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15 things that immediately become second nature when you move to Chicago

Written by
Laura Rote

The time has come. You’ve finally made it. Chicago! Life is different now—a little faster, brighter, at times smellier. It’s everything you hoped it would be and more. But little did you know, your new “normal” would soon have you memorizing the grid system and yelling at pigeons like it’s no big deal, while some of your more recent pastimes have become downright addictive and others push you outside your comfort zone. Here are just some of the things that will feel all too common soon after your arrival.

RECOMMENDED: Your guide to living in Chicago.

Running up steps to catch the El. There’s something fulfilling, exhilarating even, about running up stairs and just barely making it on the train.

Always trying new restaurants and bars. You'll never run out!

Waiting in line for aforementioned new restaurants. You don’t even care whether the wait is 90 minutes. You’ll just hover near the bar and try one of the myriad amazing cocktails while you wait to try the hottest new food.  

Doing all of the things. Mamby on the Beach, Tour de Fat and Taste of Chicago, all in the same weekend? No problem. Let’s do all the things!

Attending meet-ups. Let’s face it. You’re new here, and you don’t know a lot of people, so you start joining clubs and going to neighborhood meetings you never would have considered before.

Texting people you barely know to meet for drinks. Would you like to be my friend? Text yes or no. (See previous.)

Marveling at all of the things on wheels. Bicycles, skateboards, scooters, oh my! No, but seriously. Who will teach me how to skateboard?

Carrying cash. In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of bars and restaurants are cash-only.

Refreshing the weather app. 100% chance of rain. No, wait, 80. No, 10. Nope, definitely 80.

Spending 99% of your free time (in summer) in parks. Sitting in parks. Playing Frisbee in parks. Reading in parks. Drinking beer in parks.

Carrying an enormous umbrella, pretty much always.

Memorizing the grid system. Learning what streets correspond to what block numbers is addicting.

Yelling at pigeons. I can't be the only one, right? 

Trying to reach the bottom of your Instagram feed before you lose signal on the El.

Walking. Everywhere. (At least until you get comfortable on those wheels.)

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