There’s no place like Chicago! The city of broad shoulders, famous for it’s diverse neighborhoods, street festivals, music culture, and urban architecture, is one the most unique cities in the world. We want to honor this beautiful place that we call home, so we put together this list of some of the things you’ll only find in Chicago.
A 100+ Year Old Baseball Stadium
It’s an exciting time to live in Chicago if you’re a Cubs fan! The loveable losers are actually predicted to be the best team in the MLB this upcoming season; maybe this is our year afterall (fingers crossed). Although Wrigley Field is in the process of renovating and there are older ballparks still standing, this 100+ year old stadium standing on the North Side of Chicago was the first ballpark to let fans keep foul balls, the only stadium to still use a manually-operated scoreboard since its origin in 1937, and the only stadium to have a neighborhood named after it. Wrigley Field will forever be a staple and monument of the lively North Side culture.
Spitting LED Faces
If you’ve been to Chicago’s Millennium Park then you’ve definitely been greeted by two towering faces, playfully spitting water at passerbys. If you don’t know, this interactive art display is called Crown Fountain and is made up of two 50 ft tall LED glass brick towers standing on a black granite reflecting pool in the heart of the Loop. You can find kids and adults alike splashing around in the fountain on summer days, or tourists snapping photos of the powerful LED displays as they illuminate the night sky. Crown Fountain is a huge aspect of Chicago pop culture and is unlike any public art display in the city.
The Original Portillo’s (NO KETCHUP)
The key to any Midwesterners heart is a Chicago-style hot dog from Portillo’s, definitely no ketchup. Back in 1963, Dick Portillo opened "The Dog House" in a 12-foot trailer hooked up to a garden hose. These days, meat fiends wait hours for juicy Italian beef sandwiches, char grilled burgers, and perfectly made dogs at 38 Portillo's locations in Illinois, Indiana, Arizona and California. It’s not only in Chicago, but you can only find the real deal here. With a buyout in the works, the Portillo’s might soon reach all corners of the nation, but we’ll never forget where they came from. No matter where they end up, Portillo’s will forever be an original Chicago classic.
The Original WhirlyBall
Some call it a sport, others call it a lesson in humility. Since its origin in 1993, founder Sam Elias has opened 3 Chicagoland WhirlyBall locations and started a nationwide craving for this one-of-a-kind recreational sport. If you choose to accept the challenge, you’ll use hand-held scoops to propel whiffle balls at your scoring target. In a team of five, and with the help of a professional referee, you’ll have a bang-up time trying to outscore the competition. WhirlyBall is the ideal sports bar and event venue to escape the nine to five work grind. Recently, to the delight of daredevils and adrenaline junkies everywhere, WhirlyBall added laser tag facilities, bowling lanes, and climbing walls! The bar also features over 32 craft beers on tap all year round. There are some WhirlyBall locations in other states, but everyone knows the reknowned WhirlyBall is just as Chicago as is the Sears Tower (or Willis Tower if you go by what it’s called on a map).
The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority)
Whether you live in Chicago or have travelled here, you have more than likely ridden the "L". You also probably have some interesting stories about your experience. Most cities have a public transportation service of sorts, but there is no public transit system as dynamic and widespread as the CTA and its L system. Spanning across nearly every neighborhood and over 40 suburbs, the CTA is every Chicagoan’s direct line to the rest of the city. Aside from it’s 24/7 reliability, the CTA is notorious for attracting all walks of life, from street performers to business professionals, and the homeless to wanders, a trip on the L is always unpredictable, but always worth talking about.
The Wiener's Circle
Sometimes you don’t just want to grab some food, sometimes you want to get yelled at while grabbing food. You get just that and more at Chicago’s own, The Wieners Circle. No one quite understands why, but go ahead and try it out anyway. This place is known for their hot dogs, burgers and verbally abusive (yet still loving) employees.
There are hundreds of places and things that we could add to the list, but we’ll leave you with these 6 special Chicago things as a starting guide; the rest are up to you to explore yourself!