Chicago, the third most populated city in the United States, is the city where locals always greet the visitors. They are happy to help them, no matter which corner of the world visitors come from.
Most tourists in the city can be spotted from a mile away. However, if you wish to blend in like a local, and get more of a feel of the local color, you can follow these tips.
Born-and-raised Chicagoans definitely have some accent, and you can’t sound like them in just a day. But, do not hesitate to greet and talk to them. Remember, Chicago is a friendly city. No matter how you greet people, they will not let you down. So, just don’t hesitate to do so. Strike up a conversation or ask a local for directions and your efforts will not be wasted.
Take public transportation
Chicago’s grid system of streets makes it easy to navigate around the city by car, but the traffic doesn’t. So, get out of your comfort zone, say bye to your rental cars, and take a public transport. It is not much difficult to get public transport to almost all major attractions in Chicago. Some buses in Chicago provide door-to-door services, making your visit even more convenient. And trust me – sometimes, riding in cabs in the city is way more intimidating than taking the subway.
What to wear
The weather in Chicago is unpredictable, even during all four extreme seasons. Wind chill, humidity, extreme temperatures, and lake-effect snow determine how locals dress. The dresses are more utilitarian and practical, rather than being fashion-oriented. No matter which season you are visiting, always pack layers. You’ll blend right in between November and end of February with a hood, or preferably with a knee-length down coat. Walkable and warm winter boots are a must. No matter the season, Chicago is an eclectic city, and so is the dress code. There is no hard and fast rule regarding how to get dressed up; the only rule is – wear whatever is comfortable and weather-favorable. Wear anything, as long as it’s not a Packers’ Jersey or Cardinals.
Do’s and Don’ts
There are few do’s and don’ts that you need to keep in mind if you want to disguise yourself as a local.
- You should definitely not miss a Chicago-style hotdog, with all the toppings. A Chicago red hotdog is an all-beef sausage on a poppy seed bun. Whatever you do, do not put Ketchup on a Chicago hot dog.
- Do eat something besides the city’s staples. Chicago has 24 Michelin-starred restaurants, two of which earned three stars: repeat-earner Alinea, and first-timer Grace.
- Visit at least one of the Chicago museums. You definitely can’t miss the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago- a collection of the musician, storyboards, photographs, and sketches of his wild costumes and set designs.
- You’ve got to eat some real Chicago Pizza. You can’t miss Chicago-style deep dish Pizza. Pat’s Pizza in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is a good option.
- Don’t take the Seadog speedboat sightseeing tour from Navy Pier. You’d rather opt for the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. This way, you’ll get to know the city’s history and take in its famous skyline. You can opt for a Pedway tour, as an alternative for a cold weather. This will take you beneath the city on an informative walking tour of underground corridors in Chicago.
- Don’t be afraid to swim in Lake Michigan. The water is weather permitting. There are some 27 beaches along the lake where kids can go paddle-boarding.
- Don’t limit yourself to Museum campus, Navy Pier, and Michigan Avenue. Try to explore.
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