17 Things Everyone From Chicago Knows to Be True

Our responses are usually, yes, it’s cold during the winter but our summers more than make up for it and the Chicago Cubs did finally win a World Series in 2016, even if it took the team almost an entire century to secure the championship again. We go into each season believing!

Still, there’s so much more to Chicago than our seasons and baseball teams (we have two, by the way). Whether you’ve lived your entire life or recently moved here, if you’re a genuine Chicagoan at heart, here are 17 things you know to be true.

Only real Chicago locals know the following to be fact

1. The city was rebuilt on a grid system after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, making it really easy to not get lost. State and Madison are both zero and Lake Michigan is always east.

2. Speaking of windy, the city is called The Windy City not because of our wind, but because of the hot air coming out of the mouths of our politicians.

3. Traffic can be brutal here during rush hour. It’s not unusual for it to take 30 minutes to drive three miles. Plan accordingly.

4. Lower Wacker Drive is a godsend to us who need to travel by car through the Loop. And the pedway, an underground walkway through the Loop, is a hidden gem and one of the reasons we survive the winter.

5. The Garfield Park Conservatory’s hot and humid atmosphere is like a spa treatment for your lungs during the cold winters.

6. Sears Tower will always be the Sears Tower. No one here calls it the Willis Tower.

7. Ketchup doesn’t belong on a real Chicago hotdog.

8. You can’t just order an Italian beef sandwich, which, despite its name, was born in Chicago. You need to be specific. Order it regular, dry or wet, hot or sweet. Once you figure out what you like, you’ll be ordering like a pro in no time.

9. Lou Malnatti’s, Gino’s East and Giordano’s serve great deep dish pizza. So does Pequod’s. Although real Chicago pizza, according to the purists, is tavern-style, not deep dish.

10. Speaking of the Chicago Cubs, they never disappoint – to disappoint. Yet, year after year, we show up because attending a baseball game at historic Wrigley Field is really one huge party.

11. The world’s first skyscraper, Malört, the Ferris Wheel, Chicago Blues and house music all originated in Chicago.

12. Chicago residents will call “dibs” on public street parking spots they’ve shoveled by placing anything from old wooden chairs to baby car seats. Removing the eyesore might cost you your tires.

13. Summer doesn’t officially start until Mario’s Italian Lemonade stand in Little Italy opens up.

14. We may not be Kansas City or Texas but we can hold our own when it comes to BBQ. Head to Lem’s on the south side for juicy ribs or other meats still topped with its original BBQ sauce recipe.

15. It may not be immediately obvious to the naked eye but the Chicago River has a surprisingly active ecosystem with lots of fish (including bass and trout), turtles, frogs, beavers, muskrats and even the occasional otter.

16. Although Chicago is a city of almost 3 million people, it’s surprisingly clean because our garbage bins are placed and picked up in alleys.

17. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or you’re a recent transplant, you have to get a photo in front of the Bean at Millennium Park.

Agree or Disagree?

This list is hardly exhaustive, but it’s a good start. What do you think? What have we missed? Share with us in the comments.

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
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Megy KarydesAs a Chicago-based freelance writer, Megy Karydes has covered everything from space-aged tomato seeds grown in a Chicago Public School to Chicago Blues musician Lurrie Bell. Her work has been featured in USA Today, Travel + Leisure, Midwest Living magazine and other national and regional media outlets. When she's not out exploring the city with her two children and husband, she's perfecting her air hockey technique.

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