Lies to tell tourists: 12 Chicago-themed fibs

A dozen Chicago-themed fibs that are sure to fool your relatives and guests from out of town.

Pssst: Here are some Chicago fracts your out-of-town relatives would love to hear.

Pssst: Here are some Chicago fracts your out-of-town relatives would love to hear.


Back in our Liars Issue, we explored the topic of untruths, the ones we tell ourselves, those that we're told every day and one Illinois public servant who relied on falsehoods almost as much as his beloved hairbrush. We covered how to be a better liar—and even the advantageous qualities of lying. What we neglected to discuss is how fun it is to fib to those wide-eyed, know-nothing suckers from out of town: tourists.

TOC
's London mother publication has been helping its readers dupe gullible, camera-toting travelers for years. So if your holiday break is beginning to bore you, might we suggest popping over to the Mag Mile or Navy Pier? But first, arm yourself with the following nuggets of pure Chicago fiction. The credulous vacationers will crane their necks and gawk without seeing the reality in front of them: you're just bullshitting.

The Chicago River turns green once a year due to a naturally occurring form of algae that happens to coincide with St. Patrick's Day.

There is no ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog because the city's first mayor was allergic to tomatoes.


Buckingham Fountain is named after Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham.


Commissioned by the Chicago Police Department as a means of public shaming, Crown Fountain in Millennium Park features the faces of Illinois's sex offenders.


In 2009, Lake Forest–raised actor Vince Vaughn tried unsuccessfully to buy naming rights for the Sears Tower from Willis Group Holdings, with the intention of preserving the skyscraper's name.


Lake Point Tower was built east of Lake Shore Drive because the architect was homesick for his native state of Michigan and wanted to build a downtown residence "as east as possible."

A common misconception is that the Chicago style of dance "steppin'" refers to the movement of one's feet when in fact it refers to the creator of the dance, Richard Steppen.

Locals refer to each block of State Street by the name of one of the 50 states.

Willis Tower may no longer be North America's tallest building, but Chicago retains at least one record: The roof of the John Hancock Center has the world's highest outdoor swimming pool.

The shoulder on Lake Shore Drive is reserved for Divvy bike riders.

A committee is petitioning the city to rename the Chicago River the Hudson River 2 after famous Chicago-born singer-actress Jennifer Hudson.

The voice calling out the stops on Chicago Transit Authority trains: George Clooney.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)

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