The 37 Grossest Things About Chicago

In many ways, Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. In other ways, it’s really not. It all depends on the way you look at it. And, since we’ve already looked at it the first way (see: why Chicago is better than every other city ever), today we're looking at it the second way. Here are the 37 grossest things about Chicago.

1. The oil accumulating on your face after five minutes of being outside in August

It’s like you’re 16 all over again.

2. Mystery subway seat stains

Could be donut glaze. Could be NOT AT ALL donut glaze.

3. The bathrooms at any bar on Clark St

Aim is not great here.

4. Frozen condoms on the sidewalk

Not that we’re not intrigued as to how it got there.

5. Caked-on sidewalk vomit

Made equally gross by repeated foot traffic.

6. Those centipede bugs in your basement

You can kill them, but they’ll be back.


7. Cicadas

Once every 17 years is more than enough.

8. Pigeon excrement, everywhere

Seriously, pigeons?

9. Navy Pier

We can (kind of) help.

10. The weather


11. Coal smokestack air

Can’t be good for the environment.

12. Ketchup on hot dogs

It’s a Chicago thing.

Flickr/Ryan pikkel

13. Exposure to Chicago River water

Forever unclean.

14. Weird sex shops on Hubbard...

... and the gentlemen who frequent them.

15. Naperville

Enough said.

16. The underside of your blanket after lying in a park

Those stains are for life.

17. The urinals at Wrigley Field

Dividers would be nice.

18. Yellow snow

That’s not a lemonade snow cone.

Flickr/Antony Mayfield

19. Cab smells

Not to mention cabbie smells.

20. St. Paddy's Day

And how you feel after St. Paddy’s Day.

21. Retrieving your car from a city tow lot

Is this where Ebola began?

22. Sitting behind a garbage truck in traffic

On the bright side: free smells.

23. The dog poo that appears everywhere once the snow melts

Hidden no more. Like magic!

24. Chicago River garbage...

... especially after it rains.

25. The smell of chocolate and sewage mixing in the air near Kinzie and Canal

Not a great combo.

26. Being the bedbug capital of the US


27. Beach closings because of seagull crap

Yes, it happens.

Flickr/Jennifer Brandel

28. The scum that builds up in the "L" tunnels

Anyone have extra rubber gloves?

29. The entirety of Lower Wacker Dr

So many dumpsters, so little ventilation.

30. Anything wet that drips on you from above

No, that’s not a rain shower.

32. White Castle food, before 1am

After 1am? A thing of beauty.

33. This Bears team

A joke, kinda.

34. Masturbating bums

Can’t be a good thing.

35. Humboldt Park after Riot Fest

Good thing you didn’t wear your new white shoes. Or did you?

36. Dirty snow

Once it hits the ground, all claims to beauty are off.

37. Lollapalooza Porta-Pottys

We've all been there.

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Jay Gentile is Thrillist’s Chicago Editor and remains optimistic that the good outweighs the gross... most of the time. Follow him @ThrillistCHI.