20 May 2011

A Culture vulture’s guide to Chicago

Chicago is an amazing city, burned in the Great Fire of 1871, it was been rebuilt to become a world respected hub of culture and art. Visit it and experience the culture offerings of The Windy City. 

Chicago is a culture filled metropolis; many movements in design, theatre and architecture have originated in the city. Nowadays the city’s appeal also includes theatres, musicals and galleries that compliment the great cultural happenings of the past. 

The city is one of the most populous in the USA, with a population of 9.5million. It’s also one of America’s great melting pots, something that has contributed greatly to the cultural strength of the city.
One of Chicago’s greatest gifts to the world is improvisational theatre, from which two renowned comedy troupes emerged. The most famous of all the cities theatre companies are The Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Goodman Theatre – two major and internationally renowned theatre companies 

Chicago also offers a Broadway styled experience, being home to the Oriental Theatre, Ford Centre for Performing Arts and the Bank of America Theatre among others. The area also has a selection of Polish speaking Theatres to cater for the large population of Polish speaking residents. 

Chicago is also a very prominent place for music and the city’s heritage includes Chicago Soul, Chicago Blues and Gospel. The city is also situated at the end of Route 66, meaning many entered the city from the south in the hope of making it into the music business and from Chicago’s evident music history – some did. 

Orchestral music is also very important to the area; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is recognised as one of the finest in the world.  Opera and ballet are also held commonly in the city, especially in the Harris Theatre and the Lyric Opera House.

Performing art aside; Chicago is also the home of some renowned architecture, the Prairie Movement being the most famous. It is also the spiritual home of Frank Lloyd Wright, the world famous architect and leader of the aforementioned movement. 

A trip to Chicago will thrill architecture lovers; buildings such as the Wrigley Building, Robie House and the Krause Music Store are world famous examples of architecture that can be seen in the city. Chicago is also home to some of America’s first skyscrapers and much of the city is relatively new; rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1871.

For a more concise cultural experience, why not visit Museum Campus. Situated over an area of 10hectares, it is home to three of the city’s most famous museums - Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. It also backs on to Grant Park, which includes The Art Institution of Chicago and the Buckingham Fountain. 

This area also includes the Chicago History Museum, The Chicago Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Science and Industry. This area is a must see and all the museums are in close proximity making it easy to travel around between one and the other.

For a more outdoor orientated culture experience, Chicago has an offering of numerous sculptures and statues created by well known artists such as Anish Kapoor, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall and Jean Dubuffet.
Chicago is a city sitting in the heart of America that offers a cultural and artistic experience created by artists that have come from the world over. It is certainly a culture vulture’s haven.

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