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Revision as of 04:15, 26 July 2010 by (talk) (New section: Hyperbole in the lead)
How to help the Wikitravel Chicago project

The Chicago article is a showcase for Wikitravel. The coverage is extensive, perhaps more so than for any other city. Updating and refining existing content is still needed, but before adding new content check that the information is not already in the article, and that there aren't already some examples of what you are adding. We want to avoid a guide that is too bloated or crowded, and we don't need to list every hotel, bar or restaurant to have a excellent guide. In addition the maps are so saturated that it may be difficult to add further listings to them.

If you are seeking to help, check the to do list. We need help to keep information current, so if you have current knowledge of a section of town, please scan the appropriate district article for out of date information, e.g., listings for businesses that have closed, outdated contact information, CTA station closures, etc.

If there is something important that is omitted, feel free to raise it on the discussion page, if you have found a hidden gem in your Chicago travels, let us know about it.

But above all, please do join the effort to keep this the best travel guide to Chicago there ever was.


To Do List

Here's what I think we need:

  • Itineraries for districts outside the city center
  • Improved coverage of Little Village shopping
  • Improved coverage of "do" activities in the Southwest Side


Many suburbs are covered on the Chicagoland page and have only one attraction of note. However, there are a few that deserve fuller coverage as a complement to the Chicago set of articles, and need work accordingly. Post 'em here (but only if you're willing to work on them).

Last updated by Peter Talk 04:04, 20 May 2009 (EDT)

Article status

Star Article Status

surely it is, or nearly is at that point, tonnes of maps (including slightly concerning one of crimes per a neighbourhood!) it feels like a guidebook (with more information and better written than some lonely planet and rough guide books) - what do other people think?

Prof Jack 17:59, 10 December 2007 (EST)

It already meets the criteria for certain, but Marc and I still have a bunch of content we'll be adding before the end of this month. I'd like to hold off on the nomination until then. --Peter Talk 13:40, 11 December 2007 (EST)
We are there! --Peter Talk 17:09, 7 March 2008 (EST)

Star nomination

I believe this long article is completely MoSed, has several nice maps, lots of good pictures, and (IMO) better quality information than any other guide to the city I've seen. That and every district article is at least guide status. If others agree, this will become our second huge city star. --Peter Talk 17:25, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Support. By the numbers, Chicago has 22 district/airport articles (seven stars, fifteen guides - not counting the nominations below), 2 itineraries (both stars) and a travel topic (also a star), all of which have maps. The main article itself has a great overview map, district map, and even a crime map. The writing is lively and ties the areas of the city together, it's up to date, and I'm quite proud of the work we've done with it. Gorilla Jones 18:42, 18 February 2008 (EST)
  • Support. You guys have done an absolutely magnificent job on this city. You've set a new standard for our large cities with thorough listings, great pictures and maps, and engaging writing. I don't think it would be much of an exaggeration to say that this is probably the best guide on Chicago ever written, period. And congratulations on getting it through Wikitravel Press! You guys have really outdone yourselves and done a great service to both Chicago and Wikitravel. PerryPlanet 01:42, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Anyone else care to pipe in and just say "support?" This would be only the second huge city star—kind of a big deal by WT standards, I think. --Peter Talk 14:13, 6 March 2008 (EST)
On a second look at the page, I've noticed that the Get In by train section seems oddly lacking. Not a big enough deal to make me change my vote of support, but I feel like there could be more info there (Addresses? Phone numbers? List of Amtrak routes which serve the station? I dunno...).
That's a fair critique. I'm avoiding listing Amtrak routes, because that would quickly turn into a list of all major US cities save perhaps Las Vegas, oddly. The lack of a Metra System map was actually kind of glaring, in retrospect, but I've put that in now, as well as the main out-of-Chicagoland termini, and phone #s for both companies. --Peter Talk 17:52, 6 March 2008 (EST)
Awesome, I'm satisfied now. :) PerryPlanet 18:13, 6 March 2008 (EST)

External research links

I'm moving Kevin Forsyth's link to the Blues Brothers filming locations map here, because it conflicts with our external links policy. As much as I like the map and his page, I can't really countenance going against such a time honored policy, nor can we nominate the Chicago article for star status as long as it violates policy. Hopefully interested parties may find it here. Also, it could be adapted for WT format, either by adding especially noteworthy locations to the district articles, or ideally by creating a Blues Brothers driving itinerary (which would be awesome). --Peter Talk 14:55, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Jazz truths

I understand the anon objection to the phrase "the truth of jazz," since it is a bit fluffy. But the anon's replacement sentence, "Chicago is the home of the blues, the heart of comedy, and the idea of the skyscraper," is an ugly list and a considerable degradation in style. Perhaps we could come up with something to replace the truth of jazz, preserving the existing syntax? My brain's fried right now (reading too much Machiavelli) and I can't seem to come up with anything better. --Peter Talk 17:59, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Taxi tipping

Do taxi meters include tips or are those extra?-- 23:54, 23 May 2008 (EDT)

They're extra. Gorilla Jones 00:56, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

CTA rail map

The CTA map needs updating. The Blue line no longer makes any runs along the 54/Cermak (Douglas) branch, which is now exclusively served by the Pink line. Eco84 22:09, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for pointing this out! Unfortunately, this is the only graphic used in the Chicago guide for which we don't have an svg source (argh...), so it'll be a pain to update. I'm going to dawdle and see whether someone from Wikipedia doesn't take care of this first, but if not, I'll create a new CTA map by the end of the month. (Note to self: also remember to update this change on the Far West Side map.) --Peter Talk 19:40, 4 July 2008 (EDT)
The version of this map on Wikimedia Commons has now been updated by myself. It still needs to be updated here. Eco84 01:38, 8 July 2008 (EDT)
Alright, I uploaded the new version to Wikitravel Shared, so everything should be okay now. Eco84 22:15, 9 July 2008 (EDT)
Great! Thanks for taking care of that. (I still have to remember that Far West Side map change, though.) --Peter Talk 01:38, 10 July 2008 (EDT)

Long mug of a consulates list

The consulates list is long. Would it make sense/be acceptable to move it to a subpage of Chicago, dedicated solely to the list? --Peter Talk 20:04, 11 August 2008 (EDT)

In any rate, I supressed the list from appearing in the WTP print guide. --Peter Talk 14:56, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Why are taxi fares being removed?

