42 Things You Understand Only If You're from Chicago

Don't you dare call it the Willis Tower

Chicago might be known as the Second City, but it’s the first city in our hearts. Here are 42 things only true Chicagoans understand.

1. The Willis Tower will always be the Sears Tower.

2. The “Windy City” nickname has nothing to do with actual wind. It’s about politics or something…we’re not really sure, but we’ll always correct you.

chicago kanye

3. But don’t call it Chi-town unless you’re Kanye West.

4. One word: Chiberia.

5. When the temperature drops 30 degrees within a few hours, we don’t bat an eye.

6. And digging our car out from 18 inches of snow is built into our winter morning routines.

7. We roll our eyes when we hear about school being canceled because of snow.

chicago puffycoat
Scott Olson/Getty Images

8. But once it hits 40 degrees, it’s basically summer. Bye, puffy coat.

9. Lake Effect is real, and we will never understand it.

10. We just know that if it’s “closer to the lake,” to pack a sweater.

11. And nothing is more glorious than warm weather, a bike and Lake Shore Drive.

chicago zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo

12. The best date spot ever is Lincoln Park Zoo.

13. The worst date spot is anywhere in Wrigleyville.

14. We’re on a first-name basis with Sue, you know, our T. rex friend.

chicago ferris
Paramount Pictures

15. And we’ve all Ferris Bueller-ed it by staring at Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

16. Speaking of which, you’ve definitely thought about making a reservation under “Abe Froman,” aka the sausage king of Chicago.

17. Mr. Field could totally take out Mr. Macy.

18. And boy are you grateful for Casimir Pulaski.

chicago portillos

19. And Italian beef.

20. But don’t you dare serve us one not entirely drenched in jus.

21. Randolph Street is synonymous with amazing food.

22. And we dream about eating at Alinea.

23. There’s no smell in the world as glorious as Garrett’s popcorn.

24. Your friend swears he knows Lou Malnati, but you have yet to see any free pizza.

25. But we’re so over touristy deep-dish joints--when you’re ready, we’ll clue you into our favorite, off-the-beaten path spot.

26. Viagra Triangle is 100 percent, completely appropriately named.

chicago bean

27. And the Bean is overrated.

28. But when you do have to take visitors there, snapping a few reflection selfies is mandatory.

29. Also, its real name is “Cloud Gate.”

30. You’re either a North Sider or a South Sider.

31. Or a Lolla or a Pitchfork person (but can’t we all agree the kids are getting younger and younger at both?).

32. We have an intense love-hate relationship with the "L."

33. But are legitimately scared to ride the Red Line on a Cubs game day.

34. And also for being judged for putting ketchup on our hot dogs.

35. But for some reason we enjoy being yelled at by the ladies of Wieners Circle at 2 a.m.

chicago bulls

36. Oh, and DA BEARS.


38. DA SOX.

39. DA CUBS. This year will be the year.

40. DA HAWKS. We’ve always loved hockey (well, for the last five years?).

41. We’re not really sure why we hate the Packers; we just do.

chicago skyline
Earl Wilkerson/Flickr

42. Best coast = no coast. But who needs a coast when you have Lake Michigan?

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Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...