List of nicknames for Chicago

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This article lists nicknames for the city of Chicago, Illinois.

Major nicknames[edit]

This newspaper article was published by the Cleveland Gazette in 1885
  • Chicagoland - A term for the city together with its surrounding suburbs. Sometimes the term encompasses the city and the nine counties around it.
  • "City of Broad Shoulders" or "City of the Big Shoulders" - From 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."

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"
  • "Heart of America" - Chicago is one of the largest transportation centers in America and its location is near the center of the United States.
  • "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.
  • "Chi-Laska" - Due to extremely cold weather.
  • "Chi-raq"- Referencing the murder rate in Chicago compared to the overall death toll of soldiers in Iraq in 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maudelyne Ihejirika (December 18, 1989). "First-rate reunion for Second City". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  2. ^ Levy, John M. (2009) Contemporary Urban Planning.
  3. ^