7 Fun Nicknames for Chicago

7 Fun Nicknames for Chicago

Chicago’s nicknames reflect the bustling metropolis that sits on the shores of Lake Michigan. Come with us as we dive into the monikers and their origins now. 

Overview of Chicago’s Nicknames

  1. The Windy City
  2. The Second City
  3. The City of Big Shoulders
  4. Chi-Town
  5. City by the Lake
  6. The Hog Butcher of the World
  7. Paris of the Prairie

The Windy City

The most famous nickname for Chicago is “The Windy City.” Whilst Chicago is known for its breezes, thanks to its location on Lake Michigan, the moniker actually refers to the long-winded politicians of the 19th century in the city. 

The Second City

Chicago is often referred to as “The Second City,” a nickname that reflects its status as the second-largest city in the United States and its enduring rivalry with New York City. However, the nickname also speaks to Chicago’s resilience, resourcefulness, and ability to reinvent itself in the face of adversity. From its world-class architecture to its thriving arts scene, Chicago proves that second place is not second-rate.

The City of Big Shoulders

Carl Sandburg is responsible for the next Chicago nickname thanks to his poem “Chicago” in which he refers to the city as “The City of Bug Shoulders.” This evocative phrase captures the city’s blue-collar work ethic, industrial heritage, and gritty determination. It pays tribute to the hardworking men and women who built and shaped Chicago into the bustling metropolis it is today.


A popular abbreviation for Chicago is “Chi-Town,” derived from the city’s abbreviated name “Chi” (pronounced “shy”) and the word “town.” This catchy nickname is widely used by locals and visitors and has become synonymous with Chicago’s vibrant culture, sports teams, and iconic landmarks. It reflects the city’s sense of pride and camaraderie.

City by the Lake

Chicago is often referred to as “The City by the Lake” due to its picturesque location along the shores of Lake Michigan. This nickname highlights the city’s stunning waterfront, sandy beaches, and scenic lakefront parks. From Navy Pier to the Chicago Riverwalk, Chicagoans flock to the waterfront to enjoy recreational activities, cultural events, and breathtaking views.

The Hog Butcher for the World

Chicago has been called “The Hog Butcher for the World” in reference to its historic meatpacking industry and role as a major meat-processing center. This nickname reflects Chicago’s industrial heritage, culinary traditions, and iconic stockyards that once made it the “hog butcher” of the world. While the meatpacking industry has evolved, Chicago’s reputation as a culinary destination remains strong.

Paris of the Prairie

When Chicago was being built, Edward H Bennett (the planner) leant on the metropolis of Paris for inspiration. Much of the architecture and layout of the city reflects this, hence the nickname “Paris of the Prairie.”

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