Chicago November 13, 2017
12 Things People From Chicago Always Have To Explain To Out Of Towners
When visitors come to the city, they often have some preconceived notions about Chicago. Whether we come across a tourist or have one of our out-of-state family members visit, there is always something you have to explain to them.
From ways to navigate the city to the real facts behind some of our history, here are 12 things you may have to reiterate to nonresidents.
1. Our flag.
Chicagoans are in love with our flag, but out-of-towners rarely know what it means. The four red stars stand for Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1871, and the Century of Progress Exposition. The six points on the stars stand for transportation, labor, commerce, finance, populousness, and salubrity, while the stripes break up the flag to represent different regions of the city.
2. The term "Windy City."
Yes, it is definitely windy here, but that is not what that term is actually referring to. It was first used to describe Chicago in 1876, when it was competing with Cincinnati to host the World's Columbian Exposition. It suggests that the city brags about its achievements too much, but how can we not?
3. We name our roads.
They have numbers too, but we like to give our major roadways real names. The most popular (aka nightmarish) are Lake Shore Drive, the Dan Ryan, the Edens, and the Kennedy.
4. The best pizza is not at chain restaurants.
Sure, Lou's and Giordano's are good, but
real pizza is found at local hole-in-the-wall eateries that have been around for decades. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, Pequod's, and Barraco's are just a few of many greats that visitors often don't hear about.
5. Most residents don't live downtown.
While we all like to dream that city life means living right in all the action, most live outside of the Loop. Not only is it exceptionally crowded and full of office buildings and parking garages, it is also extremely expensive. Most of us live in outer neighborhoods or even the suburbs.
6. Winter Chicago and Summer Chicago are two different beasts.
It can seem like two separate worlds when you compare these seasons. In summer, Chicago is often bright and sunny. Locals and tourists enjoy the light breeze off the lake and think it's the best place in the world. But then winter comes, and it turns into a world of chaos and misery. We stay inside as much as possible when it's cold.
No, not the drug. It stands for Lake Shore Drive. Chicago has many weird names for different aspects of the city.
8. The "L"
Speaking of which, our elevated train system is just known as the "L" around here. You can also call it the CTA or just "the train."
9. The Loop
This term refers to downtown Chicago and is mainly the part of the city that is within the loop made by the elevated train. It's where all your favorite museums and parks are located.
10. We have beaches.
Some visitors are amazed to find out that Chicago has beaches - and they're gorgeous! Lake Michigan is a Great Lake, meaning it does great things, like bless us with sand banks and make us feel like we live in the tropics (if only for a few months of the year).
11. No one calls it "Chi-town."
No self-respecting Chicagoan actually uses this term. The City in a Garden, the Second City, and even the Windy City are more acceptable.
12. Not everyone who says they are from Chicago is
actually from Chicago.
Many residents of suburbs also say they are from Chicago, because it's just easier. If you tell someone you are from Burr Ridge or Skokie, and they'll just ask if that's near the city... and it is.
We’ve all had to explain these things at least once, but here are
15 more things every Chicagoan has done before.
What else do you often have to explain to your out-of-state visitors? Share your experiences with us!