Gorilla Jones removed on 18:52, 15 October 2008 a list of taxi fare web apps for Chicago. Why have they been removed? In Wikitravel:External links it is not explicitly forbidden (in the What not to link to section) to have links to services like these; although I agree these may not be strictly primary sources, they do provide VERY useful information for visitors of Chicago.

It can be argued that they qualify under the External link usage, In-article text links section

Links within the article text should be kept to a minimum and should point only to primary sources. Examples of valid links might include airline companies, bus companies, and sites offering daily updates and warnings about a destination's condition

Moreover, just in the next paragraph there is a list of actual taxi companies of Chicago, so I do not see the sense in allowing taxi companies to be listed, but not services that will inform about exact prices to expect from these taxi companies.

So once again, I do not understand why this list of links are not acceptable. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Because those aren't primary sources, and the actual taxi companies are. It's as simple as that. That last clause of the section you quoted refers to severe cases like the roads to Siem Reap or civil unrest in Myanmar, not whether you're in danger of being overcharged by a taxi driver. If you disagree with the external links policy, please discuss on the talk page there. Gorilla Jones 20:22, 16 October 2008 (EDT)
I do not want to enter into a flame war here, but, quoting myself although I agree these may not be strictly primary sources, they do provide VERY useful information for visitors of Chicago. There is the textual description of the fare system, but that will help no one new to the city to get an estimate of how much she can expect to pay for a taxi. It's pretty much a perfectly accurate but mostly useless piece of information. If this is to be an useful travel guide, then VERY useful tools that provide actual information like these should be allowed to be linked. I know that the external links policy page is where this issue has to be brought up, so no need to repeat that. But I want to clarify my position also here. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)


Is there anything that you Chicagonians need added to the Chicago section that I could look for? Or are ye guys pretty much set?

Edmontonenthusiast 19:19, 22 October 2008 (EDT)Edmontonenthusiast

Aside from keeping listings current, there really isn't much to be done here. Although we are short on good pictures for the Near West Side, so if you have them, they would be appreciated ;) --Peter Talk 19:28, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
Well I have never been to the 'Windy City'. Like, I mean, I think Chicago is beautiful, and whatnot and I'd not mind researching some stuff for this article-but I have no pics :(. Sorry! Keep smiling, Edmontonenthusiast 11:50, 3 November 2008 (EST).


Thank you so much for whoever wrote the Understand section. It reads well and is very informatvie & inspiring. happy holidays, edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 12:14, 25 December 2008 (EST).

B&B aggregator

I removed a B & B aggregator that was added to the overview article today, but a casual glance at the site revealed some inns that we have not included in the Chicago guide that probably should be added. So I'll leave this link [1] here for research. --Peter Talk 12:41, 18 February 2009 (EST)

Get Around - Street "numbers"

The section on navigating Chicago is confusing (and I might be contributing to the obfuscation), but here's how I read the following:

"Each street is assigned a number based on its distance from the zero point of the address system, the intersection of State Street and Madison Street. A street with a W (west) or E (east) number runs north-south, while a street with a N (north) or S (south) number runs east-west. A street's number is usually written on street signs at intersections, below the street name."

This is not talking about house numbers, it's talking about the numbers assigned to streets. One example given in the article is Western Avenue, at 2400 W. This number tells us that Western (a north-south street) is 24 blocks west of center, that it crosses east-west streets at the 2400 address. Yes, it's confusing and seems counter-intuitive the way it's written. I'm still pondering a better way to phrase it. Kevin Forsyth 08:34, 6 March 2009 (EST)

Hmm. So you are saying that each street is assigned a number? If so, is this relevant for the traveler? I would think that the main thing is for travelers to understand where the address is located that they are traveling to, or for that matter that an north-south street is named N or S depending on what side of the city you are on. That's relevant for very practical things, like telling a cab company where you are, or making sure you go to the correct address. --Peter Talk 16:34, 6 March 2009 (EST)
Yes, each street is assigned a number: Racine=1200W, North=1600N, Cermak=2200S, etc. I think it is relevant for a traveler. For example, let's say you want to go to 2801 N. Pulaski. Knowing that Pulaski=4000W is helpful because that gives you a grid coordinate to aim for — (2800N, 4000W) — and enables you to estimate your distance from it. Knowing that Diversey=2800N gives you a major intersection (Diversey and Pulaski) which improves your chances with cab drivers who might be insufficiently familiar with obscure side streets (Pulaski not being an example of this). If you still doubt the relevance, check out the CTA: their maps are full of green numbers alongside the major street names, and every train station is marked with its position on the grid — not its street address.
That said, the paragraph remains confusing. As is, perhaps, this explanation. Kevin Forsyth 13:55, 10 March 2009 (EDT)
That makes a lot of sense, but I still worry that this information might simply overwhelm a visitor, especially since it is easy to get mixed up with the address system, which I think is more important. Visitors will not likely know these grid numbers, and even if they did, it would probably be easier for them to just check the maps throughout the guides which have relevant locations marked. This just seems to me like a level of expertise beyond the needs of travelers. I'll leave it alone for other opinions to decide, though. --Peter Talk 15:02, 10 March 2009 (EDT)
Fair enough — as it's written, I agree it's overwhelming and/or overkill. I'll ponder a fix/clean-up/simplification. One way or another I think it's worth explaining to visitors why the street signs at major intersections (and train platforms) have these inscrutable numbers on them. Kevin Forsyth 13:04, 11 March 2009 (EDT)

Putting in clearer images in the Chicago guide?

