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10 things you should never do when you’re in Chicago

It could just be my narrow perspective, but I feel like everyone always has something to say about Chicago.

The deep dish is challenged whenever someone gets a chance, people who have never lived in the city love to speak for it, and somehow it’s become the scapegoat for every act of violence against African American lives.

The rise of drill music hasn’t helped either. Unintentionally I’m sure, but producer/videographer DGainz was instrumental in reflecting that limited perspective of Chicago.

We’re talking 308,293,331 views on YouTube from shooting mega-hits like “Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa,” painting a picture of a prominent but small fraction of what Chicago represented.

You bring up Chicago to anyone and the first thing that comes to their mind is bang, bang.

I figure people buy into what they hear simply because they have not heard any other side or seen anything else represented to contrast their preconceptions with.

So I figure I’d give you mine — an alternate reality to what you’ve heard in the news or on songs from someone who’s lived here for the past three years.

And what better way to tell you what I know about a city than telling you what I learned not to do in the city. Here are my top ten things you should not do in Chicago.

#1: Do not false claim Chicago.

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Let me start off by saying that I was not raised in the city of Chicago. I’ve only moved here recently and by no means am I claiming to have been from here at any point in my life.

You see how easy that was?

Yet somehow that’s become a main point of contention for Chicagoans and the suburbanites and implants who come here.

The people from Chicago take living here with a sense of pride. Yeah, it’s some bullshit sometimes. But it’s their bullshit. When it’s poppin’, it’s poppin’ and when it’s not, they bundle. Why let anyone just claim that?

It’s a pass that will be checked and snatched. Towns as close as Evanston — less than ten miles out — don’t get to claim Chicago.

So, if you are to ever move to Chicago and fall in love with the city (which is inevitable), don’t suddenly get amnesia and forget where you came from, regardless of how long the stay.

#2: Do not call Chicago ‘Chiraq’.

The fastest way to be a goofy in Chicago would be referring the city to “Chiraq.”

That nickname has not endured well here and it’s actually pretty bogus.

All it does is perpetuate a culture that Chicagoans are fighting to suppress. Don’t ever do that.

#3: Do not call The Willis Tower ‘The Willis Tower’.

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Want to know another way to stick out like a sore thumb? Call the Willis Tower it’s proper name.

No, they literally don’t care who changed it when and why. It’s the Sears Tower.

#4: Do not order chicken without mild sauce.


Ah yes, the condiment exclusive to the windy city: mild sauce.

Don’t ask what the ingredients are or what it is. Just know that you would be out of your mind to eat a piece of fried chicken without it.

There are two main chicken spots: Harold’s (Southside) and Uncle Remus (Westside). Both have it, so there is no excuse.

#5: Do not put ketchup on a hotdog.

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It’s an unwritten rule in Chicago that if you put ketchup on your dog you’re not a Chicagoan.

President Barack Obama has said that once you’re past eight years old, ketchup does not belong on a hot dog. Vienna Beef executive Bob Schwartz feels so strongly about this that he titled his hot dog history book Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog.

It’s just something you don’t do.

#6: Do not leave the house without a jacket.

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Ignore the weather channel. Ignore the app on your phone, ignore what it currently feels like outside, and listen to me. Take your jacket.

The weather in Chicago changes like a wardrobe. You’re better off stuffing your jacket in your book bag than being caught in the rain, snow, or hail.

Also, the weather randomly drops out of nowhere. You can see the sun and be enjoying a seventy-degree day and after lunch suddenly find yourself chattering from thirty-degree wind chill.

On top of that, whatever building you go in is just as wrong as the weatherman, often guessing the temperature wrong. Cold when it’s hot, hot when it’s cold.

Take a jacket always.

#7: Do not explore an unfamiliar hood.

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This is advice that should be taken anywhere, but especially in Chicago. This is not the city to just go exploring for the heck of it.

With nearly 3k shootings in Chicago so far this year, it’s smart to have someone with you if you’re going to a place you’ve never been before. Whether it be a party, art show, or whatever, don’t go venturing off somewhere that’s unfamiliar to you.

It’s just a matter of moving the right way and being where you’re supposed to be. “Stay Safe” is how they say goodbye in Chicago because lacking ain’t always what you aren’t carrying, it’s being where you shouldn’t be.

#8: Do not answer to ‘Check it out’.

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Your instincts should always be keen and on point so hopefully this advice doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, but you should never answer to “check it out.”

In these instances, said individual asking for your attention most likely does not have your best interests at heart and it would be best for you to move along.

Again, beckoning to a stranger’s call goes against conventional wisdom yet it’s still important to state that those are trigger words meaning get the heck out of dodge.

#9: Do not clout thirst at functions.

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The art and music scene in Chicago is small and now that some of the biggest names atop of the music industry are from Chicago, everyone is bound to have known or seen someone with notoriety at one point in time.

Good. Keep it to yourself.

Do not be the guy who name-drops or who is over-the-top about networking and “building.” Such antics of thirst do not bode well and will have you out here looking really dumb.

#10: Do not step on my G Fazos.


“Do your thing just don’t step on these all white G Fazos Gang …”

G Herbo aka Lil Herb renamed and really rebranded the Nike Air Force One as the G Fazos and made them immortal in his 2015 hit “Rollin” off his mixtape Ballin Like I’m Kobe.

More than a song and some shoes, stepping on someone’s shoes in Chicago is a no-no and is viable cause for a fist fight.

Whether it be G Fazos, J’s, or some slides, watch where you step at all times.