Explore Chicago

20 Things We Love About Chicago

From beaches to hot dogs, from Capone to the Rock N Roll McDonald's, these are the Chicagoisms that stir our hearts.

Ah, Chicago. A "land" of 2.7 million people. A place famous for its deep-dish pizzas, its take on hot dogs and its politics. From the lakeside beaches to classic bars, from gangsters to outrageous snowstorms, these are things we love about Chicago:

1. If a visitor has a map open, Chicagoans stop to help.

2. We have beaches. And people do crazy things there like run into the lake during winter!

3. Cheddar and caramel go together in the popcorn juxtaposition made famous by our own Garrett Popcorn.

4. You won’t see Alaska from Willis Tower, but you can see Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, obviously.

5. The Willis Tower will always be known as the Sears Tower.

6. We’re more into bars than nightclubs.

Chicago bar and speakeasy Barrelhouse Flat
We'll take a classic bar like Barrelhouse Flat (pictured) over a loud club in Chicago any day. (©Jesse LiRola)

7. The Rock N Roll McDonald’s is also a music museum.

8. Even though we know Al Capone was a very bad guy, it’s still fun to show visitors the places he frequented.

9. The “El” stands for “elevated,” though some trains run street level or underground. 

10. Route 66 starts in Chicago on Adams Street just west of Michigan Avenue. Look for the visitors snapping selfies by the sign.

11. Avoiding potholes is a year-round sport in the Windy City.

12. We couldn’t get through winter without Columbia, North Face and Sorel. 

13. Marshall Field’s will always have a special place in our hearts. 

14. Intelligentsia coffee first—we’ll Starbucks, but only if we have to.

15. There are two general seasons in Chicago: winter and construction.

16. Brownies were invented at the Palmer House Hilton and are still on the menu.

17. Asking for ketchup on your hot dog might get you the stink eye.

18. Go ahead: Wander down that dark alley. You might just stumble upon a speakeasy (Green Door Tavern) or cocktail den (Untitled).

19. Addresses follow a pattern: evens on the north and west sides of the street, odds on the south and east.

20. We shake our heads when other cities shut down for a snowstorm. Just Google Polar Vortex, Chiberia and Snowmageddon.

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