Wow, Chicago is such a great guide and I'd love to contribute. Is it worth substituting some current images in the articles with more fresher and clearer Flickr CC images? I changed the first image in the Chicago article but I'm hesitant to do more unless everyone is ok with it? Thanks. --MarinaK 18:59, 9 March 2009 (EDT)MarinaK.

Sorry, but that image was awful. If the sky is that yellow anywhere on Earth, I'm glad it isn't in Chicago, and angle made my neck hurt. We can always use more images, but the district articles are generally more in need of help than the main article. Gorilla Jones 19:02, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I just thought it was an unusual and striking image for Chicago rather than the standard 'Chicago skyline at night' (which is still quite beautiful). Point taken though! : ) --MarinaK 19:08, 9 March 2009 (EDT)MarinaK.
Heh. Thanks — sorry if that came off as harsh! Gorilla Jones 19:11, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I think a good number of the images throughout the Chicago articles could stand to be replaced with higher resolution, sharper images. Especially those taken by me with a crappy digital camera. I'm a partisan for the composition of the lead image, though (which is not surprising, since I took it). The night skyline itself is generic, although that particular view of the historic Michigan Ave front has a lot of Chicago soul in it, but more importantly the subject is more the Frank Gehry Bridge. It looks welcoming. The Sears Tower photo you uploaded is a cool shot, but suffers from the coloring and a general lack of love for the Sears Tower.
On a broader note, no need to be shy about editing the Chicago articles, just keep in mind that new edits to them are probably patrolled more rigorously than for any other articles on Wikitravel ;) --Peter Talk 20:20, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Non-Stop Flights

I've removed the lengthy lists of cities that have non-stop flights to O'Hare, Midway, and Milwaukee's Hiawatha Airport. In Hiawatha's case, that info belongs in Milwaukee, not here. For the other two, those lists belong in O'Hare International Airport and Chicago/Midway Area respectively, although I'd argue that those lists are not as vital for Chicago as for some smaller cities — as demonstrated by the lengths of the lists, plenty of airlines fly direct here. Gorilla Jones 00:36, 2 April 2009 (EDT)

Milwaukee airport

I removed this: Midwest Airlines [2] has its main hub at Milwaukee. AirTran serves 14 destinations from Milwaukee, versus 5 from Chicago Midway.

Milwaukee has its own article, which is where a list of airlines serving the Milwaukee airport logically belongs. There is no need to duplicate that information here. It's fine to note that Milwaukee's airport can be considered as an alternative to Chicago's two airports — although I've never heard of someone actually doing it — but when you're getting into which airlines fly there and how often they fly, that belongs on Milwaukee, not here. Gorilla Jones 13:58, 4 April 2009 (EDT)

I think it was probably added by someone who is very proud of Milwaukee, and since the Milwaukee article lists Chicago as a Get in option, they felt it might also be worthy to add Mitchell to the Chicago article. Just a guess. I'd agree with you folks don't really look to Milwaukee is a true alternative to "get in." If you can't find a flight to ORD or Midway, or train, bus, etc., then it's probably more likely to see snowballs in July.Zepppep 15:54, 29 January 2010 (EST)


While the discussion on where to place this information is ongoing, I'd like to bring up a related idea. The Consulate sections here and elsewhere strike me as dull and lifeless, and very boring to scroll through. I've experimented with a way to breathe some life into these sections: User:Jtesla16/Sandbox. I think it makes the section more fun and doesn't take away from any of the value, thoughts? --Jtesla16 22:07, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

Very nice! I'd love to see that implemented. Gorilla Jones 22:55, 8 April 2009 (EDT)
Definitely—I'm intrigued that those listing tags still work when embedded in a table! --Peter Talk 02:31, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

Makes no sense

What's the point of being able to edit articles here or on Wikipedia when an administrator is simply going to revert it back? I can understand if something silly or absurd is written, but when you are writing a logical statement in a better form than it currently is and its just changed back, well,... I don't know. Are the administrators getting offended? The point of this website is to be able to edit sometimes, right?. So when Wikipedia asks for money to continue operating, I think hmmm. Even if you change a statement like say, "Chicago is a large city" to "Chicago is the nation's third largest city", within seconds its changed back. Why should I contribute to this when its not living up to its initial function? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

