Chicago lies in the midwest of the US and is considered an almost exemplary city of this region. As such, it tends to carry those midwestern values such as being helpful. Of course, you'll still find rude people in Chicago (some taxi drivers, some bus drivers) but you'll find rude people anywhere you go. For the most part, I found people were helpful and kind.
One thing I first noticed in Paris is mimicked here in the Windy City: placing lost items in full view so that the person who lost said article may find it!
I have been to many baseball parks in the country (with the exception of Fenway, all of them), but Wrigley Field day games really bring out the spirit of Chicago. While waiting for the guy with our tickets, we were entertained by the heckling/joking/singing/jovial nature of the peanut vendors. There were about ten of these entertainers, some equipped with microphones, some that may be semi finalists for American Idol, and several that need a new day job. They would tell jokes at the other's expense, trying to win your peanut buying business before entering the stadium.
While walking around the area of Chicago's famous "Loop" we came upon a group of firemen on each corner with their rubber boots in hand. I hollered to everyone in my party to "Fill the Boot!" The firemen use this method of collecting donations for the various charities they support. You will see this a lot in communities that have volunteer fire departments use this for departmental fund raisers, however for the City of Chicago fire department this was their annual Christmastime to "fill the boot" for the underprivileged children and homeless of Chicago. So if you are suprised when a firemen thrusts his rubber boot in your direction (hopefully it will be off his foot) make sure you "fill the boot" for these guys.
Tips that state that Chicagoans retain their Midwestern values are somewhat correct. I believe the courtesy and politeness of the typical Chicagoan or Chicago suburbanite is indicative of "the friendly Midwest". However, many Chicagoans and suburbanites agree that if they didn't live here, they couldn't live anywhere else in the Midwest. That's because Chicago presents a cosmopolitan nature more similar to larger cities on the coasts than to any other city in the Midwest. The multitude of shopping, dining, cultural, and sports options here are unparalleled. If life on the coasts is getting to you or you just need a change of scenery, give Chicago a try!
As a large city, you will constantly find people putting on some show along the sidewalks.
Just keep alert!
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It's amazing how many famous people were either born in Chicago or spent a good portion of his/her life here.
1. Joan Cusack, movie actress and on television.
2.Gary Sinise, actor.
3. John Belushi, comedian on "Saturday Night Live" and in the movie, "Animal House".
4. Jim Belushi (John's brother), movies and has his own TV Situation Comedy.
5. Ann Margaret, movie star.
6. Oprah Winfrey, a talk show hostess and in movies.
7. Michael Jordan, the all-time greatest basketball star.
8. David Schwimmer, Situation Comedy, "Friends".
9. Chris Farley, before his death, was a comedian on "Saturday Night Live".
10. Dennis Franz, "NYC Blue"
11. Joe Mantegna, movies such as "The Godfather"
12. Tom Bosley, father on the situation comedy, "Happy Days".
13. John Mahoney, father in the situation comedy, "Fraiser".
14. John Malkovich who is a movie star.
15. Jami Gertz , TV and movie star.
16. Laurie Metcalf movies and was the sister in situation comedy, "Roseanne"
17. Harrison Ford, born in Chicago.
18. Kevin Anderson,movies and TV.
"Sleeping With the Enemy" movie and drama on TV called, "Nothing's Sacred".
19. Walt Disney born in Chicago.
20. Robin Williamscomedian, born in Chicago
21. Ernest Hemingway, author
22. Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Price in poetry
23. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator
24. Marlee Matlin, Oscar for acting role
25. Shel Silvertstein, author of children's books.
26. Bill Murray, Sat. Night Life and movies.
There are many others.
I feel that Second City Comedy Troupe has much to do with so many successful people. It's a great training ground.
Despite my promise not to make any comparisons to New York, the similarities between the two cities are so apparent that I just can't resist. Both are ethnically diverse, contain fascinating museums, tall buildings and great food and theatre. The real difference between the two lies in the people.
Chicagoans struck me as more laid back and outwardly friendly than New Yorkers. Most NY'ers will stop and help if you ask for directions, but Chicagoans are more likely to talk with you while NY'ers will stare straight ahead. Chicago is less fast paced than New York. There's a lot to do here, but people don't appear to be rushing at the breakneck pace NY'ers seem to maintain 24/7.
Just some thoughts on the matter. I'll share more on this in a travelogue below.
There is a greeters group if you don't have a close friend! This is a picture I took of my husband, Niki and a visiting friend from Bulgaria in front of the Art Institute of Chicago -- all dressed for the holidays as you can see!
People in Chicago are very friendly. While I was taking my pictures of the city, several people stopped to offer directions, comments, sight-seeing tips, and were just conversational. I guess they thought I was a tourist. It was really fun to take a vacation day to take some pictures. Do not be afraid to ask for directions and tips from passer-bys and miscellaneous Chicagoans. These two offered travelers tips and hammed it up for the camera in front of the Monadnock.
What can I say? Chicago is a big city but is also midwestern, with all the 'down-home' values. So some people are rude and some people are really nice. I'm always happy to help with directions if asked--most people are.
Chicago embodies the notion of an American 'melting pot'. Virtually every nationality in the world is represented in the complexion of this city.
Don't feel as though you must behave in any special way. Simply be polite, courteous, and careful, and all will be well. In restaurants, tip should be between %15 and %20. Keep an ear out for the very nasal Chicago accent. Nearly any Chicago Police officer should have one.
Part of Chicago's charm is the general comradery of its citizens. Most people you will meet will be helpful and amicable. Much of Chicago's image is that of wholesome Americana and working-class pathos.
It's other side is reflected in the vast cultural diversity of the population that has migrated here for over two centuries and the international importance it holds with having one of the busiest airports in the country.
You can see the world in Chicago.
This is just a placeholder while I upload all my photos and then organize my tips. Please do not rate this one at this time.