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Italian Beef
Photograph: Nick Murway

23 guilty pleasures that every Chicagoan embraces

To be honest, we don't even feel that guilty about some of these.

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

It's no secret that Chicago is a pretty proud city (and hey, for good reason!). But even as we boast about our world-class dining scene, incredible museums and other noteworthy attractions, most Chicagoans are humble enough to acknowledge that—every once in a while—we also love to indulge in a guilty pleasure or two. Whether we're taking shots at Chicago deep dish pizza or staring mindlessly at every movie/TV show that's ever been set in our city, we can't help but get sucked into these guilty pleasures: Here are some of the biggest culprits.

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1. Watching your neighbors duke it out via dibs. There’s gotta be a German word for that.

2. Bingeing all the terrible Netflix shows with scenes in Chicago. Emily in Paris? More like Emily in River North (For About Three Minutes).

3. Waiting in the obscenely long drive-thru line for Portillo's. Sometimes you've just gotta have those cheese fries.

4. Talking shit about Naperville. Lifetime residents and ex-suburbanites alike can agree on this one.

5. Dunking on deep dish. “It's just, like, a cheese casserole!”

6. Showing off Chicago attractions to visiting relatives. It's not like we'd ever go to Navy Pier for fun, but if Aunt Cathy from Iowa really wants to see it... bring on the Rainbow Cones and overpriced cocktails, baby.

7. Taking e-scooter joyrides. Yes, it's annoying when other people do this. No, that won't stop us from hopping on a Lime every once in a while when it's scooter pilot season.

8. Italian beef. Just in general. No one feels good about eating an Italian beef.

9. Any House Hunters episode filmed in Chicago. We always know better than those couples.

10. Retelling the play-by-play of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win. As if anyone has already forgotten.

11. Driving to Wisconsin solely for more New Glarus. It’s the only excuse we need for a road trip.

12. Late-night tacos. The most pure joy there is.

13. Scheming your way onto a boat in the summer. You call it “using wealthy acquaintances for their nautical hookup.” We call it “the only way to get onto Lake Michigan.”

14. Taking a Lyft/Uber instead of the CTA. We know, we know, it’s bad for the environment. But waiting on an outdoor platform in the dead of winter? No thanks.

15. Drinking Old Style instead of craft beer. We should really have higher standards.

16. B96. We barely even feel guilty about this. Who doesn’t love Top 40s from time to time?

17. Repeating outfits in the winter. If you never took off your coat, you basically didn’t wear the outfit in the first place.

18. Eavesdropping on tourists at Navy Pier’s Margaritaville. It’s just so damn entertaining.

19. Working yourself into the narrative of Chance the Rapper’s rise to fame. “Um, yeah, I totally bought his mixtape when he was still in high school.”

20. Visiting New York City. We love talking shit, but deep down we relish a good trip to New York.

21. Complaining (a lot) about winter. Who's really gonna hold this against us—it's a coping mechanism!

22. Lingering to catch a whiff of Garrett's Popcorn during your commute. One of the nicer smells in the city, we'll say.

23. Putting ketchup on our hot dogs. SHHHHH.

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