This website has no connection to Wikipedia, despite using the MediaWiki software, so nobody here can speak to what happens there. Wikitravel isn't asking for money to continue operating. You may want to read Wikitravel:Welcome, Wikipedians, Wikitravel:Be fair, and Wikitravel:Tone to understand why the kind of writing that's done on Wikipedia differs from what is done here. Wikipedia requires a neutral point of view; this site places an emphasis on lively writing, and reducing lively writing to bare "logical statements" isn't preferred. Also, if you add duplicate information to an article of this length — or references to articles that don't exist — that's likely to get reverted as well. Gorilla Jones 23:06, 19 May 2009 (EDT)
Nothing more frustrating then your first attempt at editing being largely reverted, though...
This is my first visit to the Talk page for Chicago - and my take on it is that it seems to be crying out "Don't edit me" - unless you are local, and know something has changed. I'd like to think that every traveller to a place has at least one bit of good info to point the next traveller to, or can clarify something they didn't understand. Who wants a travel guide just updated by locals? --Inas 00:13, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Only one person is ever going to get to note that the Blue Line goes to O'Hare. Everyone else has to find a different piece of info to add if they want to contribute to this guide. All we can do is note in the edit summary and/or their talk page why the duplicate information isn't there any more. There are plenty of areas ripe for contributions from travelers, such as new bars, restaurants, and tourist attractions, especially in the district articles. See for example Chicago/Lakeview-North Center, which took a huge jump in size thanks to a slew of bars from a recent contributor. I do invite your feedback on the disclaimer at the top of this page if it comes off as forbidding. Gorilla Jones 01:13, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Well that comment in itself sounds more inviting, in addition to being quite down-to-earth. I'd personally steal your words and put them at the top. We're looking for new and better content. I've no problem with setting the bar high for contributions to guide level articles. They should be formatted well and maintain the high standard of the article. --Inas 01:34, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
The intent of the disclaimer was mostly just to soften the landing for when newly added content is drastically cut down in size. The tendency of wikis is to grow, but at a certain point you can get too much content. Cramming more hotels onto the Chicago/Near North map, for example, is only going to make the map less readable. As for the "locals" bit, I think I wrote that only because I was not a local to some of the areas I wrote about and hoped someone would proof my work! But absolutely, being a neighborhood resident is in no way a prerequisite to having good information.
Please feel free to edit that blurb further. --Peter Talk 04:09, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Done. --inas 20:29, 12 July 2009 (EDT)
Wikitravel is about lively writing (as noted above). Is it just me, or are the African-American history and Sports sections a bit unlively, if not overly long? I think the former should be a)shortened, as it seems Wikiepedia-like b)put into Understand perhaps because there is only one thing mentioned in all those hundreds of words that actually belongs in See (DuSable Museum, which isn't even mentioned in the See--Museum subsection!) and the Sports section seems to be a bit consumed with post-Jordan-era language. Zepppep 22:28, 20 November 2009 (EST)

I'm a bit confused — the Sports section has the Super Bowl Shuffle, fists banging on tables, and expressions of tribal fury. That's not lively? Also, for pre-Jordan language, it has Butkus, Singletary, Payton, the NHL's Original Six, and a dogged loyalty to "Comiskey". That seems like a pretty fair among of history, considering that the post-Jordan era is all that a visitor can experience without aid of a time machine.

As for African-American history, you might click through to some of the district articles linked in that section (especially Bronzeville), as there's a lot more than the DuSable Museum. Gorilla Jones 00:16, 21 November 2009 (EST)

A-American was what seemed a bit Wikipedia-like (e.g., Great Migration), the Sports section a bit wordy. I like to call myself an amateur historian, and considering visitors to Chicago might a) find the extensive background a bit overwhelming or b) non-essential and therefore might ignore it (which is totally fine, considering people can decide for themselves which info. is helpful to them but begs the question if it's ignored, just how relevant is the info. in travel guide?). The fact it's in Do and not Understand might be a bit confusing for travelers, or at least it is to me, considering at this point in time there's only 1 actual place, DuSable, mentiond to actually do something in and the other info. seems to give good context to the understanding of various districts, so just wondering why this info. is in this spot. Another point I was trying to make (albeit politely as I realize Chicago is a Huge City and it makes sense things can't be lined up in a bullet list all the time and some context and interest-sparking are pinnacles of good guides) is it seems Wikipedia-like and since folks who are seriously making a (first time) visit to the Windy City are finding Wikitravel online and thus have a wealth of other sources at their fingertips should the article focus more on the items that can be easily found on Wikipedia or Encarta books, or more so on insights and tips that would be helpful to the traveler about ____?

Lastly, I agree detailed info. about such and such museum is fine to have in the district article, but perhaps mentioning the museum in bold font on the article page might give interested travelers a better idea of what there is to DO in the city pertaining to the subsection at-hand (sometimes the names of museums/centers are pretty self-explanatory and thus maybe the word count can be reduced a bit). Zepppep 13:16, 23 November 2009 (EST)

I was a little worried that I was writing too much in the African-American History section at first, but as the guide has come along, I've grown pretty fond of it, especially as it provides a lot of context for many of the district articles. As far as I've been able to tell, Wikitravel is the only travel guide to the city which so much as acknowledges the fact that the city is plurality black, and which covers black neighborhoods and African-American culture (and food!) in a serious way. We cover Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Chatham-South Shore, Rogers Park, the Far West Side, the Southwest Side, and the Far Southeast Side in depth, when no other guide even bothered to cover them—even Hyde Park! (Fodors & LP must be scrambling to cover Hyde Park now that Obama's been elected...) In a city where so much of the urban mythology, culture, music (!), and cuisine come squarely from African-American traditions, I think the section is useful, and represents part of what really makes our guide stand out. But of course, if you have recommendations on how to punch up the prose, that would be most welcome. --Peter Talk 03:50, 21 November 2009 (EST)

Home of the Blues?????

