Ahhh, tourist season -- that magical time of year when locals need to allot extra travel time to navigate the hundreds of thousands of slow-walking tourists clogging the sidewalks. Don’t get us wrong -- we really do love seeing people from around the world enjoying our fair city. However, it can also get a little exhausting, and when you're anywhere near Downtown, chances are pretty solid that you’ve heard all of the following remarks at least once or twice from out-of-towners. "How do I get to The Miracle Mile?"
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“Deep dish is good, but I don’t know how you guys eat it all the time”
Here’s a hint: we don’t. In fact, many locals only eat deep dish when they’re entertaining out-of-town guests (oh, the irony). How’s about you try some real Chicago-style pizza next time you visit? Yes, it’s thin crust. No, it’s not New York style. Seriously, just try it for yourself.
“I didn’t know Chicago had beaches!”
OK, so we kinda get why people may be surprised to see sandy beaches in Chicago. However, it’s the people that say things like, “I didn’t know Chicago was on the ocean!” that really kill us. Kids, this is precisely why you’re forced to take those seemingly pointless map quizzes in school: so you don’t grow up to be that guy that can’t remember basic US geography.
“Drivers are really aggressive here”
Actually, you’re just not paying attention to the walk signal. If we had a dollar for every time we saw tourists blindly walk into traffic along Michigan Ave, we’d have enough to buy a new car to drive aggressively in. Didn’t your mother ever teach you to look both ways before crossing?
“So... do you know any gang members or mobsters?”
This is a silly question. Anyway, I heard you’re from Texas. Do you know any cowboys? Oh, you went to high school with a few guys that became cowboys? And your neighbor’s uncle is a cowboy? There’s your answer. Capisce?
“Why doesn't anyone have a Chicago accent?"
Because you’re Downtown, that’s why. Ninety percent of the people around you are probably visiting (or transplanted) from someplace like Omaha, Nebraska. If you venture out into a non-touristy neighborhood, you’ll surely find "da Chicawgo accent" of your dreams.
“Compared to New York, Chicago is... ”
While most of the time, this is followed up with a polite compliment (i.e., “Chicago is so much cleaner!”), constantly being compared to New York is tiring. Yes, both cities have a lot in common. Yes, we know we’re better. End of story.
“Who visits Chicago?!”
Yes, we’ve actually been asked this ridiculous question by snarky out-of-towners who’ve never set foot in Chicago. In case you’ve also been wondering, here’s your answer: over 50 million domestic visitors in 2015 alone, not including international visitors. According to actual tourism statistics, Chicago is the third most-visited US city after Orlando and New York (booyah!).
Listen, Chicago is a big-ass city with countless bars, restaurants, and hotels. If you give us an address, we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction, and if you’re visiting from another country, we’ll probably stop and look up the info for you. But seriously -- don’t get frustrated with us if we don’t have an answer for "it's an Italian restaurant Downtown that starts with an 'M.'"
“Chicagoans must be really fat”
Contrary to what you may have gleaned via Saturday Night Live skits and episodes of Mike & Molly, Chicagoans are (gasp!) pretty average city-dwellers. We may have a penchant for terribly unhealthy food, but we balance it out by spending plenty of time outdoors and walking way, wayyy more than most Americans. In fact, Chicago is probably one of the few places in America you’ll still find people out jogging in below-freezing temps.
“It’s not as windy as I thought it would be!”
For the last time: the nickname the “Windy City” has absolutely nothing to do with our weather. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it’s actually the 50th windiest city in the America.
“Chicagoans are so nice!”
Actually, this one is still good to hear. What, did you really expect us to be rude to your face? If you didn’t know what “Midwestern nice” was before reading this post, you do now. Have a nice day!
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After two years of living Downtown, Lisa Chatroop has heard more than her fair share of amusing remarks. Ask her for directions on Twitter: @Chicagoista or DailyUrbanista.com.