How to: Visit Chicago Like a Chicagoan

[Ed. note: The below piece of writing is extremely funny. It is also extremely profane. The word irreverent does not go far enough. If you’re offended by salty language and off-color humor, please just enjoy our photo today and I promise we’ll be back to our usual family-friendly routine promptly tomorrow.]

[Ed. note part 2: It’s also really long. Tough.]

[Ed Hirsch is a huge nerd, rap enthusiast, and homesick Chicagoan currently stationed in Dallas. He is the love child of Studs Terkel and David Mamet.]

Since moving out of Chicago, I’m asked about every three months for advice about visiting Chicago: what to do, where to stay, what to eat, and so on. I’ve come to realize in these conversations that either (a) I’m a complete slug of a person or (b) everyone assumes I spent twenty-eight years in Chicago living as a tourist. While (a) is probably true, this article is about (b). People will ask me about a restaurant like Charlie Trotter’s or what I think about the Drake Hotel, and I have to remind people that I was living in Chicago on $40k a year. I make more now ($41k!) and I still don’t stay at the Drake when I fly back home. I guess I just know a bunch of obnoxious WASPs, but I don’t think you learn anything about Chicago by trying to hang around Streeterville and Gold Coast for a long weekend. So below I’m going to compile my true honest-to-god suggestions for visiting Chicago.

Where do I fly into?

I don’t care. They’re both about the same distance from where you’re going to stay. Yes, I know where you’re going to stay.

How much is a cab from the airport? Will the cab driver rip me off?

1. If you take a cab from the airport to downtown you’re a coward. Get on the El. Smell public transportation, you baby.

2. Yes, a cab driver will at some point rip you off. You’re a guest in the city, and you should be happy to overpay our cabbies.

OK, so I’m staying at the Drake…

Hahahahahhahahaha and you’re worried about getting ripped off by a cabbie? You bitch.

Stay at the Tremont. It’s $90 a night, two blocks from the Drake, and nobody worth a dime gives a shit that you roomed where some princess or Oprah or whoever stayed. You didn’t get treated like them anyway.

OK, I’m checked in. Now what do I do?

OK, so here are the things I think I would list as cool things to do in Chicago. No particular order:

1) River tour. If it’s warm out, a historical/architecture tour of Chicago is rad for both tourists and locals. Aside from a nice, breezy trip on the not overly smelly river, architectural tours in Chicago actually have significance. This isn’t your chumpsville city where you paid a bunch of dipshits a cool million to design a glass dildo in the center of your three-block downtown. Buildings in Chicago actually mean something to the history of  the city, and you’ll learn something about the meat packing industry, health and sanitation, immigrant migration, and other cool stuff that you probably won’t appreciate because you’re a fucking uneducated hick. Fuck you.

2) Art Institute. Chicago museums are in general the types of museums you have to commit a day to, and I think the Art Institute probably does that experience the best. If you can figure out a way to get tickets in advance it will save you twenty minutes in a line. The “doll-houses” are downstairs, and you can skip the African and Asian art (you fucking racists) and go through the Greek/Roman section and hit up the American classics. That will kill two hours at least, more likely three. You’ve seen about 20 percent of the museum. Also please consider reading (if you can actually read) things about the art. Art has meaning kinda!

Realize your father is terrible.

3) Get someone over the age of fifty to drive you to Pullman Town. I was lucky enough to tag along one weekend when my dad took a friend of his on a tour of the South Side. See, despite what thirty-something yuppie shitheels in Chicago think, the South Side actually wasn’t always just for black people! You should swing through Bridgeport, over to Bronzeville, down to Hyde Park, through Washington Park to Englewood, and then on to Pullman. Ideally this person giving the tour is Jewish, but I don’t have high hopes for you. Pullman is itself an interesting historic landmark, and there’s a nice little museum.

4) Cubs game. As a Sox fan, it makes me barf to say this, but you’ll get better photos and it’s more interesting to walk around Clark and Addison even though it’s just a bunch of frat guys. Hell, you’ll probably feel pretty comfortable with that.

That should eat up your weekend.

OK, but what I was thinking of doing…

I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE THINKING OF DOING IT’S ALL STUPID THAT’S WHY I DON’T CARE.

1) Shopping on the Mag Mile. Ahahhahahahahahahah you fucking dipshit. You don’t have an outlet store in your state? Believe me, I want your fucking money flowing through the coffers of the city of Chicago as much as anyone, but if you came to Chicago to shop you are human trash and I hope you die.
2) Going up the Hancock/Sears Tower. Wow, you went up high. You were higher up when you flew in. Also, you’re going to spend too much on a drink in the Signature Room while sitting next to some screaming kid. Great move, asshat.
3) Seeing a show. Yeah, you aren’t going to see anything interesting, you’re going to see some musical prepping for Broadway or back touring. Wait for it to come to your dumbass state, maybe? You could go to iO or a million other great improv troupes or small theaters, but risking being in a theater where you might have to have a thought about what you just saw is likely for you pretty scary.
4) See the Bean without a local. Seeing “The Sky Bridge” seems like such a great idea too, right?! Millennium Park is like a park but without all that history and gravitas that real Chicago parks have. If you don’t have a fat half-Italian bitching about Daley as you try to take your stupid reflection shot, you’re incapable of raising children right. Ponder that.
5) The Taste. I hope someone shoots you.

Pictured: three stabbings, eight thefts, and someone eating a stupid thing on a stick

OK, I am properly humbled. Now, WHERE DO I EAT CHICAGO HAS GREAT FOOD RIGHT GREAT FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD STUFF FOOD IN MY MOUTH I NEED TO BE A FAT PIGGIE.

OK, now here’s where we get serious.

Eating like a Chicagoan means understanding you can get good to great food anywhere. Yeah, I’m sure Rick Bayless has had his proverbial knob gobbled by every Food Network person you watch, but it turns out if you don’t go to some rib joint that’s open until 1 a.m. you may as well be a plantation owner. So here are some quintessential Chicago dining experiences.

Chicago-Style Pizza

Yeah I know you went to Gino’s East or Giordano’s or whatever. You did it wrong. First off, you ate at the restaurant. Second, you were probably mostly sober. In no way is that how you approach eating a Chicago-style pizza.

1) Go out to a dive bar on the north side (anything west of Southport and north of Belmont will count, I feel; YMMV) and begin drinking. If they have PBR you should have at least two. Same with Schlitz. If you want to do the beer snob thing, you’re welcome to it. Same with scotch. No wine. Vodka is OK.
2) Keep drinking.
3) Begin talking to locals. They will be the interesting people around you.
4) Become best friends with locals. It should be about 10:30 by now.
5) Keep drinking. Decide if you are going to try to sleep with any of these people.
6) At 12:30, begin talking about how you’re hungry. This will be true as you have not eaten.
7) Convince your new friends to take you to their apartment. It will look like this most likely:

Hello, I am a two-flat.

8) Order a deep dish from Chicago’s Pizza.

9) Fifty minutes later, make a major ordeal about how you are going to pay this delivery guy.
10) Eat a slice of the pizza that you have somehow paid for.
11) Fall asleep on couch, not having sex with locals.
12) Wake up four hours later. At this point the pizza should be sitting on the coffee table across from you. The cheese has congealed and the sauce gone cold. Think to yourself “There is a block of cheese inside of me. It has to get out…right?” Ponder your life failures as you sneak out of this person’s apartment and try to find a cab/el stop.

This is a picture of failure.

This is a picture of failure.

Chicago Meat

Oh you want to go to a steakhouse? Ohhhhhhh hmmmmmm yeah no. Half the places out there are chains, and you aren’t mafia enough to pull off being in the ones that aren’t. Chicago meat to you can be summed up as HogDogGyroItalianBeefSausageBurger. Also ribs.

The shortcut to all your Chicago meat needs is Portillo’s. I know what you’re thinking: did this guy who can’t stop being a prick to me just tell me to go to a chain? First off, it’s no chain you ever heard of so put your dick away. Second, go ask around about Portillo’s and see what kind of reaction you get. Portillo’s is like the only popular thing Chicagoans like that’s not named Derrick Rose.

