15 Things Never to Say to a Chicagoan

You see us wearing ankle-length puffy coats well into March. That's not because we're ambassadors for North Face. The winter of 2013-14 was, literally, one of the worst in Chicago's history. But that's not all.
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By Joel Reese for the Orbitz Travel Blog

1) Michael Jordan? Overrated.

You didn't just say that. Now you'll have to brace yourself as the Chicagoans in the room inundate you with a staggering list of accomplishments (10-time NBA scoring leader, 6-time NBA champion, 5-time MVP) that prove His Royal Airness is the greatest player to ever grace the NBA hardwood. Not convinced? We'll just leave this here and call it a day.

2) How do I get to the Willis Tower?

Whachu talkin' about, Willis? We're still smarting from the fact that this stunning edifice lost its title as the world's tallest building in 1996. And despite the fact that the burly building "officially" changed its name from the Sears Tower to the Willis Tower in 2009, we'll shrug our shoulders and keep walking if you refer to it this way.

3) I like your accent.

We don't have an accent. YOU have an accent.

4) The 2007 New England Patriots could have taken the '85 Bears.

A hushed silence just enveloped the room. Now you're in for it because the Bears have achieved immortal status in Chicago—and rightfully so. The '85 team had one of the most ferocious defenses in NFL history, a phenomenal offense, and an array of unforgettable characters, including Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, Refrigerator Perry and Da Coach himself, Mike Ditka (cross yourself and genuflect).

5) Chicago's architecture? Meh.

Two words: Look up. Sure, Chicago boasts buildings designed by a veritable who's who of architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and Mies Van Der Rohe. But our fair city also features work by some of the top contemporary architects, including Frank Gehry's stunning bandshell in Millennium Park and Jeanne Gang's bold Aqua high-rise near the lake. That's what.

6) To a Sox fan: Not too many people go to Sox games, huh?

That old Journey song that triumphantly ushered the 2005 Sox to the World Series? It's up there with the national anthem in this town. True, Sox fans may not have packed U.S. Cellular Field to the rafters lately (1.7 million fans visited the park in 2014, which was 28th out of 30 in the major leagues). But a real Sox booster knows that what the fans lack in numbers they more than make up for in passion. Plus: 2005, people.

7) To a Cubs fan: You guys are never going to win it all.

Do you also like telling kids there's no Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy's a lie? Okay so the Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908, but real Cubs fans know that next year is truly the year. And with baseball wünderkind Theo Epstein at the helm and a boatload of talented young players starting to hit their stride, these eternally optimistic fans just might be right. Someday.

8) Donald Trump put his name on the side of that building. What's the big deal?

This ostentatious outsider had the audacity to put his name in gargantuan letters on the side of his building*, which is a true no-no in this town. He's not even from here! It rankled us so much that mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed strict legislation regulating the size of signs along the river.

*Credit where it's due: The building is kind of cool.

9) The only thing this hot dog needs is a little ketchup.

Any Chicagoan worth her celery salt knows that hot dogs are meant to be adorned with anything and everything—except ketchup. We'll allow the overly sweet condiment on fries or if you're under the age of, say, 14. Otherwise, you'll be the butt of our jokes.

10) So you probably spend a lot of time at Navy Pier.

It's not that Navy Pier is SO bad—it's got a great IMAX theater, cool kid's museum, and a sweet fireworks show all summer long. Otherwise? It's a tourist trap with an odd collection of tchotchke shops, chain restaurants and T-shirt stores. Locals avoid it like the Kennedy at rush hour.

11) We need to get from O'Hare downtown in a flash. Better take a cab.

No, no, a hundred times no. Unless you love sitting in traffic and throwing $30 out the window, take a CTA train. Yes, you'll have to check your seat for unidentifiable liquids before sitting down and, yes, prices continue to inch upward (now $5 from O'Hare to downtown), but especially during rush hour, our El system is still the fastest, cheapest way to get downtown. Plus, we're sure you'll meet some real interesting locals along the way.

12) We just had the city's most amazing deep dish at Uno's Pizza!

Spend more than a couple weeks here and you'll quickly learn that the best deep dish—which we Chicagoans rarely eat, but that's beside the point—can be found at Lou Malnati's, Pizano's or Pequod's.

13) Excuse me, how do I get to Paul-EE-na/Day-MIEN/GoaTEE Street?

Quick lesson:
  1. Paulina = Paul-eye-nuh
  2. Damen = Dame-in
  3. Goethe = Ger-tuh (yes, "ger-tuh," it's German)

14) Chicago winters aren't that bad.

You see us wearing ankle-length puffy coats well into March. That's not because we're ambassadors for North Face. The winter of 2013-14 was, literally, one of the worst in Chicago's history. And the thought of going through another polar vortex (just the name gives us chills) is enough to make us consider—for a split second—moving somewhere farther south. But this is our town and we'll bravely endure it again, and again, and again. And we're tough as hell because of it.

15) Chicago's got nothing on New York.

Simply, inarguably, eternally false.

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