Desi City Guide for Chicago

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June 20, 2013

Chicago, the largest city in the state of Illinois, with 2.7 million residents has the third largest concentration of Indians in USA. According to the 2010 Census data, Asians in Chicago now comprise 4.4% of the city’s population, with 0.5% of them being American Indians. Chicago is a business and financial hub and is also listed as one of the top ten Global Financial Centers in the world. Located on the Southwest tip of Lake Michigan, Chicago is one of the most culturally-diverse cities in the world.

A majority of Indians living in Chicago are professionals in the field of science, computers, managements and medicine. You will also find Indians in Chicago, working as taxi drivers, shopkeepers and gas station owners, just as in other US cities. There is a large number of Indian students in Chicago universities, but now slowly a working class population is on the rise. Chicago also has a popular Hindi music radio station, the Desi Junction that plays songs from Bollywood movies.

You will find many temples in Chicago serving the huge Hindu community. There are also two Gurudwaras for the Sikhs, a Jain temple and also several mosques for Indian Muslims. There are many organizations such as the Bengali Association, Tamilnadu Foundation, Punjabi Cultural Society, all showing the presence of cultural diversity of Indians in Chicago as found in back home in India.

Popular desi attractions in Chicago

  1. Devon Street
    The busiest Indian neighborhood in Chicago is at Devon Street, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. You will find here a plethora of Indian restaurants, grocery stores, boutiques, entertainment shops, electronic and video stores and jewelry shops. There are also many theatres in Chicago that show popular Bollywood blockbuster movies. The growing number of Indians in Chicago is also indicated by the fact that a part of Devon Street was renamed Gandhi Marg, way back in 1991, followed by the redesignation of an adjoining stretch of Devon street to Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way.
  1. Navy Pier
    Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chicago. You can spend an entire evening on a Lake Michigan cruise and experience the spectacular Chicago skyline. Navy Pier Park offers great attractions such as the 150-foot high Ferris Wheel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and a musical carousel.
  1. Lincoln Park zoo
    Established in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoological gardens in the US. Its intimate settings attracts more than 3 million visitors every year, young and old, and provides a never-to-forget experience with fun and enjoyment.
  2. Sears Tower Skydeck
    Sears Towers is the tallest building in North America with 110 stories, which makes it a popular tourist attraction. The Sears Tower Skydeck offers a breathtaking view of Chicago at 1.353 feet. The best time to visit is in the evening if you want to see the magnificent view of the sun setting and the lights turning on in the city of Chicago.