But, if you want to live it real, avoid Portillo’s and find your own hole in the wall. To do this, first you look for a sign.

Despite never being there, I know this is a reputable establishment.

Despite never being there, I know this is a reputable establishment.

Your keys to spotting this place are:

1) Vienna Beef logo on their hanging sign
2) Their name includes one or more of the following
a. Chicago
b. Windy City
c. Beef
d. Dog
e. Gyros
f. The name of the street you’re on
g. The name of a street you’re not on
h. Any ethnic sounding name followed by an “ ‘s ”
3) Their staff appears to all be related or from the same ethnicity
4) They have any of the following
a. Signed pictures of the old mayor
b. Railroad paraphernalia
c. A picture of a giant hotdog, possibly floating in Lake Michigan
d. A menu hanging above the counter that appears to have ~50 items
e. An elderly lady working the cash register

You should expect to eat here a few times. You will want to try a hot dog (plain), another hot dog (everything), Italian beef (hot peppers), Italian sausage (peppers), gyros (everything, pronounce it “euros” or someone will slap you in a just world).

Chicago Ethnic Food

Chicago is good at ethnicities and racism. It’s a good mix, as it means you end up with very particular neighborhoods and streets (ghettos?) to experience unique foods. Here in Texas, I’m not sure if most people can tell the difference between an African American and a Latino, but in Chicago my old barber (Uncle Joe!) once gave me a lecture on exactly when the neighborhood went to hell: when the Irish moved in.

So while in Chicago, you should at least try to get someplace weird. While I think Andersonville and Rogers Park are two great places to do it, I’m going to send you to Uptown. Uptown works for three reasons. First, it’s accessible, right off the Red Line. Second, it has an energetic corner at Lawrence and Broadway. Third, the Green Mill is there. And fourth, there’s a rad Ethiopian place called Demera. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food before, I expect you to go. Do not google anything. Do not be a coward. Do what they do and stop crying. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to see a guy perform guitar there and drink some honey wine. Once you’re done, go across the street to the Green Mill. Pay the cover. Listen to whatever weird experimental Swedish jazz band has flown in to play there and just there. Shut your gaping mouth and just try to appreciate what is happening. Please. Try.

THAT’S A LOT TO DIGEST, LOL.

I get it. A pun.

OK, so this should get you through your weekend in Chicago such that I will give a crap about what you did there. Other things to consider may be:

  • getting into a fight with a homeless man at an el stop
  • having a terrible opinion about sports and sharing it with everyone
  • being involved in a gun crime
  • eating a plate of fries at Clarke’s and wondering how unsanitary the kitchen is
  • going to a Polish buffet on the far northwest side and getting threatened by a three-hundred-pound man in sweatpants
  • freezing your fucking balls off
  • becoming a fan of Rod Blagojevich
  • bitching about Oprah
  • growing a moustache

639 thoughts on “How to: Visit Chicago Like a Chicagoan

  1. Awesome commentary on Chicago, but misses so much… you are young. Logan Square, Taylor street, Andersonville, North Center, gyros at Athenian room, twin anchors for burgers and ribs, second city, all the Bucktown/Wicker park restaurants/bars, Butch McGuires, stumbling down Rush Street drunk, Orso’s, Mario’s, Francesca’s, Pancake House on Bellevue, vodka martinis, Bears tailgates, vodka martinis, biking to Navy Pier, Bar Louie, Village Cycle, Gaslight Pub, Music, Music, Gay Parade, …riding the EL, taking a chance on not getting shot and walking home from wherever you are, knowing your daugher will kill you for this reply. Loving Chicago.

    • Kelley, how about you shut the fuck up and write your own article instead of a shittily punctuated list of things wrong with this one

    • Everything on this comment screams epic douche bag most locals hope they don’t have to ever associate with.

    • Good response by you, Kelley. Ignore the clods that moved here 18 months ago and are now experts on everything north of Congress and south of Belmont.

    • Kelley, really? Butch McGuires – Tourist Trap! Rush Street – more tourist crap unless you are having dinner and getting out of the Viagra triangle, but, most of the places on Rush suck anyway (Carmines is gross, etc.) and getting drunk anywhere in public is best left to the 21 year olds at the ball games. No adult, especially one who mentions their daughter being old enough to be upset with this reply should be drunk in public anyway. Not unless you are a miserable alcoholic and then you should just stay home and drink.

      Bar Louie – really, McBar de Greenfield?

      Gaslight Pub – do you mean the Gaslight Bar and Grille on Racine? Get your shit together and learn the names.

      Twin Anchors is an institution but the fact remains that their ribs are kind of gross, overboiled and not very tasty.

      Lived in Chicago all my life, never been to Second City. No one I know has ever been to Second City.

      Did you just move here?

  2. This dude is a fucking idiot. First off, he tells you not to eat at Gino’s East or Giordano’s, then tells you to order a Chicago’s Pizza? What about Pequods? Art of pizza? Pie eyed? Second, the good dive bars are south of Belmont and west of Ashland (i.e. Ukrainian village, Logan Square, West town). Third, If you’re serious about getting a Chicago style hot dog, Portillos is good but corporate annnnnd they dont even use Vienna Beef! Just go to the Vienna Factory on Elston and Fullerton… but it’s south of Belmont :( Hot Doug’s is the best, no questions. If you want to have a good time, do the opposite of everything this douche said. He dosent live here anymore for a reason. If he has a problem or if you want real info on the real chicago mcdumbshit@yahoo.com

    P.S. Walk down the Mag mile. Go up into the Sears or Handcock. It’s beautiful.

      • Actually, the good dive bars are all on the southside, Chris. But you’ve probably never been there.

        • grew up there, 49th and Laramie. Most of the south side is not easily accessible by public transit. Go hang out with all the old fucks at windy cindys? or maybe party at burbon street? fuuuck that. Portillo’s does not use Vienna.

    • HAN-COCK. Not HAND-COCK. But go on, you’re a reliable source. Considering Portillos is indeed Vienna beef. Put your Chicago card on the counter and quietly walk away.

      • It’s also the shittiest excuse for Italian Beef I’ve ever had in Chicagoland. Portillos has great fries, and perfectly fine dogs and burgers, but RUN, don’t walk, away if you want a good italian beef, or even a decent one.

  3. You are A1, 100% on the money. Left out a few things but the spirit was true. But you forgot one more indicator of a good gyro/dog joint: Signed head shot photos of local news anchors. My favorite place has an entire wall covered in Linda Yu, Mary Ann Childers, Allison Rosati, Mark Giangreco, Steve Baskerville, et al. Dating back to the eighties, framed. :)

    • Don’t forget the mandatory faded Kronos Gyros poster depicting a sexy ’80s woman with a giant perm who’s about to eat a gyros the size of her face.

  4. These Chicago homers are as bad as frat boys to me. By FAR the biggest beer snobs on the planet are those that claim only pbr, schlitz and old style should be drunk, or that by only drinking those you are somehow morally superior to others. Demera is like a big white comfort zone for rich white hipsters, go to Devon if you want an authentic brown experience without being actually frightened. Also shop your ass off on the miracle mile. It’s true that an entire sub culture of Chicagoans define their individuality by their disdain for American Girl Place but fuck them, you do you. One thing you can say about Chicago is that almost no one there is an authentic Chicagoan. Almost everyone there came from somewhere else (forest park is somewhere else.) and if you do one damn thing in Chicago, go to the lake, walk by the lake, smell the lake, allow the part of yourself that has the capacity for experiencing awe to be awed by that big ass lake. If you want to have this guys experience if Chicago, move there in the early 90s. All experiences of Chicago are equally valid. At all costs do not allow your enjoyment of the greatest city on this continent to be marred by all those damn jeering “locals” (from Schaumburg) or the self imposed purists (from Omaha). And the view from the sears tower is awesome, I took my sister there once. My Chicago bar: the long room. My Chicago late night food spot: the diner grill. My Chicago experience 2002 – 2011. I lived in Palmer square, the little village, that’s right, 21st and Cali, tour that south side bitch. Then sanely north center and Lakeview. Best tots on earth at the skylark but its hard to get to.

