Group DescriptionIllinois was once the state of the Illini Indians. They were replaced by French settlers, who established a fort "where a river flowed into a big lake". That big lake was Lake Michigan; the river, the Chicago River; the fort's site the city now called Chicago.
The divide between Chicago and the "downstate" is dramatic. Chicago is one of America's most representative big cities, filled with awe-inspiring skyscrapers, world-class museums, neighborhood festivals, top-notch restaurants, and above all, the splendid lakefront. Chicago can claim the world's best blues, pizza, and summer weather while maintaining a refreshingly humble attitude. More honest than LA, friendlier than New York, and better than just about anywhere, Chicago is a state unto itself.
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