Ah, sweet home Chicago. At least that’s what you’re trained to say to anyone who lives outside of Illinois. But it’s totally understandable; it’s way easier (and slightly cooler) to say you’re from Chicago, rather than some obscure suburb thirty minutes away from the Windy City. But in reality, the suburb life really isn’t all that bad. You still get the fabulous food, public transportation (Metra, anyone?), and the Chicago pride, minus the awful city traffic. And it’s all just a train ride away! The suburbs definitely have a culture of their own, and if you’re someone who grew up in them, you know this is true. And yes, Portillos is a big part of it! Here are 10 signs you’re from the Chicago suburbs.
1. The Bean will never get old. Are you even from the suburbs if you don’t have a picture with it?
Every trip to Chicago, and I mean every trip, is never complete without a picture of you and your friends’ reflection on the Bean. Also known as Cloudgate (which no one actually calls it that), this giant landmark is a staple for selfies and Instagram posts. You can be sure that the next time you visit the city, the Bean will be your first stop!
2. You’ve mastered taking the Metra.
There’s only two ways to get into the city: drive and be stuck in horrendous traffic, tacking on at least a half hour of extra travel time, or taking the beloved Metra. By high school, you were so experienced with the train that you could list off the schedule by memory. Sure, the train can get a little rowdy at times, like after nighttime Cubs games, or Lollapalooza. But no matter what, you love it because it provides a quick escape from the suburbs. And you never want to be like one of those inexperienced tourists who buy their ticket on the train. *gasp*
3. Portillos is sacred.
The best burgers and hot dogs for miles around are served at these retro restaurants, in a white and red striped bag. And the chocolate cake? No homemade dessert will ever top the decadence of the chocolate cake at Portillos. Every night out to Portillos is like hitting the jackpot, and always will be. Also cheese fries are never for sharing; you make sure your family knows that, so they don’t lose a finger if they dare to steal one. Get your own!
4. Suburb rivalries are very real.
And boy, are they intense. Usually coming to a boil at a highly anticipated rivalry football game, where there is no shortage of face paint, fireworks, and competitive jeers being exchanged between student sections. The entire town will be decorated in their school colors, and God forbid they lose, the entire town is upset for weeks, recounting every “bad call” during the game. Either way, they are still a fun way to bring the suburbs together, even if it does involve some mutual hate.
5. Christmas shopping isn’t ever complete without a trip to Oakbrook Mall (or Santaland).
You always know when it’s that time of the year when Oakbrook starts to transform into its own little winter wonderland, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves. Aside from the festivities, Oakbrook has the best shopping hands down; even Woodfield can’t compete with some of their stores (except for the fact that it’s indoors). But not even the cold can get you down once you step foot into Oakbrook and walk under the twinkling Christmas lights of Santaland. However, your wallet always leaves more than a little lighter than intended.
6. You act like you know the city like the back of your hand, but in reality, can barely make it out of the train station.
Sure, when people ask you if you can navigate the city, you sound like you’re a city-born expert who can find their way out of any Chicago neighborhood. But in reality, your traversing skills don’t go past the doors of Ogilvie. Good thing Uber exists, or you’d be wandering around the city for hours before you even find Michigan Ave.
7. Steak and Shake is where you made some of your best memories.
Okay, maybe not as good as Portillos, but certainly a lot cheaper! And open much later than any other place around. This dinky little diner is known as the high school hangout for students, especially when its 12 a.m. and there aren’t any better options. Steak and Shake is where everyone flocks to after football games, homecoming, and just about any other event, making it one of the places you make some of your favorite memories. And it taught you that nothing tastes better, late at night, than fries dipped in a giant shake.
8. It was easier to just say you’re from Chicago rather than your obscure suburb.
Wheaton? What’s that? You try to avoid these questions every time an out-of-stater asks where you’re from, by just saying you’re from Chicago. It saves you a lot of time explaining exactly where your home sweet home is. And who cares? A little white lie never hurt anybody! Plus, you feel so much cooler when people say how awesome it was that you lived in such an amazing city! You just smile and agree, secretly hoping they’ll never find out your true suburban identity…
9. Chicago sports teams are the best. End of story.
Between an awesome basketball team, a legendary (World Series Champs 2016) baseball team, and a consistently victorious hockey team, there’s no question, the love of Chicago sports runs deep in surburbaners hearts, too. And who doesn’t love a good Blackhawks parade? It’s a time for you to get all decked out in jerseys and spend the day in the city, alongside thousands of other die-hard fans. A love of Chicago sports is bred into your heart from an early age, when most neighborhood get-togethers were centered around the big games. Even the local restaurants are stuffed with people trying to get a good view of the Bulls game. Either way, there is never a shortage of allegiance to all Chicago sports teams, no matter how many Metra stops separate you and the city.
10. You love your own little slice of home in the suburbs.
No matter what suburb you come from, nothing beats home. And yes, while it may seem boring sometimes, in comparison to busy city life, you love your little corner of home in calm suburbia. Plus, you still get bragging rights to the being part of the amazing Chicago culture! And you wouldn’t trade it for anything. The suburbs will always be home, and so will Portillos!
Can you think of any other signs you’re from the Chicago Suburbs? Let me know in the comments!
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Featured Image Source: pinterest.com
Grand State University '20. Journalism Major. CLE - CHI - GR.