    • I’m sorry, but you didn’t come from Chicago, either. And I’ll correct you, most of the people who I know have been in Chicago either their whole lives or for forty years of them. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up, but the 90s are having a resurgence, so it’s like, trendy to go to dive bars again wearing spiky leather.

      • I’m sorry, did you grow up in lakeview? I bet you went to parker, did you get dropped off there by a BMW or a Mercedes? Are you scared of people outside of the safe haven that is your life? Then only speak for yourself and not for an entire city. Some carry protection for their survival, you carry a visa card.

    • you’re a fucking idiot. B&R on the southside of Chicago not Shaumberg or Winnetka – Chicago

    • no, no, no….my great, great grandparents moved to Chicago from various places like Poland, Ireland, and Norway…settled in this lovely city. Married, had families, and 5 generations later…no one has ever left. Well, one aunt moved to Buffalo…but we have accepted that. Chicago is a vortex…and one you (happily) never have to leave.

    • I was born and bred in Chicago for all but 1 (2010-2011) of my 39 years. I am a native Chicagoan through and through. You need to leave Lincoln Park. Most people I know are 100% native Chicagoans. Who are you hanging out with?

      • First of all, I agree with isaiabh3. Leave your comfort zone of Lincoln Park. Every city in the western world has its own Lincoln Park and, with few exceptions, they’re pretty homogenous. Second, I can vouch for isaiahb3 being a fellow native based on his exceptional ability to end a sentence with a preposition. The corrected version of that question would read “Who are you hanging out with, jagoff?” Chicago is where he is from by. Trust me.

    • I’m a 3rd generation Chicagoan, South Sider by birth, now North Sider, etc. I find the original article amusing, but agree that it sounds like some uber-bro perspective. This cuthead06 makes very valid points, and is dead-on regarding the Long Room and the Diner (conveniently located within spitting distance). And having a drink at the top of the Hancock is perfectly OK – not something you can do most places, right? Fantastic views, day or night.

  5. What would be a great follow-up post is one that is for people who just moved to Chicago. I’m planning on moving there in the next few months, and would love some more pointers on where to go, what to do, good places to meet locals, etc.

      • I’m arriving in late March/1st of April. I will be moving to Edgewater Glen – lease signed, no going back! I will be doing lots of improv. Would love to meet new people.

    • If you’re going to live in Chicago, you’ll have time to do NFT stuff (not for tourists) and learn that whatever your tastes are, Chicago probably has it. Who cares, anyway, how your tastes are labeled. If you want to be a real Chicagoan, understand that we’re too cool in Chicago to get wrapped up in how cool or uncool you are.

      Some awesome Chicago not in this piece:
      Any real Chicago theater (not Broadway in Chicago – those are tours)
      Fancy: Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Writers (burbs)
      Awesome and cheap: Red Orchid, Theatre Oobleck, Gift Theatre, House Theatre, TMLMTBGB, TJ&Dave (don’t skip that)
      The CSO is one of the best in the world and if you think you don’t like live symphonic music let them change your mind.
      Don’t skip the modern wing at the Art Institute
      On a Friday night do a gallery tour through River North. Free wine & cool art
      The Hideout for music
      Food: Hot Doug’s for hot dogs
      Hema’s Kitchen for Indian
      Marie’s for thin pizza
      Topolobambo for extremely expensive
      Kuma’s for burgers
      Tank Noodle (and the whole Argyle strip) for Asian food
      Chinatown for Chinese
      Get some polish food on the Northwest side
      Ignore Lakeview (and don’t live there)
      Ignore Division Street
      Ignore Lincoln Park (not bad for strolls for out-of-your-pricerange 3 flats) and you could to to Riccardo’s for good Italian there
      Ignore the Mag Mile (OK go once)
      Don’t spend too much time in Wicker Park and don’t believe anybody who tells you it’s “artistic”. The rent’s too damn high for any artist to live there. That all stopped in the early 90s.
      Do spend time at the lake (the entire length of the city), Millenium Park, Botanic Gardens (Glencoe), Garfield Park (go with your street-smarts)
      Gotta run. That should get you started. Good luck!

      • Topolobambo? for “extremely expensive”? How about alinea or moto or G&G? Next? Oh yeah this is coming from a born and raised chicago cook.

        • I’m giving my personal thoughts. You’re free to give yours. I don’t get your point. Are you suggesting Topolobambo not expensive, not great, or just not your choice or are you just arrogant? Alinea would not be my first choice to drop a paycheck on. If you want the Alinea experience without the Alinea wait or price, try Goosefoot around Lawrence and Western.

      • These are all great. Garfield Park Conservatory is a gem. Argyle (and Furama nearby for dim sum) is another road less travelled. And I just had a similar conversation re: CSO. Well done, 4th G.

      • Brilliant! This is the list I’d use. Explore. Chicago is a sprawling collection of ethnic neighborhoods and has a diversity you won’t find too many other places. As suggested above, go to the ‘hoods. Polish, Asian, Mexican (about 20 different areas), Indian. It’s all good, lots of trial and error. Drop a note now and then, let us know how you fare. We’ll be waiting…

  6. Find the Pick Me Up and order your servers favorite. They always have at least three. JUST TRY to locate LaSalle St Station. Visit Lower Whacker Drive just so you know what its about. Ask a bum if rocks are alive. Navy Pier is good for the ferris wheel to get neat-o pics of the city, but so is the lakeshore bike path. AVOID PAULINA. If you’ve seen it more than once, you’re lost. Hollywood Grill is a lot like Clarkes except it has a place to park your car, and if you drive in Chicago you better know someone with a driveway or you’re effed. Southport Lanes is one of the best bowling alleys in Chicago. The Alley “shops” are not worth it. Walk a block to Hollywood Mirror
    and check THAT out. Don’t look at or try to talk to any Chicago police especially if you don’t have to.

  7. author, u suck. leave chicago. dont come back. your disdainful attitude is annoying. u arent even from here. wtf. what do you know? lol

    • In general, although Go Go Go is very pro- impassioned debate, mindlessly rude replies like this will be deleted. I’m leaving this one, however, because it’s such a shining example of idiocy. And the lack of knowledge of how to correctly spell Emanuel.

      • Claire, how can you claim to reject rudeness when the originating post is so rude and insulting? This is my first time on this site. Can only initiating authors be snarky, profane, rude and incorrect?

        • It’s like that scene on the Simpsons when Bart goes on Conan and Conan’s like “only I may do the dance.”

          Sorry that’s just how Claire wrote up the rules to this site.

    • Every other comment sounds like idiots that moved here at the end of college and they want to force everyone to see the city as they did when they were 22, full of douche-baggery and new to this city. If you weren’t born here, your a long term tourist to the real locals. And Emmanuel? Seriously. That’s bush league.

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  9. Since a friend passed this along to me yesterday, I’ve read and re-read it at least a dozen times and laughed myself to sleep. Bravo, Author! And I passed it along to some friends who did the same. This is all dead on. I must take issue with just a few items…
    1) Chicago’s Pizza. Yes, if you’re out late with a bunch of us rummies north of Belmont and west of Southport, you need sustenance. And Chicago’s Pizza is open late w/ several locations but that’s about all it’s got going for it. They serve up a mediocre pizza with a healthy dose of hangover preventing Vitamin G (grease) followed by the runs for the next 36 hours. 72 hours if you were drinking Old Style. (But crapping rusty nails is fun and a true Chicago experience.) Opt for a burrito instead for the same effect and you’ll have a better chance of not sleeping alone. You won’t necessarily get any ass, but the homeless crackhead you bring back to the Howard Johnson motor lodge near Ed Debevic’s will keep you warm. And you spent all your cash the night before so there wont be anything for her/him to steal aside from your salvation. If you really want Chicago style pizza, you need to get the deep dish at Pequod’s or hit up a Malnati’s for same. Then try either D’Agostino’s on the north side just west of Wrigley (one near ORD on Higgins, too) or Vito & Nick’s for their thin crust on the far south side in one of the safer neighborhoods–a few blocks north of 87th on Pulaski. Ask one of those f**ktards you met the night before to drive you down there in their mom’s Buick. They probably have a cousin down there who is an easy lay (for them) and/or who owes them money for Superbowl squares so they’ll reluctantly drive you down there if you pay for the pizza. And don’t mistake thin crust for that floppy, foldable crap they call pie out east that you can get at any Domino’s Pizza down the street from your bail bondsman, payday loan place or Olive Garden back home. There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of skinny people in Chicago. We’ve cornered the market on eating.
    2) The only skinny people you’ll see in Chicago are hipsters who moved here from far off lands like Schaumburg or Overland Park, KS. To the table they bring nothing but a sense of entitlement and obnoxious experiments with facial hair. Their population needs to be quelled and can be done so with your rental car or greasing your cabbie an extra sawbuck. The hipsters make it easy by blasting through busy intersections on their little sister’s Schwinn fixie against the light. They deserve to die. A side benefit to less hipsters, ultimately, should be less demand for skinny jeans and hopefully that horrible trend will finally end.
    3) Speaking of horrible trends, hipsters and malort, save yourself the airfare… go to your corner drugstore back home and buy yourself some nail polish remover. Open the bottle and huff it and/or chug it. You can now strike “drink malort” off your bucket list.
    4) You can’t go to Hot Doug’s until your third or fourth trip to Chicago. Eat at Mangi’s, Manjovin’s or Gene & Jude’s first. Strike that. Just get a hot dog w/ everything at a Home Depot–just not at the one @ Lincoln & McCormick since they don’t sell depot dogs at that one for some stupid reason. By going to Hot Doug’s before you’ve eaten your share of Vienna tube steaks, all you’re doing is making the line longer for hungry, impatient locals on their lunch hour. Don’t be a hipster douche.

