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Curious City

Chicago Public Media

Ask questions, vote and discover answers about Chicago, the region and its people. From WBEZ.

Ask questions, vote and discover answers about Chicago, the region and its people. From WBEZ.


Chicago, IL




Ask questions, vote and discover answers about Chicago, the region and its people. From WBEZ.




I Survived Tuberculosis In The 1950s, So I’m No Stranger To Quarantine

At the beginning of the 20th Century, a global public health crisis hit Chicago—a widespread outbreak of tuberculosis. The highly contagious respiratory disease spread easily from person to person and attacked the lungs. Without a vaccine or a cure, doctors attempted to treat positive cases with sunshine, fresh air and by quarantining the sick away from the general public. Chicagoans who couldn’t afford to go to a private facility were sent to the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium in...


I Thought Ramadan Would Be Depressing This Year — But It's Been A Blessing

In today's episode of Life Interrupted: Deanna Othman looks forward to sharing meals with friends and family during Ramadan. Now, she’s relying on faith to get her through isolation.


Why Is Chicago Still Seeing So Many New Cases Of COVID-19?

The Illinois stay-at-home order was supposed to slow the spread of COVID-19. So one Curious Citizen wonders how so many people are still getting sick.


I'm Bringing A Baby Into The World In the Middle Of A Pandemic

In today's episode of Life Interrupted: A first pregancy is normally filled with a lot of excitment but also a lot of anxiety. So what's it like to bring a baby into the world during a global pandemic?


Has The Stay-At-Home Order Improved Chicago’s Air Quality?

With less traffic on the roads and some businesses shut, one Curious Citizen wonders if the air we’re breathing is any cleaner.


Our Daughter Is A Nurse On The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

Life Interrupted is a new weekly series from Curious City about daily life in Chicago during the pandemic. In today's episode, as their daughter treats COVID-19 patients in intensive care, Suzie and Bob Pschirrer wonder if military families feel the same mix of pride and fear.


Who Created The Cook County Forest Preserves?

Around the turn of the century, the great American wilderness was disappearing. That’s when an architect named Dwight Perkins devised an ambitious plan to save Chicagoland’s natural treasures — by creating the state’s first forest preserves. . Over the next 15 years, Perkins would weather legal battles and partisan squabbling in pursuit of his vision.


I Started Sewing Clothes For My Barbies — Now I’m Sewing Face Masks

Life Interrupted is a new weekly series from Curious City about daily life in Chicago during the pandemic. In today's episode, Lucy Keating first learned to sew on her grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. Today, she’s reviving her skills to make masks for COVID-19.


Looking For Quarantine Recipes? Try This Chicago-Invented Dish

Two Albany Park chefs turned a Chinese-Korean chicken dish into a signature Chicago food. Listen to the history, then go to for recipes to make at home.


Your Stories Of Love And Dating During COVID-19

Whether you’re single or in a decades-long relationship, it’s likely coronavirus has had an impact on your love life. With Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order and new social distancing rules in place, the pandemic has fundamentally changed how we’re supposed to interact with one another, and that can include our romantic partners. Now, some couples are unexpectedly navigating long distance because of quarantine; other single folk are trying out virtual dates now that bars and restaurants are...


I Invented A Game Of ‘I Spy’ To Keep My Neighbors Connected

Nikki Moustafa lives in a part of Edgewater that her relatives tell her feels like Sesame Street, “like everyone knows everyone, we’re all very friendly.” One day just before the stay-at-home order went into place, Moustafa was driving home, wondering about ways to stay connected with her neighbors while at the same time staying locked up at home. She came up with the idea for a neighborhood-wide game of “I Spy” using people’s windows. The goal: “to keep us sane in isolation...and remind us...


This Synagogue's Story Mirrors The History Of Jewish Migration Across Chicago

As many Chicagoans celebrate Passover, we’re sharing a story about the history of Chicago’s Jewish community through one congregation.


Pets And COVID-19: What You Need To Know

Chicagoans have become familiar with how COVID-19 is spread from person to person and what types of safety measures they should be taking during this time. But WBEZ has gotten several questions from pet owners who are wondering about the risks to their furry friends, things like--are cats and dogs susceptible to the virus and who will care for my pet if I get hospitalized with COVID-19? Scientists recently confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 in domestic pets- two cats and two dogs. But...


How To Safely Enjoy The Outdoors During COVID-19

Governor Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order has left lots of Chicagoans wondering how ⁠they can safely enjoy the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the city’s lakefront, adjacent parks, the 606 and Riverwalk have been closed because people were congregating in large groups, many natural areas in the region remain open. So people can still go outside to walk, run or bike ride, as long as they remain six feet away from other individuals. If these rules are followed, experts say...


How To Eat Safely During The Coronavirus Crisis: Tips, Resources, FAQs

WBEZ is answering lots of your other frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 outbreak in Illinois here. Life in Chicago has changed dramatically this past week, from schools and restaurants closing to evolving policies around social distancing and public events. As Chicagoans — and most people across the country — hunker down at home over the next few weeks, Curious City is answering questions about how to safely deal with food, cooking and eating during coronavirus. Please keep in...


Chicago’s Got 1 Thai Restaurant For About Every 33 Thai People: How Come?

Fourteen-year-old Evan Robinson is a Chicago foodie — you might have even seen him on Master Chef Junior. Over the years, when he’s gone to see his orthodontist on 55th Street in Hyde Park, he’s noticed a tasty mystery. “We always see all these different Thai restaurants,” he says, referring to Snail Thai Cuisine, Siam Thai Cuisine and Thai 55 Restaurant.. “I think that’s crazy that there are three [within] one block right here.” Evan’s dad, Christopher, has lived in a lot of Chicago...


'South Side Stories': The Legend Of Harold’s

This curated episode from WBEZ and Comedy Central’s South Side Stories explores why every Harold’s chicken tastes different.


Chicago’s ‘Dibs’ Tradition Can Get Dirty, And Even Dangerous

Police records show that dibs disputes have led to everything from broken mirrors to life-threatening acts of retaliation.


Who Wrote The Song About The Cow That Started The Great Chicago Fire?

It’s sung everywhere from summer camps to soccer games. We dig into the song’s contested origins, and how it became such a hit.


From Chop Suey Houses To Saloons: What Was Chicago’s Foodie Scene Like In The Early 20th Century?

From raw celery to “milk toast,” we explore the biggest food fads of the era — and the restaurants that served them.