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Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas

5 things only Chicagoans do in public

Written by
Clayton Guse

Chicagoans aren't shy about expressing themselves. Whether it's by way of joking and tomfoolery or a rant during a six-cocktail brunch, pretty much everyone in the city is going to find a way to tell you how they feel. But sometimes folks roaming about the city forget that they're in public, and expressions normally reserved for a private setting ooze out like the juice from a sport pepper. From having way too intense of a Snapchat game to doling out perfect directions, here are five things Chicagoans do in public that residents of most other cities generally manage to keep private. 

1. Eating a dripping Italian beef

For some Chicagoans, a dipped Italian beef covered in hot and sweet peppers is best served on the El. It sort of makes sense—there's no way to eat an Italian beef without dripping gravy, beef bits and pepper juice all over the place, so why not keep that mess out of your home and on the floor of a train car? True Chicagoans will master the skill of consuming a soaked sandwich while walking down a busy street without spilling a drop on their clothing.  

2. Giving out impeccable directions to strangers

The longer you live in Chicago, the more knowledgeable you'll become of the city's grid system. Those who know their way around town are not shy about flaunting it, and when strangers ask for directions or simply appear to be lost, overzealous geography nerds spew out the most efficient route as if they recite them daily. Try getting that kind of hospitality in New York.  

3. Talking loudly about their sexual endeavors

Chicagoans love a good slap and tickle, a hot pancake or, heck, even a whirlybird. But sometimes residents of the city get a bit too excited about their bedroom activities and talk loudly about them in a train car or in line at the coffee shop. Nearly everyone in the city has overheard a conversation about good, bad, ugly, awkward, gross or drunk sex. 

4. Obnoxiously choreographing Snapchats 

Since Chicago got its own permanent Snapchat story, locals have spent way too much of their time trying to take a perfect photo or video of the city. Most of the users are millennials, the most obnoxious of whom shoot six takes of a video on the El, pose for a selfie in the middle of a busy sidewalk or (somehow) take a video from a jet ski on the lake. We'd like to pretend that we're above such a simple form of social media, but we definitely watch it daily. 

5. Dancing like the city is a pee-ridden stage

We've all seen the cyclists who are dancing while biking, seemingly having the time of their lives. There's the dude in the colored suit who dances on the State Street bridge every afternoon. And let's not forget the drunken 3am Blue Line ride that somehow turns into a rendition of R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet. Chicagoans love to dance, and just because there are a few party poopers who might frown upon a public exhibition of your mediocre skills doesn't mean that you shouldn't groove out wherever and whenever your heart desires. 

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