Well, Urban Blues perhaps, but the blues worked its way up to Chicago from the South so claiming Chicago as the home of the blues is pushing it a bit?Shep 15:29, 3 June 2009 (EDT)

It's certainly not the birthplace of the blues generally, but the electric blues (i.e., the Chicago blues) was born here, and was what popularized the music. There's more than one claim to the moniker, but for Chicago it's a commonplace motto. --Peter Talk 16:33, 3 June 2009 (EDT)
Home isn't necessarily where you were born — it's where you live. With the largest annual blues festival in the world, the Blues Brothers, "Sweet Home Chicago", Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Chess Records, and the dozens of blues clubs covered in this guide (see Chicago#Jazz_and_Blues for a start), this is definitely where the blues lives. It's just on tour everywhere else. Gorilla Jones 18:55, 3 June 2009 (EDT)


I just noticed that this article never actually mentions that the city is in Illinois. It's in the breadcrumbs, but that's about it. Is that intentional? LtPowers 15:45, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

It's pretty explicit in the Learn and African-American History sections, but yeah, it would be good to have it mentioned directly in the beginning of the understand section (shouldn't be too hard to do). The "Chicago is in Illinois" bit disappeared when the intro was rewritten (since that "X is in Y" formula is terribly boring). --Peter Talk 16:32, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, I actually stumbled onto it because I was trying to punch up the intro to Walt Disney World/Hollywood Studios and was hoping to find star articles that deviated from the traditional phrasing. =) LtPowers 16:50, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
It wasn't intentional, although there has been a Chicago vs Rest of Illinois split throughout their mutual history, which probably influenced how the article was framed. Anyway, I like the way that Peter worked the state into 'Understand'. And kudos, Lt, on the effort to get Wikitravel away from these horribly bland "X is a thing in Y, Z" intros. Gorilla Jones 17:46, 22 June 2009 (EDT)


Under the "By Car" segment it states "Chicagoans have a maddening habit of referring to some expressways by their names, not the numbers used..." Well, this is actually not a maddening habit for Chicagoans because they all know the names of their expressways and refer to them as such. Its not appropriate to say its "maddening" when its something the whole Chicago metropolitain region does and is very familiar with. A more appropriate statement would be, "Unlike many other cities, Chicagoans tend to refer to their expressways by their names instead of numbers. You would be wise to make yourself familiar with the name of the designated numbered expressway if you intend to travel by car during your stay". This way it doesn't make it seem like the entire region is doing something wrong when, in fact, they're not. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

The point is that it's maddening for non-Chicagolanders. Please see Wikitravel:Tone; lively writing is encouraged. LtPowers 16:19, 15 July 2009 (EDT)

Okay. I read Wikitravel:Tone and I get what you're saying. But just like in New York City, they tend to use the name as well... i.e. the Van Wyck, Brooklyn-Queens, Cross Bronx, etc. Some cities simply prefer names over numbers. Los Angeles, to a degree, will also use names: The Santa Monica Freeway, the Hollywood Freeway, the Pasadena Freeway, Long Beach Freeway, Pomona Freeway, etc. And in these cities, the names are also on the expressway signs, along with the number. But if this is the statement that will be used ("its maddening"), then it should be under the New York City article as well sense they do the same thing. This really appears to be a preference that the nation's three largest and most dominate cities do. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

It would be better that we find the creativity to use original writing in each guide. I think Chicagoans are not an oversensitive bunch—we should be able to suffer this slight. And please sign your posts. --Peter Talk 17:51, 15 July 2009 (EDT)
Does the Brooklyn-Queens not run between Brooklyn and Queens? Is the Hollywood Freeway not a means of getting to Hollywood? In Chicago, the Dan Ryan doesn't start in, go through, or end at anything called Dan Ryan, so it's not exactly the same thing. Gorilla Jones 18:35, 15 July 2009 (EDT)

Your right. Chicagoans are not a sensitive bunch so it can be overlooked. But I must say to Gorilla Jones, it is actually the same thing. Bottom line, numbers aren't used, names are. Chicago calls many of its highways after people, but it also has directional highway names like Lake Shore Dr (which runs along the lake shore from north to south), and the Chicago Skyway (which carries Indianians into Chicago. This highway was built by the city of Chicago). And while New York uses mostly directional "names" (still not numbers, however), lets not forget New York has the Dr Martin Luther King Jr highway, the JFK Expressway, and its West Side Highway is alternately called the Joe DiMaggio Highway. So while one city mostly calls its expressways after people with a few named after destinations, and the other names them after destinations with a few named after people, both Chicago and New York have come to the same conclusion: They don't like calling them by numbers. But as I said above, it can be overlooked.

The JFK Expressway goes to JFK Airport, I don't think I've ever heard anyone (even the most rabid Yankees fan) use the West Side Highway's "official" name, and I'm not aware of any MLK Jr. Highway in NYC... so these may not be the best counterexamples to use. Additional names get tacked on to many a New York surface street, but are near-universally ignored and don't exclude the numbered name. - Dguillaime 19:24, 15 July 2009 (EDT)

It goes to the JFK Airport but its named after John F Kennedy. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

OK...and what is the JFK Airport named after? Some other fellow with the initials J-F-K? Look, names in and of themselves aren't a problem — names that bear no relation to local geography are confusing. That's the issue. Gorilla Jones 20:16, 15 July 2009 (EDT)
Think Chicago or N'Yoik is bad? Go for a spin in Singapore, where the expressways are near-exclusively referred to as PIE, ECP, CTE, AYE, KJE, KPE, SLE, TPE and MCE — and most people don't even know what the abbreviations stand for! Here's a typical road sign: [3] Jpatokal 00:55, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