    • Dude I totally forgot about the Depot dogs. Something I have been missing here in San Antonio for the past year. I was shocked when I went to a Home Depot and they didn’t have them, I just never thought they wouldn’t have it

      • @Patrick, at least LaGrange is still in Crook County so you get some props. So are Schaumburg and Rolling Ghettos, I guess, but I know people from LaGrange who keep it real. Downtown LG is, by the way, closer to downtown Chicago (via Metra, at least) than far off lands like Beverly and Sauganash–not to be confused with neighboring Edgebrook or Wildwood..both of which are actually kind of cool despite their proximity–that are both “technically” still in the City of Chicago but might as well be Indiana or Wisconsin in terms of character (zero) and culture (double zero). You can easily recognize these twits because people from there still brag about places like Superdawg or Reds depending on the shitty excuse for a Chicago neighborhood from which they hail. At least they aren’t hipsters, I suppose. But you still want to avoid them. While hipsters stink of mothballs and look down their scrawny noses at you as they drink their shit beer, these fucktards are nearly as bad and reek of some indescribable and horrible blend of Kodiak wintergreen dip spit and Polo or Drakkar. Maybe even Axe body spray these days. Yuck. Or even worse, the ones from Beverly brag about going to Bourbon Street which is a horrible warehouse of a sports bar in some crappy nearby suburb named after puppets. Beverly even started allowing, gulp, real black people to live there in the past 3 or so years. And the cracka’ass crackas down in Beverly are still terrified of gentrification despite it being 2013. Thank your parents for being smart enough to raise you in a place that at least gave you respectable public schools like LTHS vs. the horrible CPS school “choices” you’d have as a kid growing up on the mean streets of Beverly or Sauganash. Besides, LaGrange even has some character of it’s own. It’s no Oak Park or Evanston (or even Riverside for that matter), but LG has a ton more character than Sauganash, Beverly and Norridge combined. Which isn’t saying much because so do Berwyn and Stickney or Harwood Heights. Individually. NOTE OF CAUTION: The easiest way to tell if a guy is from Beverly or Sauganash as opposed to more authentic (and much more civilized) neighborhoods of Chicago–is if they are wearing a scapular. Or if they dress like their mom still shops for them. And especially with an Irish Catholic sounding name like yours, Patrick, you need to be more hyper vigilant and set yourself apart so as never to be confused with these mouth breathing shitstains. I say this because a lot of guys from La Grange wear scapulars, too. Just cover yours up if you do. (You can still get into heaven, I checked.) Scapulars on Irish Catholic guys aren’t quite as ubiquitous as yarmulkes are on our Jewish brethren or gold chains and unicorn horns are on guys from Bridgeport and Canaryville, but if you’re Irish Catholic, you can recognize another Irish Catholic if he’s wearing a scapular. And likely surmise that he, too, was touched by a priest at some point while serving as an Altar Boy at SFX or wherever you went to Mass. If you’re not sure, just make a snide remark about Mt. Carmel on the south side or Loyola Academy if you’re up north and you’ll figure it out. Either high school if you’re hanging in any sports bar with options traders or douches with hard-ons for Notre Dame despite the fact that they weren’t accepted when they applied. .

        • Do you have any idea what in imbecile you sound like? If you have a personal issue with the Catholic Church, start a religious blog, but stop railing on every neighborhood you don’t deem “authentic”. Frankly, from your post, you sound like a jealous child who’s parents didn’t have the money to live in Sauganash or Beverly. I personally don’t care where you grew up or how much money your family had/didn’t have. I am just telling you what you SOUND LIKE. Poor, poor you. Grow a pair, stop your whining and offer some helpful information instead of your Nancy-Boy crying. Jeez!

        • Yeah, all those other people you mention with such distaste… THEY’RE judgmental and “look down their noses” at people. [sarcasm font]

  10. Whining about some supposed hipster takeover just exposes you as an insecure idiot. There were people you thought they were cooler than you (and were right) well before cheap beer and Malort had resurgences in popularity. If you wanna drink vodka tonics and bitch about the sand in your vagina and how you could never get a date, do it, but don’t rag on folks for drinking shit they can taste and for liking 16 oz beers for $3. If your grandfathers were still around they’d slap the shit out of all of you.

    • @Justadude… how compassionate of you to stick up for hipsters. Ragging on folks for shit they can taste? You don’t drink PBR or Schlitz or Malort for the taste, you dipshit. Just like wannabe frat guy douchebags like you from Naperville (or Orland Park or Libertyville) like you order shots of Jameson at Sluggers. You don’t do shots of Jameson for the taste, fuckstick. You do it because you are wet behind the ears and ignorant. Taste is typically subjective. But it’s objective when you’re dealing with facts vs. your opinion. If you’re going for taste, enjoy a good beer or sip a Jameson neat. You can get plenty of decent beer or whiskey or bourbon for the same price you buy your shyte PBR or Schlitz or whateverthefuck swill you choose to drink in your misguided attempt to prove to the world you are indeed the douche everyone has always known you to be. Why don’t you go over to Belmont and Clark, buy yourself an ironic corncob pipe and some shitty tobacco, go smoke it to mask the Axe body spray you wear out to whatever the fuck overpriced former dive bar you go to in Wicker Park for your shitty Old Style tall boy. Let me know where you’ll be and I’ll leave a tab open for you so you can drink yourself into a stupor and hopefully remove yourself from thr gene pool. Dummy.

      • Wow, Drew, you just get better and better. You can’t spell, your grammar is atrocious and your syntax, well, what syntax? I just said all that to mess with you. Seriously though, why are you so bitter and angry? You sound like a whining twelve year old, truly. You’ve some serious issues with certain neighborhoods and make references to things that make no sense to anyone but you. Did you mom give you a whole lot of Axe for Christmas, because you keep mentioning it as if you are intimately familiar with the excessive odor it emits.

        You keep referring to everyone else as a poseur, my word, not yours, but in fact you are the one who seems to be quite full of himself. Portraying yourself as “everyman”. “I am Drew, strong, brave and can spot suburbanites at 500 yards. If you are from Wicker Park, do not speak to me, lest some of your overpriced designer taste rub off on me. If you are from Sauganash, best to steer clear so that your well-bred, Irish Catholic charm does not infect my aura.” Give it up, really Drew, you are kind of making a fool of your self. Save the bitter, angry act for someone who gives a damn.

