OwlTail

Cover image of Curious City

Curious City

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

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

The Story Of Dunning, A 'Tomb For The Living'

In both life and death, the people who ended up at the notorious asylum and poor farm were some of Chicago’s least fortunate residents.

10mins

30 Apr 2013

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Why Chicago Lightning Bugs Light Up One Neighborhood But Not the Next

A listener’s nostalgia for catching lightning bugs as a kid lead her to wonder: Are there any left these days? Our experts say they’re around, just really, really fickle.

4mins

16 Jul 2017

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

What Happened To Chicago’s Japanese Neighborhood?

Lake View once had a thriving Japanese community, but it fell victim to a push for assimilation. As one Japanese-American puts it: “You had to basically be unseen.”

12mins

13 Aug 2017

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Which Natural Disasters Are Most Likely To Hit Chicago?

The good news is Chicago probably won’t be hit by hurricanes and earthquakes. But the area is becoming more vulnerable to other disasters.

12mins

15 Oct 2017

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

Why Chicago's Chinatown Is Practically Invisible On Apartment Rental Sites

The listings are there — just in Chinese. Is this a form of discrimination, or a way to preserve a neighborhood's character?

7mins

29 Oct 2017

Rank #5

Podcast cover

City Of Big Agriculture: Here Are The Crops Chicago Was Once Famous For

The city deserves cred as an industrial giant, but it was also the first city of flowers, a pickle powerhouse and the heart of American celery.

8mins

20 Aug 2017

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Push Carts, Popsicles, And Patience: How To Be A Paletero In Chicago

Being a paleta vendor may seem like a sweet life, but we learned that selling Mexican popsicles is anything but a walk on the beach.

8mins

27 Aug 2017

Rank #7

Podcast cover

What’s The Deal With ‘Midwest Nice?’

The common stereotype for Midwesterners is that we’re polite, friendly...and passive-aggressive. But is there any truth to that?

8mins

12 Jan 2020

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Curious City: The Nazis' Neighborhood

Was there ever a Nazi neighborhood in Chicago? In this special Curious City mini-documentary and online presentation (complete with archival photos and video), we tell the story of how an infamous neo-Nazi group settled in the Marquette Park neighborhood and used it as a home base to gain attention and promote its political agenda. The story of the group’s rise and fall on Chicago’s Southwest Side raises questions about the extent of free speech and how mainstream racism in any neighborhood can encourage hate groups.  

22mins

23 Apr 2017

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Boystown: How Chicago Got Its Gay Neighborhood

Political activism and businesses helped shape the city's gay neighborhood, but there's a debate about its future.

12mins

7 May 2017

Rank #10

Podcast cover

The Rise of Casimir Pulaski Day

How Chicago’s Polish community won a Revolutionary War hero a holiday ... in a state he never stepped in.

12mins

25 Feb 2015

Rank #11

Podcast cover

Curious City: The Mystery Collection

Answers to listeners' questions about the mysterious side of Chicago that lies beyond the soaring skyscrapers and the sheen of the Bean.

18 Dec 2015

Rank #12

Podcast cover

Weird And Wonderful Things You Might Not Know About Chicago

What associations do you make with Chicago? Da Bears? Shady politics? Wacky weather? If you feel that list is getting stale, here’s a list of new ones to consider!

52mins

23 Dec 2014

Rank #13

Podcast cover

Building Skyscrapers on Chicago's Swampy Soil

Engineers once compared Chicago’s soggy soil to jelly cake. How did they build a forest of skyscrapers on it?

8mins

28 May 2017

Rank #14

Podcast cover

Doors Closing! Life As A CTA Rail Operator

Long hours, fatigue, and boredom can be hazards of the job. But former rail operators say there’s a lot to love about driving an 'L' train.

13mins

24 Jun 2018

Rank #15

Podcast cover

Deconstructing The Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Chicago-style hot dogs are a beloved culinary masterpiece: A snappy all-beef wiener, steamed poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, chopped onions, neon-green relish, two slices of tomato, a dill pickle spear, two sport peppers and a final whoosh of celery salt. But how did that unique mix of ingredients come to be? In a special Curious City presentation, Chicago’s premier hot dog expert breaks down the history of each ingredient. It’s a tale of immigration to Chicago’s Maxwell street neighborhood a century ago. Click here for the full story. Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter. Follow her at @monicaeng

8mins

5 Mar 2017

Rank #16

Podcast cover

Why The 1992 Loop Flood Is The Most Chicago Story Ever

How clout, corruption, and construction without permits led to half the Loop being evacuated.

13mins

21 Aug 2016

Rank #17

Podcast cover

To Chicago, With Love: What Do Transplants Love About The City?

One Chicagoan wants to know what people who moved to Chicago love about the city. From fireflies to marathons, here’s what they have to say.

10mins

10 Feb 2019

Rank #18

Podcast cover

To Dibs Or Not To Dibs? The Essential Chicago Question

We answer your most pressing questions about Chicago’s controversial winter tradition.

9mins

15 Dec 2019

Rank #19

Podcast cover

Curious City: The Mystery Collection

Answers to listeners' questions about the mysterious side of Chicago that lies beyond the soaring skyscrapers and the sheen of the Bean.

52mins

31 Dec 2017

Rank #20