Chicago has a long and proud history of cultural diversity. From the city’s earliest inhabitants, the Sauk (or Sac), Fox and Potawatomi tribes, to today’s residents of all races and nationalities, the culture of Chicago reflects an ever-growing world.

The city’s diverse ethnic working-class neighborhoods gave rise to a literature of gritty urban life, with literary giants such as Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, and George Ade writing about the skyscrapers, factories, varied people, and the hectic pace of city life. In the postwar years, new talents such as James T. Farrell, Saul Bellow, and Nelson Algren reoriented the city’s writers away from awe-struck downtown views, and their works focused on the lives of the city’s people in their own ethnic neighborhood enclaves.

Art and music also thrive in Chicago, from the symphony and opera to the improv comedy of The Second City, which helped launch the careers of comedians like Tina Fey and Steve Carell. And shopping is a major pastime, with Michigan Avenue’s 13-block stretch known as The Magnificent Mile offering luxury boutiques and the can’t-miss Water Tower Place mall.

Religion is a major component of the city’s culture, with Christianity the predominant faith (71%), followed by Islam (26%), and Buddhism (14%). Chicago is home to more than 60 museums, including The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, and has a thriving theater scene featuring such renowned venues as the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theater, and Chicago Shakespeare Company.