The city was serenaded and there was a birthday cake.
On May 4, 1837, the state legislature approved the charter that officially made Chicago a city. It had a population of just over 4,000.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was presented with a reproduction of a photograph of the second Fort Dearborn, the center of early Chicago
"Chicago's history, we have come to forks in the road, after the great fire, after industrialization, manufacturing, economy, we've always had a fork in the road and yet we have never shrunk from our challenges," Emanuel said.
There was a separate celebration at the DuSable Museum that centered around Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the city's first settler and founder.