10 Things Chicagoans Are Irrationally Passionate About

Courtesy of Portillo's

Chicagoans are understandably passionate when it comes to things like the Bears' glory days or dressing a hot dog -- sports and encased meats are the lifeblood of the city after all. But there are also some more nuanced issues that will spark a fire in the belly of locals, subjects that, after a beer or two too many at the bar, would lead someone to tear a Canadian to shreds for claiming the maple leaf is more beautiful than the flag of Chicago. If you ever find yourself looking to stir the pot with a local, give any one of the following 10 topics a try. We guarantee they’ll provide you with hours of, err, lively conversation.

Chicago flag
Flickr/Francesco Villa

The Chicago flag

You can barely go one block in Logan Square without encountering someone with the Chicago flag on their clothing, bike, and/or skin. The Chicago flag tattoo craze has gotten so out of hand, there’s even a website dedicated to showcasing them -- and if you browse long enough, you’ll probably even stumble upon someone you know. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that our flag’s design is near perfect according to the fine folks who study flags for a living.  

Encased meats

As Chicagoans, we waste a lot of energy being uptight about our food. Sure, extolling the evils of ketchup doesn’t seem that insane, until one day you find yourself at an “American” restaurant in London lecturing a beleaguered employee on the complete and total inaccuracy of their “Chicago-style” hot dog, which should never, ever be topped with sauerkraut, much less have KETCHUP on it. EVER!! DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO RESPECT!?!  ...Whew. Deep breaths. I’m OK, I swear.

chicago weather

Weather schadenfreude

While it’s totally normal to talk about the weather, we tend to take things a bit overboard here in #Chiberia. We all have those Facebook friends who act like every snowstorm is a Snowpocalypse, lose their shit over a derecho, then complain nonstop about heat once summer rolls around. Then there are people like this guy, who was so frustrated by inaccurate weather forecasts that he launched a takedown campaign against Tom Skilling. Only in Chicago, my friends.  

Our resilience

Speaking of weather, Chicagoans really love bragging about how gosh-darn tough we are -- particularly to people in warmer climates. Who can withstand subzero temperatures? We can! Who is completely unphased by a drunk guy taking a piss in the back of a CTA bus at 8am on a subzero day after we’ve walked eight miles uphill to school, completely barefoot? Us! Who will mercilessly taunt anyone from the southern portion of the United States who has the nerve to complain about snow flurries? We will! Who swears they’d be the only city able to withstand the apocalypse due to their innate toughness, but would actually die in a week due to a lack of basic survival skills? CHICAGO!

chicago transit
Flickr/Scott L

Personal space (or lack thereof)

Given that Chicago is a crowded-ass city, it’s perfectly natural for residents -- particularly those in the city’s more population-dense neighborhoods -- to start getting a little feisty about personal space. It starts innocently enough: jockeying for seats on the Red Line, publicly shaming manspreaders on social media, or sending your friends snarky Snapchats. Unfortunately, before you know it, you’ve become so territorial that you find yourself hosing down the car who dared to remove your dibs on a subzero day while laughing maniacally. NOW GET OFF MY LAWN.


Despite being compared to everything from embalming fluid to gasoline to smelling like "a hairy guy with gold chains" in a "weird Greek discotheque," Malört has somehow become a Chicago favorite of deep-dish proportions. No matter how bad your first experience with Malört was, you can’t resist the temptation of inflicting it upon everyone you know. You probably also can’t resist blathering on about it to all of your out-of-state friends, either.

sears tower

Name changes

When it comes to name changes, Chicagoans have absolutely no chill. In fact, we’ve completely lost our minds over every major name change that’s occurred in the last 15 years. Buck up, dear comrades. As the great William Wallace once shouted: “They may take our names, but they’ll never take our FRRRREEEEEDOM!” Our freedom to continue calling them Sears Tower, Marshall Field's, and Comiskey, that is.

Hating on the City of Chicago

For as much as we rip on those that mock our city, we’re twice as bad when it comes to ripping on the City of Chicago. From privatized parking meters to shady red-light cameras to that little FBI probe in the '90s and our all-around legendary political corruption, they’ve given us a lot of material to work with. Can you blame us if we’re still cackling over Daleyisms decades later, or can’t stop laughing our little heads off over that video of Rahm Emanuel dancing to “Blurred Lines”?

Also, defending Chicago to the death

Nelson Algren once said that loving Chicago is “like loving a woman with a broken nose” -- and he’s right. We’re well aware of our city’s imperfections, but should an outsider dare insult our city, we’ll gleefully rip them to shreds -- and we’ll do so in the most creative way possible. Here’s to you, Brianna and Jaelin!

The Chicago vs. New York rivalry

Chicagoans have been trading jabs with New Yorkers for as long as anyone can remember. Given that both cities have more in common than any other city in America, there’s plenty to duke it out over. Most of the time, it’s all in good fun… until it’s not. Like, you know, that time Jon Stewart called Chicago-style pizza "an above-ground marinara swimming pool for rats." Rahm clapped back in the most Chicago of ways: he sent The Daily Show deep-dish pizzas covered in dead fish. Rahm: 1, NY: 0. We apologize for ever mocking your sweet dance moves, Mr. Mayor.

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In Lisa Chatroop’s defense, she’d been living in London far too long and was incredibly homesick for Chicago when she lectured that restaurant on their disastrous take on a Chicago-style hot dog. Say hi on Twitter: @LisaChatroop or read more on DailyUrbanista.com.