33 things that will definitely happen to you when moving to Chicago

Your first year after moving to Chicago can be full of surprises, but the following are all pretty much guaranteed

Photograph: Matthew Bowie
One of the iconic views of the Chicago skyline from Willis Tower.

Welcome to Chicago! Now go buy a parka. We kid—there's more to Chicago than punishing winters. When you first move to the city, you'll discover there's also a summer here, for about two months, and in that short time span you will suck the very marrow out of this town. But there are plenty of other things you should prepare yourself for in order to smooth your transition into big-city life. (Seriously, though, go buy a parka.)

RECOMMENDED: Your guide to living in Chicago

1. You will have an argument about ketchup.

2. You will embark on a deep, though imaginary, love affair with Tom Skilling.

3. You will learn how to say "cold beer" in Polish (zimne piwo).

4. You will throw on a pair of shorts when it "heats up" to 45 degrees.

5. You will find yourself singing phone numbers like 588-2300 and 773-202-LUNA.

6. You will discover that when people say they are "from Chicago" they are usually from the suburbs.

7. You will angrily tell your cabbie that you can indeed pay with a credit card.

8. You will learn that "cornhole" is not as dirty as it sounds, and how to play it.

9. You will ponder why so many people eat Flamin' Hot Cheetos, after constantly seeing empty bags on the ground.

10. You will have your bike or parts of it stolen.

11. You will talk indignantly about how South Side is ignored and then never go there.

12. You will begin to find corrupt politicians kind of endearing.

13. You will begrudgingly pay up for an umbrella with wind vents.

14. You will keep the Cubs schedule on your phone, not because you are a fan but because you want to avoid the Red Line like the plague on game days.

15. You will become adept at parallel parking in a space the exact length of your car. A little nudging never hurts.

16. You will get irritated at tourists holding up traffic by asking bus drivers for directions, even though you were doing the same thing a few months ago.

17. You will realize that the lakefront bike path is a people-choked clusterfuck and will avoid it at all costs.

18. You will go on several architecture tours, and they will never get boring.

19. You will take a summer trip to the Wisconsin Dells, and enjoy all the cheese (figurative and literal curds). 

20. You will find a favorite hot dog stand and defend it vehemently against anyone who disagrees.

21. You will be equally excited and terrified the first time the temperature dips below zero.

22. You will be astonished at how clean Chicago is compared to other cities.

23. You will go to Navy Pier...once.

24. You will knock everyone for eating dinner so early in the winter, until suddenly eating at 4pm sounds like a good idea.

25. You will quickly pick Cubs or Sox, even if you don't care about baseball.

26. You will be dismayed at the lack of mountains, or hills, or topography of any kind, really.

27. You will learn there's no such thing as a snow day here.

28. You will break up with someone because they don't live near a convenient El stop.

29. You will find out who Peter Francis Geraci is and become accustomed to his monotone.

30. You will be surprised how much Lake Michigan looks like an ocean, until it fucking freezes.

31. You will quickly learn the names of every local brewery and start to drink more beer than ever before. 

32. You will turn down a job in the suburbs just because of the commute.

33. You will discover there are no sweeter words to a commuter than "this train will now run express to Lake."


Also check out:
31 things that will definitely happen to you when moving to New York
24 things that will definitely happen to you when moving to LA


Ron J
Ron J

34. You will realize that all white people under age 45 are from Michigan (and should go back to Michigan).

Robert G
Robert G

No. The El ALWAYS expresses past the stop I'm trying to get to. ALWAYS.

Jonathan B
Jonathan B

I enjoyed this. There are so many neighborhoods in Chicago and all of them have different experiences. If you're looking for information about Chicago Neighborhoods or are looking for homes for sale in Chicago see: http://braxhomes.com/2014/10/24/living-in-chicago/  Has some good information for people thinking about making the move to Chicago

Byron H
Byron H

None of this happened to me. Obnoxious and lame.

Danielle T
Danielle T

Pretty much on target but I don hate how Time Out articles only refer to people who do NOT live on the South Side, further alienating people on the South Side. Way to keep up the stereotype. 

Crystal K
Crystal K

Lived here for 10 years and I only got 7

Joshua M
Joshua M

You will get a parking ticket.

Little N
Little N

Great List for the most part, but what about 'DA' Bears, the supposed Chicago Pizza (though 9 out of 10 Chicagoans eat thin crust), festivals, festivals, festivals; etc...

Amanda P
Amanda P

No one calls it cornhole.

Shiggy D
Shiggy D

i'm just here to blame obama for all the shootings

Jamie M
Jamie M

As a new Chicago resident (11 months now), I'm proud to report a solid 26 out of 33....