Seems to me the entire debate was about cities using names instead of numbers for expressways; not a sub-discussion on what type of names are used. So in that regard, both New York and Chicago use names of people and/or directions for their expressways. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Please sign your posts --Peter Talk 20:03, 30 July 2009 (EDT)


I'm moving this list to the Talk page — though some additions were good, a travel guide doesn't need an encyclopedic list, and some of these are barely associated with Chicago. (North by Northwest is New York, Rushmore, and a corn field a lot more than it's Chicago.) Fiddle with my choices as you see fit. Gorilla Jones 00:09, 16 October 2009 (EDT)

Other films that prominently feature Chicago include The Fugitive (and it's sequel U.S. Marshals), Road To Perdition, North By Northwest, While You Were Sleeping, Payback, Wicker Park, My Best Friend's Wedding, Mercury Rising, Red Dawn, Showdown In Little Tokyo, What Women Want, The Package, and the greatest Patrick Swayze hillbilly ninja v. Italian mob film of all time, Next of Kin.


Re: [4], my guess is that the IP thought that the word "idea" was a little bland after using such evocative phrases as "truth of jazz" and "heart of comedy". (But at least it keeps the parallel construction, so I agree that it's better than having nothing there at all.) Is there a loftier noun that could be used to describe the skyscrapers? Engage a pun by saying "height of architecture" or something like that?

(On a related note, the lack of a descriptor before "blues" also rubs me the wrong way as it sounds clunky when it's followed by those "___ of ___" constructions.)

-- LtPowers 08:37, 5 January 2010 (EST)

It's the home of the blues? That's actually the adage from which the following metaphors are inspired.
I rather like "idea," and Marc's nicely built some continuity with that phrase elsewhere in the guide. If I were going to try and find fault with one of the descriptors, it would be "truth," but I think we should resist the urge to wikittack the few turns of phrases on site that aspire to "speak above a whisper." It's extremely easy to do, but I don't think we'll benefit from it. (Lest I be misunderstood, I'm not at all pointing fingers, just making a point.) --Peter Talk 14:49, 5 January 2010 (EST)
I was reading it as "is the home of the blues and [the home of] the truth of jazz" rather than "is the home of the blues and [is] the truth of jazz." Honestly, I don't even know what the latter would mean. =) As for "idea", it's fine if you like it; it just strikes me as more pedestrian than the abstractions that precede it. LtPowers 15:47, 5 January 2010 (EST)


Chicago's summers are not disgustingly hot. They are hot and humid at times. "Disgustingly hot" would be more identifiable with Phoenix, or pretty much any South Texas city or South Florida city, like Houston and Miami. I have been in Chicago in the summer when it was just 81 degrees, and I have been there when it was 91. But every day or every summer in Chicago is not like that, so by definition that does not make their summer's disgustingly hot. Phoenix, Miami, and Houston, however, ARE like that every day of the summer for every year. Therefore, their articles should have the term "disgustingly hot". This needs to be changed. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

I'm inclined to agree that it should be changed. The lake keeps things pretty nice for people used to far worse summers. The fact that swimming is a good cool off option makes it all the more an appealing part of the year from my perspective. (I can't believe, btw, that you are still pushing that taxi madness—you need to explore the city a bit more, my friend.) --Peter Talk 21:39, 12 January 2010 (EST)
The fact that this anonymous user keeps trying to insert false and frankly dangerous information about taxis casts aspersions over the worth of everything else he or she has to say. Nevertheless, while this article need not be married to the term "disgustingly hot" if there's a better descriptive, there is more to climate than 'degrees' — the reason all the old folks go to Phoenix is because it's a dry heat, cool in the shade, low humidity. And the argument that Chicago can't be called hot because other cities are hotter is absurd. If that's true, why would we describe Miami as hot when Mexico City is so much hotter? Why would we describe Mexico City as hot when Vientiane is so much hotter? Answer: because the articles are independent of each other. Gorilla Jones 23:13, 12 January 2010 (EST)
It should also be noted that the anonymous user has employed inaccurate terms above — the article does not say that "Chicago's summers are disgustingly hot." It says that "Many days in July and August are disgustingly hot." So the anonymous user has built an argument on a false premise and is arguing against a phrasing that does not actually exist. Gorilla Jones 23:21, 12 January 2010 (EST)
Hmm, you are correct as usual. I'm tempted to add a little non-weather-related plug for the summer in that section, though. Summer, especially late summer, is the one time of the year when I feel unambivalently happier to be in Chicago than anywhere else in the world. --Peter Talk 23:48, 12 January 2010 (EST)

First of all, I never insert false information. If you walk away with nothing else, at least walk away with that. I did not say Chicago cannot be called hot in summer. It can be called "hot and humid at times in the summer", that phrasing would be better. I said it shouldn't be called "disgustingly hot" because if you use that term, you have nowhere else to go when describing the summers of cities like Phoenix, Houston or Miami, which are actually "disgustingly hot" in the summer (dry heat or not for Phoenix).

