Chicago-style: The adjective seems to attach itself to everything in Chicago—from the vibrant downtown, stunning architecture and political machines to deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, the arts and blues music. Chicago residents do things with their own distinctive flair, creating innovations that resound far beyond the city's borders.

The result is a world-class city with an internationally acclaimed symphony, champion sports teams such as the Bears and Cubs, a host of renowned museums such as the Field Museum, great hotels and miles/kilometers of gorgeous beaches and lakefront paths that many use for bicycling, rollerblading and jogging. Most first-time visitors are surprised by the city's cleanliness and the profusion of plants and flowers.

It's no simple matter to make a precise definition of Chicago. The third-largest city in the U.S. is many things at once—a blue-collar town that's full of high culture and gracious living, and a town of historical importance that's in no way stuck in the past. It's a classic Midwestern city with international importance and a multitude of vibrant ethnic neighborhoods, including the largest Polish population anywhere in the world outside of Poland, and the only officially recognized Puerto Rican neighborhood in the U.S. (Humboldt Park).

Ultimately, Chicago's refusal to conform to any single style, even one that bears its name, is what truly defines this city.

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