Curious City is a news-gathering experiment housed at Chicago Public Media - WBEZ91.5fm. You ask your questions about Chicago/the region/the people who live here, vote for your favorites, and join us in tracking down the answers.

Here's where we'll be posting updates on stories in the works. Follow us to keep track of our progress and how you can help.

Check out our most recent stories on or find answers posted here.


updates on current investigations into ...

Past investigations

Chicago's official garbage policy


Multigenerational families

Chicago winters

O'Hares missing terminal

Illinois race for Governor

Lake Michigan fish safety

Find us on ...

Curiosities & Inspiration

More liked posts

Chicago’s namesake “stinky onion” is the ramp and — much to the delight of chefs and foodies — this garlicky, oniony delight is in season right now. In celebration, here’s Curious City’s search for the plant and the aura (um, aroma) surrounding it: Thanks to urban forager Dave Odd for the fresh pic of ramps in our area! (FYI - Do NOT pick ramps in forest preserves!)



This comic was produced in partnership by Years of Living Dangerously and Symbolia Magazine. For more amazing real life comics, get Symbolia on your iPad or via PDF. And for more information on the biggest story of our time - check out YEARS.

HUGE NEWS! Symbolia is working with Years of Living Dangerously to produce cool comics on climate change. First up is this beautiful story about algae in Lake Erie by Jackie Roche and Audrey Quinn. 

What’s up with the algae blooms in the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie? Our pals at symboliamag have put out some superb comics journalism on climate change. See for yourself and become a subscriber already!

We’re going to investigate a question about the Chicago Fire. Let us know your favorite.

The funeral procession after the hanging of Engel, Fischer, Parsons, and Spies - four defendants from the Haymarket riots - down Milwaukee Avenue, 1887. Story soon. 

Shawn's sketch includes drops of blood down the margins and a dead person in a pool of blood. Logan's sketch includes Jenn's sketch includes drawings of Chicago's specific bat species, paired up with different environments they could be found in. 
The result (so far)

The evolution of an interactive infographic to answer where the bats of Chicagoland like to hang out. Unfortunately the dead guy in a pool of blood *likely* won’t make the final cut.

Pinball legend Roger Sharpe poses with his alter ego: Sharpshooter, star of the first Sharpe-designed pinball machine.

Prepare for the most epic 30 seconds of your day. And turn up the volume. 

Now for the million dollar questions: Have you not subscribed to the Curious City podcast yet? If not: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? 

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe with Feedburner

“The cover is a full-blown stereotype of the anarchist. Shaggy-haired, low-browed, his bearded jaw set in defiance, he is set amidst his trappings of death and destruction, including dark flags, dagger, revolver, and, of course, bombs.”

-Historian Carl Smith on the cover of The Red Flag; or the Anarchists of Chicago, published in 1886 two weeks before the Haymarket verdict. 

We’ll be showing more depictions of Chicago anarchists during the time of Haymarket - and what those influences were - as part of our #haymarketstory investigation. 

They do all tend to have mustaches, though. 

When did the state of Illinois begin its ban on Sunday car sales, and why? Asked by Juli Schatz, South Elgin

From the Curious City question archive.

Why does the state of Illinois have a huge deficit, while next door Indiana has a surplus?

From the Curious City quesiton archive

How did the Haymarket Square Massacre effect Chicago’s culture at the time? -Sabina, Naperville, IL

The Curious City question archive

"Why was the Chicago area home to all the major pinball manufacturers during the heyday of pinball?" -Kevin F Schramer, Winfield, IL

Curious City - …

Can you tell which public radio star narrates this promo video introducing Bally’s Pinball 2000? 

The classic Cooper’s Hawk scenario, recently photographed by Chicagoan Thom Clark in his backyard!

The Cooper’s Hawk is likely the most frequently seen bird of prey around town - but the bird goes by another name, too: The Chicken Hawk. 

Can’t possibly fathom why. 

Loading posts...