And as far as the taxi situation, ok here we go: The article states "outside of the downtown, North Side, Near West, and Near South sides you will likely have greater difficulty hailing a taxi directly from the street". Well look at a map of the city of Chicago. All those aforementioned areas added together constitute roughly half of the city's land area! Then add to that several upper-class and middle-class neighborhoods on the South Side and Southwest like Hyde Park, Kenwood, Chatham, and Beverly, to name a few, where hailing taxis are easy too. Plus the upper and middle class sections of the Northwest Side and you technically have covered almost the entire city. Now of course, there will be several lower class areas where taxis themselves may not be as numerous in numbers, but when they do ride through the streets of those lower class areas, they still will sometimes stop if hailed. This is no different than New York City where taxis can be hailed, and are more numerous in Manhattan but less so in the Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island. New York City's article doesn't state "outside of Manhattan taxis may be more difficult to hail from the street", so there should be no reason Chicago's article should have wording stating its difficult to hail a cab outside what really is a large portion of Chicago. In fact, it may be easier to hail a cab in the entire city of Chicago versus the entire city of New York because taxis are freely hailed in about half of Chicago's land area, and in New York City taxis concentrate on Manhattan only, which is not half of New York City's land area. Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C. are considered American cities where taxis can be hailed from the street. Sorry for the long reply, but you asked.

As usual, your arguments seem irreconcilable with reality as I understand it. I've made a map of the city (about 30, actually), you can view it here. What you are calling roughly half the city is actually less than a tenth of it... And did you miss my story on your talk page? To recap: taxis won't come pick you up even if you call in vast portions of the city! It has nothing to do with the "class" of the neighborhood, it's just a matter of fact that you won't see a taxi drive by in most of the city outside the center, even waiting half an hour on a main thoroughfare. And yes, that goes for Hyde Park and Beverly too. I'm really bewildered that you are still pushing this, and that you continue to edit war to try and reinsert it. --Peter Talk 22:44, 27 January 2010 (EST)
Indeed, it's wildly inaccurate to claim those areas constitute half or even a quarter of the city, which calls into question the writer's basic familiarity with the city. And, once again, there are presently no plans to describe Miami's weather in the Chicago article, just as there are no plans to describe Jakarta's weather in the Miami article, which would require us to describe Miami's weather as mild. The terminology has no relationship. I fully expect that a complete New York article would say that city has the best pizza in the nation. So does this one. Doesn't matter. Gorilla Jones 23:45, 27 January 2010 (EST)

If you are looking at your Chicago maps correctly, you will see that the downtown area, the North Side, Near West, and Near South sides added together do not constitute just a tenth of the city's land area. The Near North Side and the North Side stretch from Division all the way to the Howard border at the city's northern limits with Evanston. The Near South Side would go as far south as 35th Street and the Near West Side as far west as Western Ave. That entire land mass added together is not just a tenth of Chicago. Look again. An area that large doesn't deserve the terminology "outside the downtown, North Side, Near West, and Near South sides you may find it difficult to hail a cab" because, although that may be true, you are giving the reader an inaccurate perception of hailing cabs off the streets of Chicago. It is not hard to do; anyone in Chicago will tell you that. Look at it this way: New York City's article -doesn't- state "outside of Manhattan (or perhaps some areas of Brooklyn) you may find it difficult to hail a taxi off the street", although that statement is true. People who live in the Bronx, Staten Island, or Queens find it more difficult hailing a taxi off the streets than people in Manhattan. So if you want to keep that terminology in Chicago's article, New York's article should have the same terminology. If you didn't find it necessary to state it's harder to hail a cab off the streets in the Bronx, Staten Island, or Queens versus Manhattan, there was no need to put that type of terminology in Chicago's article when referring to the South or West Sides. Keep it consistent.

Good gracious man, that map is labeled. You can click on any of the individual district articles to view the district maps, and thus see that what you are stating is the opposite of what is fact. This discussion is surreal.
With regards to taxis, my inclination is to think that you haven't really spent any time in the areas you are talking about. You are just as likely to be able to hail a cab in Chatham (as you assert) as you are to find MLK Jr. Highway in NYC (as you invented). Statements like "several upper-class and middle-class neighborhoods on the South Side and Southwest like Hyde Park, Kenwood, Chatham, and Beverly, to name a few, where hailing taxis are easy too" make it very clear to me that you are making assertions about areas you know next to nothing about, and likely have never been to. --Peter Talk 17:21, 28 January 2010 (EST)

Point blank. It is not hard to hail a taxi off the streets of Chicago. In most American cities, you must call a taxi to come pick you up. Chicago and New York City are exceptions to that rule. But both cities have areas where it's easier to hail a cab and areas where it may be somewhat more difficult yet not impossible to hail a cab off the street. For Chicago, the easier areas are downtown, North Side, Near South, and Near West Sides. The harder areas in Chicago may be the West Side, and some parts of the South Side. In New York City, the easier area is Manhattan. The harder areas are the Bronx, Staten Island, and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. So if they both are comparable in that regard, my arguement is that when you read the Chicago article it gives the reader the impression that it's virtually impossible outside a small area, whereas the New York article doesn't give that impression, yet the same is true for both cities. That's what I'm saying.

I don't know why you persist in thinking the New York article is a model for this one, since that article is (generously) at 'usable' status, two levels below this one. (Also, nobody from Chicago gives a crap how New York does anything.) Nevertheless, I have 25 years of experience of not being able to hail a taxi off the street up by Howard Street or anywhere in the vicinity of it. So you're objectively wrong. Gorilla Jones

Lede (again)

I found the lede to this article to be misleading. Chicago is not the birthplace of jazz and the blues; those are from the South. Moreover, the local music scene isn't really the most important thing to the city's identity. My suggested rewrite was reverted; no particular objection to the content was specified. It is reproduced below. -- Beland 01:08, 18 May 2010 (EDT)

Chicago [5] is the hub of the American Midwest, its identity partly formed as a gateway to the agricultural heartland of the country, and partly as a teeming metropolis of cultural expression and innovation. Economically, it has thrived as a central North American transportation nexus, whether in the age of ships, railroads, or airplanes.
The city is easy to find — its picturesque skyline calls across the waters of Lake Michigan, a first impression that soon reveals world-class museums of art and science, miles of sandy beaches, huge parks and public art, and perhaps the finest downtown collection of modern architecture in the world.
Culturally, Chicago has become the adopted home of jazz and the blues, and a center of comedy and theater. It has shopping of an international caliber, while maintaining a local flair in architecture and food. The hustle and bustle of big city life have barely put a dent in real Midwestern friendliness.

