Do you miss the sounds of city life? Here’s 24 minutes of Chicago background sounds.

I always enjoyed my 24-minute stereo recording of walking through downtown Chicago. But now I really appreciate this recording of how Chicago used to sound before stay-at-home orders. Plus, after two months of not being downtown, I miss these everyday urban sounds.

Recorded using a Marantz PMD620, the quality is nice. And did I mention it’s in stereo? Make sure to wear a pair of headphones while listening. You’ll feel like you are downtown.

The sounds of trains, people walking and talking, trucks passing by. Recorded during the morning rush-hour of July 19, 2020 at 8:30am.

This walk goes from Ogilvie Transportation Center to One Prudential Plaza. The walk starts in the train station, going down the stairs, walk through the city market part of the station. Then eastbound on Washington Street. I cross over to Randolph by walking by the Picasso. Then I head eastbound down Randolph to One Prudential Plaza, to the 4th floor, home of the Chicago Tribune.

Give it a listen.

Here are some of the key markers:

  • 1:25: Going down the train station stairs.
  • 1:34: In the station, under the tracks. You can hear the “track number 4, track number five” recorded voice.
  • 2:03: Exiting the station.
  • 3:38: A heavy truck passes by. Lots of trucks will pass by throughout this recording.
  • 5:01: Crossing the bridge. The loud bumb bumb-bumb is probably a bus going over the bridge.
  • 7:51: Walking under the west arm of loop tracks.
  • 12:48: I drag the recorder along the base of the Picasso sculpture.
  • 16:40: People talking.
  • 17:48: Walking under east arm of loop tracks.
  • 18:09: Birds chirping between Wabash and Michigan Ave.
  • 19:16: The loose sewer cap on Michigan Ave.
  • 20:57: Entering One Prudential Center through southwest revolving door.
  • 21:30: Escalator.
  • 22:51: I say ‘good morning’ to second floor security guard.
  • 23:12: Elevator ride.
  • 23:35: The beep of the Chicago Tribune door confirming my ID badge.

The ending is so completely silent.

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