Chicago is the "City of Big Shoulders," the home of the Blues, and a picturesque cityscape of unparalleled architectural and natural beauty. Chicago's striking skyline, stretching along the lakeside express artery, Lake Shore Drive, and spacious Michigan Avenue, contains some of the world's tallest buildings, including the 110-story Sears Tower. The city's downtown area entered a building boom in the mid-1950s. North Michigan Avenue's commercially elegant "Magnificent Mile" is dominated by the 100-story John Hancock Center. More recently built commercial and residential complexes add further interest to the city skyline.
Among its cultural institutions are the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Chicago has mainstream and avant-garde companies performing theatre and dance. The city is the birthplace and chief centre of urban blues music, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera are world-renowned.
Chicago's educational institutions include the University of Chicago, the Chicago campus of Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.