  11. There are alot of good spots. I think about my bro when he comes to town what does he want to do.
    – catch Jim cornelison’s national anthem at a Blackhawks game.
    – hot Doug’s
    – la palapita or la pasadita for a burrito
    – gene and georgetti’s for a steak.
    – Lou Malnati’s deep dish. Supparosa or Perrettas thin crust
    – Al’s beef on Taylor St with Mario’s Italian ice after
    -gyros any shack does a good job
    -go day drinking in Lincoln park, wrigley, or river north. Kingston mines for some blues.
    – go to a late night 5am bar or meet someone who is a member of a key club and drink til 10am.
    -pound out a crave case from white castle on his way home
    – tailgate at a bears game.
    – get some Superdawg.
    – eat at a 24 hr diner. All are pretty good
    Catch some live music at the hideout
    Go to whatever crazy street festival is going on in the summer.
    Get Susie’s cheese fries that come in the burrito bowl
    Drink lots of 312 and Old Style.
    Consider going to a baseball game but then refrain knowing both teams are gonna suck for the next few years.
    Grab an Italian dinner at Sabatinos.
    Pay homeless dude to rap for you for $1
    Pay dude with metal ring on his bike to do a flip in the middle of Clark, Lincoln, Milwaukee etc.
    Be astonished by how good the Bucket players are outside of any Chicago stadium.
    Rent a Trolley and booze while you cruise throughout the city yelling at people.
    Museums, etc are cool too if he has time.

    Just my two cents.

    • No offense, Slam, but your list looks like it was written by an Amish kid from rural Ohio who’s been in town for just a couple months on an extended Rumspringa. Did you pilfer that list from a Fodors book or a back issue of Boring Shit To Do In Any Big City? Ballbusting aside, I must give you props for your nods to Mario’s on Taylor, daydrinking in general and key clubs… all of which are experiences unique to Chicago.

        • I do not have a brother named Slam, but you seem like a nice enough fella. And my brothers would never waste their time trolling on something like this all day today like I have.

    • If you wait for a good team before going to a game, you are neither a true Chicagoan or a true sports fan.

    • “Rent a Trolley and booze while you cruise throughout the city yelling at people.”

      – What are you, 12 years old?

  12. “right off the Red Line. ” Red line? are you sure you’re ‘native’?
    I left Chicago and don’t miss it. I regret the 8 years I spent there… For a city its size, it’s provincial and dull.
    Its got a blue collar beer and sports mentality *even the ‘educated’ michgan avenue might look elegant, but its filled with dumpy women in sweats – the city has no elegance cities much smaller (milan for example) even a small city like Santa Barbara feels more sophisticated and less isolated.

    • It’s probably because you were too poor to live somewhere nice. Bummer!

      • Mostly around Southport and Roscoe, sweetheart. Lincoln park for awhile too. The women are dumpy the city is provincial, the Art Institute is over-rated. The lake front is ‘ok’ and parts of Michigan avenue were nice before it got over built..that’s it.

        • Just Me, glad you’ve found your “proper” home in Santa Barbara. The Art Institute is known globally for its collection. Did you think the Louvre was just ok also? And yes, the people walking in sweats down Michigan Ave are tourists 99% of the time. I think you’re the dumb bunny for comparing ANY American city to ANY European city. And yes, Chicago has a VERY blue collar mentality because it’s a city that was built on the backs of blue collar workers. Maybe you should read a book about Chicago’s past.

          • Speaking of blue collar. A tourist should take a drive or find someone to drive them, through the stock yards, whats left, just to get a good sense of where Chicago got its industrial start

        • So everything you said prior is undermined by this comment. Dull and provincial? That is absurd. The Art Institute is a world class museum with renowned works of arts and some great shows. Dominates any museum in the country outside of DC and NY. Michigan Avenue is an over the top tourist shopping spot no better or worse than Union Square in San Francisco or Fifth Avenue or Times Square in NY (though obviously much smaller than the latter).

          But most of all your comment that Chicago is provincial is laughable when you cite the places in the city that you lived, which are the absolute most white-bread, provincial, and least diverse areas of the city. You say Chicago has a beer and sports mentality – sure, but we also have top notch restaurants that compete with the best in the world. Great ethnic street food places like Urban Belly, Tank Noodle and Hot Doug’s as well as fine dining like Alinea, Next, Schwa, and Moto. If you spent 8 years in River North, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, you missed out.

          Andersonville, Uptown, Wicker Park, West Town, West Loop, Hyde Park, Logan Square, Avondale, Pilsen, etc, etc – great neighborhoods with lots happening.

          • The Art Institute is a world class museum with renowned works of arts
            eh, heavy on impressionists who are over-rated. No egyptian to speak of (though the oriental institute is good for that) no greek or roman, light on old masters.
            Dominates any museum in the country outside of DC and NY
            Nope, the MFA and ISG in Boston and the Clark in williamstown blow it away (even if the clark is much smaller)

            that Chicago is provincial is laughable
            I live in New York (not Santa Barbara) I only used it as an example.
            I know, and most new yorkers know that NYC has a LOT of shortcomings – its dirtier than Chicago, for one, though the first thing friends from Chicago comment on when visiting is the lack of fat people here, which you have in spades… – the only people who blindly defend NY are ‘flyover’ foiks who move here and have to validate their choice- I am perfectly willing to discuss NY’s shortcomings, but not one chicago poster yet will admit chicagos. It’s provincial -and not surprisingly you guys respond by defending it in a provincial way rather than actually fix the shortcoming.

            • Where to begin?

              1) I LOVE Chicago. LOVE! I’ve lived here all my life, and I think it is awesome.

              2) Chicago is provincial. Very provincial. We are not as cosmopolitan as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or many other cities. Chicagoans are VERY resistant to change and want things left AS THEY ARE. There are hundreds of examples of this in everything from how we vote to the stores and restaurants which open and close in record time. We are not cutting edge when it comes to fashion, music, and technology (this is changing). One of the only places we are ahead of the curve tends to be architecture and the Green Movement.

              3) The Art Institute is in fact a world class museum. Not everyone loves the Impressionists, that is ok, not your cup of tea. But you don’t really get to say it is a bad museum because you don’t like a certain style of art work. It is lacking in certain styles and periods of artwork. The Masters for instance. But,let’s be honest here … most of the Master’s works are in other museums around the world. Oh, the Louvre, the Met or the National Gallery in London. These museums are all older than the Art Institute and it does help to know that many museums tend to concentrate their main, permanent collections around a few themes and work out from there.

              3) Chicagoans are fat. Americans are fat. You want really fat, go to Milwaukee. Don’t tell me that New Yorkers are not fat. I’ve seen plenty of fat New Yorkers. Just not walking down 7th Avenue. Of course, unless the people walking down 7th Avenue are wearing bright colors it’s difficult to see them at all as most are so thin they fit in-between the raindrops.

              4) You cannot compare Chicago to Milan or Santa Barbara. First of all, Chicago is 3.5 times bigger than Milan. Milan is known for three things. Banking, industry and fashion. It is the hub of international and European trade within Italy and is the capitol of Italian fashion, second in Europe only to Paris. There is a ton of money in Milan and while it is a much smaller city, the wealth is greatly concentrated. Same with Santa Barbara, a lot of money concentrated in a city 22 times smaller than Chicago.. Small area, tons of money. You cannot make comparisons and expect them to be fair. If you want to make comparisons, please do so with cities which can be fair competition.

        • I am curious, if you find Chicago provincial and dull, which U.S. cities you find more cosmopolitan, cultured and lively.

          • Santa Barbara, New York, Boston, San Fran, Portland, Seattle, Austin,
            For its size Chicago feels small.

            • Thanks for responding. I love Chicago and find other cities lacking, but I enjoy the performing arts. For abundance and affordability, you can’t beat Chicago’s scene.

              • Umm like your ballet? Ridiculous a city your size doesn’t have a classical ballet company.

            • Of course it feels small, if you’re hanging out in Lakeview and Lincoln Park. You couldn’t find more white-bread neighborhoods if you tried. Come down to Bridgeport or up to Andersonville and tell me the same thing, you ignorant fuck.

              Santa Barbara is really cultured, if you enjoy paying $4 for a head of lettuce. Let’s see how cosmopolitan it feels when it’s floating at the bottom of the ocean. Which, by the way, is an inevitability. You know that, right?

              • I drive to Pismo/SLO from LAX every so often for the weekend, and have spent enough time in Santa Barbara to know that it’s VERY cultured… if you make $200k.