What's a lede?--Burmesedays 01:15, 18 May 2010 (EDT)

Read back to the discussion above. Apparently the argument goes that "home of" does not equate to the "birthplace of". Apparently the blues, like a petulant teenager, has found its true home distant from its birth. --inas 01:26, 18 May 2010 (EDT)

That's... pretty boring, overall. The current version is interesting to read, whereas "teeming metropolis of cultural expression and innovation" feels like a jumble of buzzwords saying nothing about Chicago in particular. — D. Guillaime 01:33, 18 May 2010 (EDT)

wikipedia:wikt:lede#English defines "lede". It's a variant spelling of "lead" that is used only to refer to the opening section of a written work, like an encyclopedia article or a news article. And yes, I reverted Beland's contribution because it was dry and encyclopedic instead of lively travel writing. And because this is a star article, and reached star status with its current lede, I felt that any changes to the lede ought to be discussed here first, especially when they change the Tone so much. LtPowers 08:57, 18 May 2010 (EDT)
OK, here's another try, avoiding misleading claims (not the birthplace of jazz and the blues, meat packing is no longer a big industry) while trying to keep a livlier style. -- Beland 13:39, 19 May 2010 (EDT)

As the hub of the Midwest, Chicago [6] is easy to find — its picturesque skyline calls across the waters of Lake Michigan, a first impression that soon reveals world-class museums of art and science, miles of sandy beaches, huge parks and public art, and perhaps the finest downtown collection of historic and modern architecture in the world. Here, the age of railroads found its center and spawned a huge meatpacking industry; in more recent decades, airplanes have swooped in to connect the city to the world and carry its faith in social progress.

Known for its blues, jazz, comedy, theater, shopping, and fine dining, the hustle and bustle of life in America's "Second City" (a title now contested with Los Angeles) have barely put a dent in its genuine Midwestern friendliness.

I'm a little confused regarding what exactly is "misleding." The article neither claims Chicago is the birthplace of jazz or blues, nor that meat packing is currently a major industry.
Marc's version is one of the most dynamic intros we have on the site—it's about the last one I think would be worth much effort tinkering with, when there are so many lifeless "X is in Y" bits floating around. It's possible to quibble endlessly about originality in writing, especially in a collaborative wiki environment. But I think we should resist the urge to eye "the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme," and instead focus on improving the vast quantities of legitimately poor writing on the site. --Peter Talk 14:01, 19 May 2010 (EDT)
Well, as a tourist visiting Chicago, I read that lede and I interpreted it as saying that Chicago was the birthplace of jazz and the blues. I had to do my own research before I was certain this was factually incorrect. I don't think this travel guide should sacrifice factual accuracy in the name of being "dynamic". I tried to fix only that part of the intro, but that change was also reverted. It was requested that I discuss the issue here, so that's what I'm doing. -- Beland 14:30, 20 May 2010 (EDT)
I just don't see what's misleading about calling it the Home of the Blues (and actually, it says nothing about it being the home, much less the birthplace of jazz). It's not a Wikitravel coinage—it's a well-known city slogan. And regardless, if I say I'm going "home," I mean to my house, not to a hospital in New York. Further down the article at Chicago#Jazz and blues, the process by which the blues came to live in Chicago is explained.
And you're most certainly not doing anything wrong in discussing it here. I just disagree with you ;) --Peter Talk 18:19, 20 May 2010 (EDT)
Well, I was personally misled, because I thought the article was claiming that Chicago was the birthplace of the blues and jazz. I'm sure it reads differently to people who live in Chicago vs. those who don't know anything about it. If it's a well-known city slogan, the article should make that clear to people who have never heard it, as in "Chicago calls itself 'The Home of the Blues'". -- Beland 15:12, 24 May 2010 (EDT)
Sometimes clarity and poetry are mutually exclusive. The minor negative effects of a misunderstanding (one which, frankly, I don't expect a large number of people to have) are not worth disrupting the flow of the lede, IMO. Is it really a big deal if you were momentarily confused about the true birthplace of the blues? The rest of the article makes it clear that the blues migrated from the South along with several other cultural elements. LtPowers 18:47, 24 May 2010 (EDT)
I stopped reading before I got to the full explanation, and so walked away from the article with the wrong impression. Isn't the whole point of Wikitravel to give people accurate information about the places they visit? After having a discussion on the road, I concluded that this article was simply wrong, which undermines the site's credibility. -- Beland 19:52, 23 June 2010 (EDT)
Sorry, but that's your mistake, not the article's. Home ≠ birthplace. If it did, we'd all live in hospitals. Gorilla Jones 20:04, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

Hyperbole in the lead

The lead sounds like it was written by the Chicago Tourism Bureau. It is not the "home of the blues," only electric or Chicago-style blues. I don't know what "the truth of jazz" means. New York has a stronger association with skyscrapers. It's midwestern friendliness is noted, so no need to insult other cities as surly in the next sentence. The first sentence should note that Chicago is the third biggest city in America and the capital of the midwest. The features of the city should be noted without sounding so cheesy. Hyperbole destroys an articles credibility.

Return to "Chicago" page.