Chicago rites of passage

Had to rescue your car from the Lincoln Towing lot? Gotten shushed at the Green Mill? Congrats, you've completed milestones toward becoming a true Chicagoan.

Photo Credit: Emily RawdonNo. 49: Argued on behalf of deep-dish pizza, even though your heart wasn’t really in it.

You needn't have been born here or even lived here for several years to be considered a Chicagoan (the general consensus is you must endure NYC for 10 years to call yourself a New Yorker). All you need to do is complete at least half of this list of Chicago milestones—experiences, both good and bad, or knowledge gained—to transition from Chicago newb to seasoned Chicago expert.

RECOMMENDED: Your guide to living in Chicago

How many of our 49 rites of passage have you experienced? Fill out the checklist and brag about the results by sharing your score on Facebook and Twitter.



"Ya can't-a-get to-a-heaven, if you-a smokin' dem cigarettes"


(the above was sarcasm...just in case you didn't get it...though i do NOT like the "awful preacher" comment on the article)

Tony R

I love this. Not the article, but the comments. "I'm a REAL Chicagoan, you are not!" Shut it, Hipsters. Just because you live south of the Loop in a "gritty" neighborhood doesn't make you cool.

Simoneé B

Real shit, if you're a transplat shut the fuck up. Humboldt park is a HORRIBLE neighborhood north of the loop. Thats just off the top of my head. I hate when ppl from the north side claim they are Chicagoans but cant navigate around ALL of chicago for your life.

#MommyFab [

This was not written for all Chicagoans.  I was born and raised in Chicago. I say this with total honest and no malice, surveys like this clearly shows me that the segregation of Chicago HAS NOT CHANGED. In fact, it seems it's increased ten-fold.  I left Chicago because it was too segregated and I will NEVER return. These little surveys remind me just why Chicago is the most segregated city in north, in America. Shameful! No mention of remembering "Maxwell Street", "Harold's Chicken", Going to the "Point / 55th Street Beach", Getting popcorn at Garrett's, "Waiting to see the river turn green on St. Patrick's Day", "Enjoying a spring day in Hyde Park", "Attending the African Festival outside of DuSable Museum", "Remembering Skating at the Rink", "Buying authentic pepperoni Pizza in Little Italy by UIC", "Getting a gyro after partying near Randolph in Greektown" ... there are so many things that make a Chicagoan at Chicagoan and so many rites of passages, some specific to the various ethnicities that live in the city. 

This was written for yuppy with no interest in diversity. 

I love the Chicago I grew up in, I had a great hope it would become a great city, but it will never maximize it's potential because of it's refusal to embrace diversity. 


@aug b The author hates (or is ignorant) of non-white people. When WBEZ's Afternoon Shift talked baout this story, i had to call in and mention the ethnic restaurants (i.e. a real rite of passage is in 5 different ethnic restaurants)

aug b

you hate white people

John C

frankly who ever made this list must sit at a evanston coffee house talking way to loud..      except for the geographic stuff i could careless.


I was born and raised here, but y'all don't seem to know anything about the Chicago I know. Like having mild sauce on fried chicken, eaten rib tips from at least 5 different BBQ joints (extra points if you can tell the joint solely by the sauce), and know at least 6 different places for fried shrimp. Been to Walgreens at 3:00 AM. Gets lost on the North Side because of all the crooked streets and they use name streets instead of numbered ones. The different between a street and an avenue.

Anke K

I would like to add to the "flip-flops in 40 degree weather" comment...complete the outfit with Bermuda's,  mittens and aviator hat with ear flaps.

Scott K

This is a relatively unlame item of its genre. Not hideous. Enjoyed reading it.


"awful" preacher? --wow, some definite bias. Not the "best preacher", but "awful"? 

Avoiding eye contact with Streetwise vendors?  They are NOT scammers (if they have the tag, and selling actual Streetwise papers). Way to dehumanize a person. Do you make eye contact with the young white people who try to have you sign a petition downtown?

"Sat in pee"???? Are you really that clueless. Must've been just before you saw the preacher. (or maybe after). Normal people would smell it, and look for the source, as well as looking where they are sitting before they put their butt down.

Also big lack of anything to do with Diversity. I mean, you could've mentioned having eaten at at least 5 different ethnicities of restaurants (chain places like Taco Bell & Pepe's don't count)

Speaking of food - no mention of Harold's Chicken Shack.

This is an "awful" article.

Abby H

 I totally agree! It seemed obvious that the person who wrote this actually thinks it's funny to make fun of homeless people or people struggling on the streets. It's ridiculous. This whole list is ridiculous and shows the privilege of this person. It demands that you attend expensive events and own a car and mock those who are underprivileged in order to have a Chicago experience. 

Kat O

Agreed on all points but the first—that preacher is the worst. Most times I've seen him he's shouting homophobic rants at passers-by. Generally he targets people who are smoking cigarettes, assumes they're gay, then tells them they're going to hell. Like Chicago's very own Fred Phelps.

aug b

@Abby H the preacher probably doesn't give a shit

Jen S

The building the preacher stands in front of is now the state st. Gap, not Old Navy (which moved further North).

Vanessa C

@Jen S  they moved to get away from the mean preacher, i am gathering.


Way to use a picture of "pan pizza" when referring to "deep dish".  You sure you should be telling anyone what makes them a Chicagoan or not?