      • Typical Chicago numbskull comment – Santa Barbara probably has the most beautiful women per capita than any city in the US

          • I don’t live there, moron, but again, you’re just displaying a-typical Chicagoan beer and sports mentality… ughh Santa Barbara… never been it must be homo!
            (funny coming from someone who lives in a city with the most flaming overtly gay neighborhood in country outside San Fran.

            What is ‘homo’ about Santa Barbara, dumb ass?

        • Except that it doesn’t… unless you’re a big fan of soccer moms in tracksuits that drive nicer cars than normal. Try Tempe or Scottsdale AZ for beautiful women per capita.

        • Here are some women who live in Santa Barbara:

          1) He Said He Was Going to be A Rockstar When We Got Married In 1977!
          2) Help! I’ve Fallen and I Really Meant to Go To UC Berkley But Somehow I’m Here!
          3) Yes, I’ve Been Tending The One Bar In This Part of Ventura for 25 Years, And No, I Don’t Actually Know the Difference Between Bourbon and Rye.
          4) My Mother. Literally.

          Secretly, all cities have more or less equal aesthetic distribution. However, Santa Barbara isn’t a city, its a resort with a shitty state college and some track housing around it. But hey — maybe you can make it to LA sometime and develop a greater sense of self-loathing.

        • By all means, let’s base the quality of life one finds in a city on how fat and dumpy or beautiful it’s women are. You’ve mentioned several times that certain cities have beautiful women and I’m not sure why. Is that the most important criteria for you? Does your happiness depend upon how beautiful a woman is or upon the depth of her intelligence, kindness and how interesting she is?

    • Well aren’t you a big old ball of unwarranted pretense. Milan? So fancy and modern! Oh, and the first letter of a city is generally capitalized. I know it can be confusing when it’s a European city. Their rules for grammar and punctuation are different sometimes, but I can assure you they all capitalise- oh, there I go, mixing my British and American spellings- their proper nouns. Fun asterisk, too. Seriously, though, did you, at any point in your 8 years, leave your college neighborhood apartment? Maybe, you felt isolated because you come of as a reprehensible human being, and people didn’t want to be talked down to by someone clearly putting on airs of someone well above their station in life. Keep shooting for the stars, though, and one day you might grow into the words you learned from your calendar.

      • Usually when one results to grammar nitpicking (my goodness! I forgot to capitalize Milan! I lose!) it means they don’t have any response to the original comment. Such is the case here.

        Why not grow up, accept and acknowledge Chicago’s shortcomings and accept that not everyone is going to love your city. Lots of people hate new york (oops, New York) do you think I care?

        • It matters when your original comment belittles the education of a city, and then goes on to show a lack there of. Especially, when your correlation is the number of women in sweatpants near you at any given time. I’m sure Milan and Santa Barbara have a lower sweatpants to women ratio, but I think that might have something to do with the climate and less to do with anything else at all. I’m fine with people (certainly you, specifically) not liking Chicago. Generally, the reasons are based in reality (violence, gentrification, the weather sucks, people drive like assholes, etc.) and not the musings of a shallow cad with an inflated sense of worth.

          • I assure you, Santa Barbara is not nearly as cultured or special as this person is making it sound. It’s the bathroom stop on the way from LA to San Luis Obispo, a city with actual culture.

          • but I think that might have something to do with the climate
            no it has to do with laziness. Russian women dress far nicer and its far colder. hell, french canadian women dress (and look) better (and are far more feminine)

    • Yeah, its provincial and dull if you’re completely fucking ignorant of the culture happening in every other storefront you walk by. In another city that might be excusable — even a native New Yorker doesn’t know where the non-Broadway theater is, or where decent bands play. Luckily, Chicago makes it PRETTY FUCKING CLEAR since it doesn’t have nearly as much TV or film to jerk off over.

      And seriously — Stan Barbara? That’s where aging boomers go to die amongst frat brothers who couldn’t even get into UC Irvine. I guess if you like energy crystals and “vintage” shopping its golden, but otherwise I’ll take Lake Michigan over the Pacific if I also get Chicago’s artistic output over a bunch of people who think about moving to LA.

      • Apparently the OP considers a city where half the locals are hired as staff to wipe the asses of the super-rich to be a city full of culture.

        Santa Barbara gave us Katy Perry, Chuck Liddell, and Motel 6. Thank you, Santa Barbara, for your contributions to culture.

        • I will say that Santa Barbara has a very nice airport, although considering it has about six gates and is built in faux Spanish Mission style, one might be tempted to call it “dull” and “provincial”.

    • Oh yes, I can see how Santa Barbara must be so much better. Let’s compare the two, shall we?

      Chicago has a world-renowned art museum, a phenomenal natural history museum (which still has one of the single most important paleontology finds ever), and a very solid science museum and planetarium, and a decent enough aquarium for not being on a coast (and frankly, they’re fish, who gives a shit? How many times can you look at fucking fish?)

      It also has probably the most important architecture of anywhere in the US. Oh, and both University of Chicago (which is a top 10 law school that compares to the Ivy League, and has a very important place in history) and Loyola. Not to mention the fact that it has tremendous diversity.

      As for the sports mentality you mentioned, sports have maintained a major place in pop culture longer than television or movies, and Chicago has a major market team in all four important pro sports in the US and two of them in the MLB.

      Santa Barbara has… a third rate college for kids who couldn’t get into UCLA, Stanford, or Cal Berkley, and pretty girls (who are probably crappy in bed because it would mess up their hair)

  13. I’ve only lived in Chicago for 2 years, and even I know this author is a complete fucking moron.

    • really? How could you possibly know he’s wrong when you’ve lived in Chicago for only 2 years? That’s not enough time to see anything. College students live here for longer than that. I’m guessing you like the uber-touristy things that he disses and have decided that you are therefore an “expert”. I’ve lived in Chicago for 12+ and I can affirm that he’s about 95% accurate. Sure, you can add more to the “what to do” list, but he’s right on for the “what not to do” list. Live here a little longer and then come back and review this article. 2 years makes nobody an expert.

  14. Ugh you’re all mostly wrong. The only way to eat is at the most expensive places you can find. I swear by it that in Chicago, the more money you spend on food, the better it is. Honestly. Anywhere else that’s a sick joke, but the expensive food in Chicago is BANGIN’. Just take a look around Gold Coast, Wicker Park/Bucktown the Loop, and Streeterville. When you’re ready to take a break and not interested in spending $150/head on food, go to Andersonville or North (and I mean NORTH) Belmont and chill out with some dive delis and ethic joints.

    • “The only way to eat is at the most expensive places you can find” said no real Chicagoan ever. That is absurd and you sound like either a rich stay-at-home-alcoholic-or-pill-popping-mom in a loveless marriage or a trust fund twat from Winnetka who has never worked a day in his/her life. Alinea, (the former) Charlie Trotters and even Gibsons serve up memorable meals but you don’t have to shell out even $50 for two people if you put some effort into dinner and do a little research. If your balls have finally dropped you should explore west of Racine and north of Fullerton. Or head south to Chinatown, Ricobene’s or Harolds, you sorry dullard. You could go out in a different off the beaten path ‘hood like Albany Park (Semiramis, Noon O Kebab) or Little Italy–the real Little Italy not to be confused with Taylor Street, which stands on its own–(try Bacchanalia), Logan Square (90 Mile Cuban) or Devon/Western for some authentic (and still cheap) and amazing Indian food. Shit, even Tango Sur on Southport in Lakeview is still good and downright cheap (and BYOB). After seven nights in a row, at least five of those meals will be memorable and you’ll still have spent less than you would on one decent meal at one of those places you mentioned (and where your husband takes his girlfriends before bangin while you’re crying to your therapist). That’s Chicago. You can go to New York, LA, Paris or any other town and pay through the nose to have decent food but that’s just dumb.

    • I spent my decade in Chicago in Hyde Park, I would tell family who visited me to take LSD to visit and not get off on Garfield/55th (which took them past the Robert Taylor Homes) and we would not visit Harold’s Chicken even though it is awesome. The thick plexiglass windows at the order counter and the police guards made them too nervous to enjoy the food. We would go to Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap and get cheap beer and cheaper burgers though.

