Sunday, May 22, 2011

City sections

A Chicago jazz club

City sections

Over one-third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods (from Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south). The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These include the Mexican villages, such as Pilsen on 18th street and La Villita on 26th street, thePuerto Rican enclave Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, "Greektown" on South Halsted, "Little Italy" on Taylor Street, just west of Halsted, "Chinatown" on the near South Side, Polish fare reigns at Belmont-Central, "Little Seoul" on and around Lawrence Avenue, a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle Street and South Asian (Indian/Pakistani) on Devon Avenue.
Downtown is the center of Chicago's cultural, commercial and financial institutions, and home to Grant Park and many of the city's skyscapers. Many of the city's financial institutions (for example, CBOT, Chicago Fed) are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop", which is an eight block by five block square of city streets that are encircled by elevated rail tracks. The name "The Loop" is sometimes also used to refer to the entire downtown area. The central area often is portrayed, as in the map at right, to include parts of Near North Side and Near South Side, as well as the Loop. These areas contribute famous skyscrapers, shopping, museums, a stadium for the Chicago Bears and convention facilities. Similarly, the area just west of the Loop and the Chicago River contributes to the commercial core.
The North Side contains Lincoln Park, a 1,200-acre (490 ha) park stretching for 5.5 mi (8.9 km) along the waterfront with the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The River North neighborhood features the nation's largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City. As a Polonia center, due to the city having a very large Polish population, Chicago celebrates every Labor Day weekend at the Taste of Polonia Festival in the Jefferson Park area. The Chicago Cubs play in the North Side's Wrigleyville. Two North Side neighborhoods in particular, Lakeview and the Andersonville area of the Edgewater neighborhood, are home to many LGBT businesses and organizations. The area surrounding the North Side intersections of Halsted, Belmont, and Clark is a gay district known as "Boystown."
The South Side is home to the University of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry. It also hosts one of the city's largest parades, the annual African American Bud Billiken Day parade. Burnham Park stretches along the waterfront of the South Side. Two of the city's largest parks are located here: Jackson Park, bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and is home of the aforementioned museum; slightly west sits Washington Park. U.S. automaker, Ford Motor Company, has an assembly plant located on the South Side. Also, most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago are here. The Chicago White Sox play at 35th Street.
The West Side holds the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest collections of tropical plants of any US city. Prominent Latino cultural attractions found here include Humboldt Park's Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Puerto Rican Day Parade, as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art and St. Adalbert's Church in Pilsen. The Near West Side holds the television production company of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks call the West Side home at the United Center sports arena.

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