If you’ve spent more than two hours in Chicago, you’ve seen the Chicago flag. Other cities are known by symbols, like NewYork's Big Apple or New Orleans' Fleur di Lis. But the residents of most cities have no idea what their official city flag looks like.
But people from Chicago love their flag, proudly display it everywhere, and decorate everything from plates to T-shirts with it. One resident gave us her theory on why the Chicago flag is so easy for both residents and non-residents to embrace as as a symbol of the city: It consists of two sky blue horizontal stripes on a field of white with four red stars in between. No fussy emblems or shields. Just a simple, clean, classic design in attractive and timeless colors.
The design was the winner of a 1917 design competition. Each element symbolizes something significant about the city. The stripes denote the bodies of water around the city: Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and the Chicago or “Great Canal” that connects the Chicago River to the Des Plaines River.
The stars stand for major moments in the city’s history: Fort Dearborn which was built on the banks of the Chicago River in 1803, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and two world fairs in 1893 and 1933, the second one celebrating Chicago’s centennial.
Traveling to Chicago for business? We asked Hilary of H. Bune Designs to tell us what she'd recommend to a visitor who only has two hours or an afternoon to spend seeing Chicago. If you love architecture or history, she suggests taking the Chicago Architecture Foundation Riverboat Tour. Hilary, who loves the tour enough to have taken it three times, says it's perfect if your free time is limited because the tour only lasts about 90 minutes