      Out in the burbs now so when people visit I drive them downtown and do the Art Museum, or Shedd, or MSI and then hit Frontera Grill or The Berghoff for dinner.

  15. Ethiopian Diamond > Derma, Hot Dogs suck, deep dish is over-rated, eat a steak at Joe’s (if you’ve got the scrilla), and Harold’s is the bomb and a 1/2…the rest is pretty spot-on

  16. Please note: not one Chicagoan calls it Willis Tower. And I understand the recommendation to go to Wrigley instead of Comiskey.

  17. You mention Bridgeport, but not Ricobene’s?!
    Other food stops: Phil’s last stand, Mickey’s, Bari, Maxwell Street, Raw Bar, The Southern Mac’n cheese, and any place with pizza puffs. Half Acre Brewery, Three Floods Pub(Indiana) & Goose Island for local breweries.
    There’s plenty more, but I don’t have all day.

  18. Great article! I suppose this wouldn’t be a true Chicago-style article if it wasn’t followed by comments from a group of hard-ons that think they know Chicago better than everyone else. Hell, even I was making a list of changes in my head while reading this. But at the end of the day, if you live in Chicago you’ve likely been asked this question and you have likely given some shoot from the hip response, like get pizza at Lou’s, a beef at Portillo’s, and go to a Cub’s game. I wish you all a wonderful day, jag-offs!

  19. Okay clearly all of you are overreacting because I’m not really a hateful elitist bitch, but I’d love it if we could hear from someone who’s actually had a diverse experience in Chicago. I most certainly haven’t, though I’ve lived in LP on the lake all my life I only know the west side as far as I can see it out my west facing windows. The last time I went further than 4000 west locally was when I first got my license and had to drop a friend off late at night and then decided west was east so I got lost. Never trust your teenager in your brand new car; I got to 6400 west before I realized I was being dumb and then I found Irving Park and rushed home.

    That said, my restaurant knowledge is vast, from edgewater to Hyde Park to (daring) Stony Island at 70th and Dorchester. If you want euro-infused southern comfort food, go to NaNa’s on 33rd and Halsted. Amazing.

    • You think 70th is daring?

      You get close to daring if you make it to 86th and Cottage Grove for Dat Donut, but only if its after 1am, and only if you took the bus.

  20. Holy hell. Did someone put out an all points bulletin to the biggest jag offs in Chicago to come post a reply here? I get it. You are the only one who really knows the city, and everyone who had the apparent misfortune of being born in a suburb is a plague to all you hold dear. The thing is, no one gives a shit about your one man pissing contest. Also, maybe run your rants through a spell check; you’re embarrassing the city. That being said, here are the only things someone visiting needs to know: 1) Do all the touristy things on the first day and then leave downtown. 2) If you need help finding a place to eat, just go on the Check, Please! website and pick one. Everyone is going to tell you places that have been reviewed on there at some point. 3) Ignore the majority of these comments. Ask someone when you’re here; they’ll actually be helpful.

  21. I love how these “Oh let me show you the real Chicago!” type articles are always written by people who most likely haven’t ever been outside of Cook/DuPage/Lake like ever. First of all, if you are “visiting” Chicago for a weekend (and this guy writes like he thinks he’s speaking to the “I sold my mom’s iPad to pay for my Lollapalooza ticket because Freedom” crowd), and you’ve never been here, by all means cab it. You know why? Because schlepping it in trains in new towns is for fucking losers that’s why. Even in cities that have nice subways (DC, the BART in SF), you’d be hard pressed to do that if you’re an adult who like, works for a living and stuff. Oh you’re going to navigate the trains in New York when you fly into JFK for the first time with all that Google Adsense money you don’t really make so you can go see where CBGB’s used to be? Have fun with that champ.

    Also, let’s get one thing straight – this myth that Chicago has the greatest pizza on earth has zero basis in reality (disclaimer- I’ve lived in Chicago for a decade now, so I know from whence I speak). San Francisco is home to Tony’s where they have the world champion Margarita pizza, and the REALLY good pizza places in Chicago mostly fashion after New York style anyway. Not to say there isn’t a distinct “style” but like, really now – for a guy who makes fun of people being touristy for staying in the Drake to expound on his opinions about what a real Chicago pizza experience is…well (I’ll that thought toddle off because that’s a road fraught with peril).

    Other people have addressed the idiotic “drink two PBR’s like you own the place” sentiment…but for anyone reading this who is really interested in proper Chicago Beer, any bar that has Two Brothers, Three Floyds, Metropolitan or Revolution beers on tap is worth their salt. In fact you could do worse than visit Revolution Brewery in Logan Square (and ya know, get drunk with the locals and invitor yourself over to their apartment and order brick-oven pizza). Cos that’s how you do it son.

    • No. Just no. Chicago pizza is deep dish (personally, I like Lou’s). Now, SF — which is my second favorite city on earth, and my favorite when I’m on Lake Shore in the winter because it’s fucking COLD! — has many wonderful qualities and I’m sure they have delightful margarita pizza. But it’s not Chicago deep dish.

      And my husband, who was born and raised in Chinatown, would like to add that any city (SF) that invented Chop Suey does not get to claim food chops ever;) He gets really pissy about Chop Suey…

  22. Part of what makes Chicago great is how excited and opinionated we all are about what’s the best pizza, beef, dog, or steak. I’ve spent large swaths of my life in Chicago, and all of it in the vicinity and I know I can go somewhere any time of day or night and be pleased with the food. Why bother cutting other people down for native points? Calling the city provincial is ignorant, maybe if you’re looking for designer stores and shopping like Paris Hilton or something. Fucking bitch. Go back to Milan.

  23. Everyone should go to Haymarket Square at Randolph and Halsted. Try to get a reservation at Maude’s Liquor Bar or Girl and the Goat. In the loop by EBC, try Gilt Bar, Bavette, or RPM. Sit at the bar at the Pump Room in Gold Coast. There’s also Perrennial Virant on Clark and Lincoln. In Wicker Park, you MUST go to Big Star on a Saturday. You’ll never sit down but their tacos are worth it. Great cocktails. Go west on Chicago to a sushi place called Arami; INCREDIBLE. At 33rd and Halsted is a southern comfort euro-infusion place called Nana’s. In Boystown there’s a great vegan place that’s been around since the 70s called Chicago Diner. Don’t go to dive bars; they aren’t quaint or cute or cultured and they aren’t exclusive to Chicago. This isn’t about food only Chicago serves, it’s about the best food Chicago has to offer. You’ll spend a lot but that’s what vacations and (if you’re lucky) company cards are for!

    • Dive bars aren’t *supposed* to be cultured… that’s kind of the point… but some of them are in fact cute and/or quaint. I’ve been to several places on your list and happen to not be a big fan of them, particularly Big Star, but I respect that someone might want to so I’m not going to belittle the ideas. Everyone’s got different reasons for visiting and different tastes in terms of what they’d like to eat or experience (expensive vs. divey, gourmet vs. comfort, etc…) and that goes for tourists as well as natives/residents. I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and I’m sure there’s plenty of places I haven’t yet discovered. I do know that I’m personally a fan of a simple, local dive bar experience where frankly no one gives a shit what I’m drinking and I don’t have to spend a ton. To each his own, for sure… but I think it’s a shame to summarily dismiss the smaller less ritzy joints (bar, or restaurant-wise)

    • If you eat at The Girl and the Goat, you are a fuckhead. You wait three months for a reservation, spend real money, and leave still hungry. Four tiny pork belly chunks about the size of a child’s finger for $15. For $15, you could probably go over to The Merc and buy a whole hog belly.
      If you do go, look around the room and watch all the people craning their necks trying to see if Stephanie Izard is back in the kitchen. Wow! Is the celebrity chef there?

        • Reservations are ok once in a while, but when you’ve “been there, done that” you realize that all of the Homaro Cantu restaurants, all of the Grant Achatz places don’t mean a thing.

          Real food is where it is at. When I am out with friends we prefer the little ethnic joints where you bring a bottle, have dinner, experience different foods, cultures and traditions. Sure, I’ll go to Gibson’s for a steak now and then. I’ll take in a Lettuce restaurant when the mood strikes, but I’m past the point of “seeing and being seen” at $150.00 a head. Not worth it for me.

