States. Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois, and the third largest city in the United States. Lake Michigan borders the North of the city, and provides a stunning lake view.

Popuplation - According to the 2008 United States Census, Chicago's population is approximately 2.9 million. The greater metropolitan area boosts closer to 9 million residents, making this city the 3rd largest in the US.

Telephone - The country code is 1 for the United States when dialing, and the area codes for Chicago are 773, 708, and 312. Dial 911 from any telephone for a police, hospital, or fire emergency within the US.

Nicknames - The most common used nickname for Chicago is "The Windy City".  The Windy City name was given due largely in part to its politicians back in the late 1800's being braggarts, but spending any time in the city and one might believe the name was given due to the winds off Lake Michigan. Another popular recent nickname would be Chi Town.

Weather - In a normal year, Chicago will experience four distinct seasons: Winter (December to February) is cold, windy, and watch for lots of snow. Spring (March to May) weather can vary and be quite unpredictable, ranging anywhere from cold to warm, let's call it mild weather. Things generally start to heat up at the end of April going into May. Summer (June to August) is hot and sometimes humid and breezy along the lake. Autumn (September to November) starts to cool off again creating mild days and cool nights. 

Currency - In all US states the dollar ($) is the accepted form of currency. Major credit cards and travelers checks are widely accepted at most retail shops, hotels, and restaurants, but it is always advisable to carry a small amount of cash for emergencies. You should have no problems locating an ATM (cashpoint) throughout the city, and most banks are open M - F 8am to 5pm, with some banks having extended hours on Saturday.  

Sports - NFL: Chicago Bears, MLB: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, NBA: Chicago Bulls, HOCKEY: Chicago Blackhawks, and SOCCER: The Chicago Fire

Time - CDT Central Daylight Time or GMT -5 hours in the summer, and CST Central Standard Time or GMT -6 hours in the winter. Daylight savings time starts on March 8, 2009 and ends November 1, 2009.

Fun Facts - Chicago is home to the largest free outdoor food festival called The Taste of Chicago. The first blood bank was created in Chicago. Chicago's Western Avenue is the longest street in the world at 23.5 miles. The Chicago Public Library is the largest public library in the world with over 6 million books. The historic Route 66 begins in Chicago's Grant Park. The first skyscraper, Home Insurance Company, was built in Chicago in 1885.

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