Located in the northeast corner of the state of Illinois along the far southwestern bank of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest, and the third-largest city in the U.S. Where Chicago is located made it a huge industrial and shipping hub from its founding in 1833. Today, it’s also one of the world’s ten largest Global Financial Centers. That’s not too shabby for a region that often gets denigrated as “flyover country.” Chicago is also home to the Skydeck at Willis Tower, a glass-bottomed observation deck on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. Plan your visit and learn more about the great Midwest, like why it’s called the Midwest, how Chicago is in the Midwest, and what states are in the Midwest.

Why is it Called the Midwest?

The name Midwest might be confusing, as it sounds like it should be further west than it is. As the north-central portion of the continental United States, the Midwest got its name in the 1800s when the region was part of the “Northwest Ordinance.” That’s the area west of the Appalachian Mountains, north of the Ohio River, south of the Canadian border, and east of the Rocky Mountains. At the time, the colonizers moving westward had no idea how far they were from the Pacific coast and assumed they were closer.

Is Chicago in the Midwest?

Yes, it is, geographically speaking. The Encyclopedia of Chicago even refers to the city as “The Capitol of the Midwest.” While that’s not possible since the Midwest doesn’t have its own government, it’s definitely the cultural and population center of the Midwest region.

What States are in the Midwest?

These states in the Midwest include:

  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Indiana
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska

Chicago is Located Near You!

One of the best parts about where Chicago is located is how easy it is to travel there from any part of the U.S.! See how close your city is to Chicago, then plan your trip and purchase your tickets to experience the Skydeck for yourself! We can’t wait to welcome you with our Midwestern hospitality!