      • The food is also very good, and you should always go with a group so you can over-order. I never leave hungry.

  24. Ah, the beauty of Chicago is that we make it a personal experience. No one list is ever “right” because we all have our favorites. I like a lot of the places that have been listed, but there are those fab neighborhood joints that no tour guide or casual visitor will ever likely hear about or visit. Hema’s Kitchen, any Burrito Palace, Manny’s, Aurelio’s, Moody’s Pub, Tufano’s…and, hey! There’s pride on Navy Pier & Michigan Avenue. What makes Chicago great is the opportunity to make Chicago your own.

  25. Pingback: visit Chicago like a Chicagoan // Hyperbolation

  26. I have read all the comments and can’t believe not one person has said going to a Hawks game? Isn’t this easily one of the most fun thing to do in chicago?

    • It would be fun if you could see the puck, the fans weren’t a suicide cult, or they scored at a higher frequency than once-a-period.

      Can we all just admit that Chicagoans only like hockey because the Blackhawks are relatively OK at it?

      • Was thinking the same thing. Chicago sporting events are awesome and loads of fun. And no we don’t just like the hawks because they’re good. Have you ever even been to a game?

      • No, Chicagoans like hockey for the same reason every other hockey fan does — it’s fast and it’s brutal.

    • Hawks games are fun if you can get tickets for under 50 bucks but since they won the cup almost impossible.

  27. EDIT: If/When ordering an Italian Beef (I prefer/agree with the selection of Portillo’s), specify having it “wet” or “dipped.” It’ll be messy, use a napkin.

    If you’re on a date, and she’s the “right” kind of woman, she’ll find this sexy. If not, you’ve saved yourself a night of depression. Boot her and find that dive bar discussed earlier.

    • Personally, I’m not bothered by other people eating them wet, but I like mine more dry — I don’t like the soggy bread feel in my mouth.

  28. Personally I felt like I was reading an article written by a hipster trying to be hipster by busting on hipsters. I’m not hipster enough to hate hipsters. I’d say just visit where you want to visit, enjoy what you want to enjoy, and definitely skip the cab and take the L and buses, a little walking is good for you.

  29. I love all the comments on here

    Starts with “Hey fun article, do all these other things too”
    Which the reply to is “Fuck you, not real Chicago, hipster, tourist, 90’s, divebar,”

    You are all giant fags.

  30. pleasant house bakery on 31st and s morgan – best pot pies ever! GET THE CHUTNEY, for the love of god. right next door to maria’s community bar, they have the cheap stuff but all pages and pages and pages of craft beers.

  31. You nailed it, dude. “when the Irish moved in”. Laughed so hard, I’m still crying. This post is EPIC. Signed, Stephen (yes with a ‘ph’) Conley.

  32. I’ve been asked this question most of my life. My answer is mostly the same: Dress warmly, try a sandwich at Manny’s, and watch out for pickpockets if you go shopping on Michigan Avenue. Seriously, treat everyone like a potential pickpocket regardless of how nicely they’re dressed, especially around the holidays. Other than that, enjoy YOUR trip. Oh, and don’t move into housing projects to prove a political point. You’ll just end up helping out drug dealers in the long run.

    • Sad to say, but if you were picked, (hi Jane.) if was by a pair of black men, or man and woman. They seem to own the franchise on it. And not just two of them. I have never seen, or heard of, a white pick in Chicago in 40 years.

  33. I lived in Chicago for 21 years. What makes me Chicagoan are the following:

    – Been mugged 3 times.
    – Grew up in CPS
    – Went to a State school in Chicago proper
    – Knows that prior to 773, it was only 312

    I agree with the author. I can tell you’re not from around here simply by how you act. Chicago is a good city with its own charm. It’s a midwestern city so it’s very blue-collar. But I love that blue collar mentality.

    There are some places you just don’t go too. Mag Mile is nice but let’s face it, unless you’re Oprah you ain’t shopping there. Get an Italian Beef from Al’s or Mr. Beef. Portillo’s is okay. Vienna Beef hotdogs are awesome, go find a hole in the wall. Dagwoods is my place for fries and a hotdog. Greasy? yes. Unsanitary? Definitely. Good? H E L L YES.

    Whenever I go back, I still travel the city like I never left? You know why? 21 years and a CPS education makes you forever a Chicagoan. So fuck you if you disagree with me.

  34. Want some real food and excitement – visit any Harold’s Fried Chicken around midnight. Forget the chicken. Get the hot links with hot sauce. Served with white bread and greasy fries.

    All you need to know about Chicago dogs is Suzie’s Beef on Montrose. Best fries in the city. If you are a North Shore asshole, you can hit Suzie’s drive-through on your way back home. It’s not far from the Junction. If you don’t know what the Junction is, go back to Wisconsin and fuck that cow again.

    • If you go to Harold’s, though, the only acceptable options are 65th and Cottage Grove or 53rd and Woodlawn (and the latter only when the relative ratio of University of Chicago students is pretty low — summer or late December are your best bets).

      I have always liked that their philosophy seems to be that if you didn’t get enough bread on your breaded chicken or your breaded potatoes, they throw in some straight bread just for kicks.

  35. If you’re planning on visiting Chicago, you will probably ask multiple people for advice. Here’s my advice for asking for advice: When a person recommends where you should go, make note of it and try it out if you think you’ll like it. If they start telling you where not to go, ignore them (unless they’re informing you of potential threats to your safety). These people are less concerned about you enjoying your trip than they are with impressing you by how “Chicago” they are (whatever the hell that even means). Everyone has different tastes; you might like a place they think sucks. If you’re here and don’t know where to go, ask someone (we’re surprisingly friendly-sort of). If you’re looking for “touristy” entertainment, ask a concierge at a nice hotel. If you pretend to be a guest, they might even set up reservations for you. If you’re looking for “Real Chicago” places, ask a cop (as long as you’re white). When they’re not fighting the large amounts of crime we have or beating confessions out of people, they spend 40 hours a week as basically tourists who get free food. They know good hole-in-the-wall spots.

  36. All these people talking trash to you….write your own damn article and have thousands of people read it and share it on facebook…until then, just give the guy a pat on the back! P.S. this is f’ing hilarous and oh so true (minus the john handcock!)

    • Part of the “deal” with posting something publicly is that you will be criticized. Being criticized is FAR better than being ignored. I know from experience.

  37. I used to regularly eat at Mangi’s about 20 years ago. I’m not sure that place is around anymore. What I remember about Mangi’s is several layers of filth on the floor, nasty food and the only hot dog stand I’ve ever been to where you can buy a can of beer.

  38. Thanks a bunch this makes me miss Chicago. I’ve been away for 5 years living in Northern Virginia and sometimes all I want to do is walk out of my apartment and eat a greasy taco w/ cour cream and cilantro

  39. Deep Dish Chicago style pizza at Pequods is amazing or should i say, it is the shit!! Also I would suggest Aurelio’s pizza in Chicago, and also they have a Chicago Style family location in Naples, FL (No, they’re not a chain.) Other than Pizza, for some sick tacos & outdoor patio, check out Big Star on Damen Ave.

  40. “Tour” Englewood? is that supposed to satire? you need to get your head examined. this was clearly written by a north sider

  41. Grew up on the 32nd floor at 535 N Mich Ave. Graduated from Latin School of Chicago. Got kicked out of the house and moved to a shitty apartment on Wells at North. Still had 312! Apartment jumped every year. Last one was on Sheffield and Waveland. Then moved out to Bull Valley and then to Colorado. Grew up with Doug of Hot Doug’s. Throughout the years I have watched my stomping grounds get decimated by the lack of diversity.

    If you are a tourist, just get the fuck out there and experience the city. Stop and get food at a place that looks interesting. Every one has their opinion. I am in Northern Colorado now (12 years) and I have found wonderful food and things to do. You just have to get out and do it.

    Enjoy!

  42. Pullman Town? I’ve lived, worked, or gone to school there for over 45 years and never once heard it referred to as “Pullman Town.” I don’t know that it was called that when it was a town.

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