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How to spot someone from the suburbs in Chicago

Even if they commute in regularly, we’ve noticed our suburban friends tend to have tells

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

Let’s be honest: It isn’t that hard to spot someone from out of town in Chicago, let alone a person visiting from the suburbs. Not that being from the suburbs is a bad thing—’cause it’s not—it’s just a little easier to pick suburbanites out in the crowd. Sometimes they actually are the crowd.

Those from the suburbs should feel at home in Chicago. After all, we’re one of the friendliest cities for tourists in the U.S. And yes, no matter how much one might protest, we do view those who commute from the suburbs as tourists—even if it’s just for work. “Home is where the heart is,” as the saying goes. There’s no point in fighting it, we Chicagoans can spot these folks from three blocks away.

  1. They stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk.

  2. They are part of the snake-like hordes crossing the river toward Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center.

  3. They patiently wait for the traffic lights to change.

  4. They are at Navy Pier. By choice.

  5. They ask the bus driver if this bus will take them to Navy Pier.

  6. They are looking up, blinking lots… while stopped in the middle of the sidewalk.

  7. They are loudly talking about sports on the train.

  8. They just said, “parking isn't that bad in Wrigleyville during a Cubs game.”

  9. They have reservations at Dick’s Last Resort.

  10. They don’t know how to get to the lake.

  11. They are staring at the Picasso statue for a very long time.

  12. They are taking photos with an iPad.

  13. They know absolutely nothing about the South Side.

  14. They ask which train goes to the airport and don’t specify Midway or O’Hare.

  15. They are waiting for a table at Giordano’s, not realizing there are multiple locations.

  16. They are intently watching the guy painted silver do tricks on Michigan Avenue.

  17. They loudly exclaim, “I think I saw this place on Chicago Fire!”

  18. They are wearing a three-piece suit and sneakers in the morning.

  19. …or Skechers Shape Ups at any time of the day.

  20. They are anxiously watching the clock at the bar to make sure they don't miss the last Metra.

  21. They are still perfecting their Ventra card tap.

  22. They joke about Chicago gun crime.

  23. They call anywhere in the city downtown.


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