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25 things that only make sense to Chicagoans

What out-of-towers will just never get, from dibs to cruising on LSD

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

Maybe it's because Chicago's a big city in the middle of the Midwest. Or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we thrive in mostly hellish weather. It could also be because we're constantly fielding comparisons to New York. Whatever it is, Chicagoans have developed some truly unique ways of thinking about the world. On any given day, you'll catch folks bickering about which name we use for the certain Chicago attractions, flaunting summer clothes in still-chilly weather and tons of other particularities that out-of-towners just won't understand. Here are 25 of the many things that only make sense to Chicagoans.

RECOMMENDED: Check out the 13 rules of living in Chicago

1. Ketchup is a totally reasonable thing to fight over. Hey, we've all got opinions. Nothing wrong with a little healthy debate. 

2. A lawn chair is an acceptable way to claim your parking spot in the winter. We may not all love "dibs," but we accept it as a way of life.

3. We don't call it Chi-Town. Or the Windy City. Or the Second City. Just Chicago.

4. It's a big-ass lake. "Whoa, it looks like an ocean!" —Every person visiting Chicago for the first time.

5. How to pronounce "paczki." Doesn’t matter if you’re Polish or not, you just know.

6. Wearing shorts when it's 40 degrees. "Warm weather" is a state of mind.

7. "Take the Eisenhower/Edens/Dan Ryan/Kennedy." Expressways are people, too (and they're probably under construction). 

8. Sometimes it takes 108 years for your team to win a championship. That’s normal! No fair-weather fans here. 

9. Viagra Triangle. We don't even want to know what this might mean to someone from New York.

10. "I like my sandwich dipped." Tells you everything you need to know. 

11. Every car should have jumper cables, salt, a shovel and at least one ice scraper in the trunk. Don't forget an extra set of gloves, either. 

12. Waiting at the crosswalk is more of a suggestion than a law. Thanks for the tip, but I’m going to keep walking!

13. Forget sneakers and tennis shoes: When we go for a run, we lace up our gym shoes. Not to be confused with the sandwich of the same name. 

14. We don't care about deep dish as much as everyone thinks we do. Not the hill we're gonna die on. If you don't like it, fine by us.

15. The words "The Taste" send shivers down your spine. You just have to experience it to understand the fear.

16. It’s fine to combine Washington and Lincoln's birthdays, but Casimir Pulaski gets his own day. Now if only everyone could get that day off.

17. If we ever need to file Chapter 7 or 13, we know who to call. "I'm attorney Peter Francis Geraci." 

18. Why someone would ever willingly take a shot of Malört. It's just a thing. 

19. "I’m taking LSD all the way home." Please don’t say this in any other city.

20. We all know someone who swears they've seen Mothman. The flying monster was really out and about (apparently) in the summer of 2017. 

21. Why the Loop smells like chocolate on a nice summer day. Ahh, Blommer, how we love thee. 

22. It's NBD that fighter jets are zooming overhead on the third weekend in August. Well, once we remember that it's the third weekend in August.

23. We'll regularly roll up to restaurants with a six-pack in tow. And we're thankful every day to live in one of the few cities where BYOB reigns supreme.

24. Cheese and caramel popcorn taste absolutely perfect together. We wouldn't have it any other way.

25. We're still calling it the Sears Tower. And while we're at it, still calling it Marshall Field's.

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