My “All Time Top 5” Reasons why Chicago rules

I just got back from a family reunion in San Diego, a city I called home for 4 years when I was in high school and college. I always get these funny faces when I tell people I moved back; faces that say “Are you fucking HIGH?” I have a litany of reasons why Chicago is a superior city to San Diego, but here are my top 5 freshly reinforced from my vacation.

  1. The Weather – I know. This is where people lose me from the start. But, trust me, you will miss the seasons if you move to a warmer climate. 70 degrees year round seems like an awesome concept for all of about 6 months. But when you start seeing plastic snowmen in December and you are in a tank top, it starts to get creepy.
  2. The History – One of our illustrious readers, CP, accompanied me on this trip, and he had never been to the west coast before. I talked to him about the cultural differences between the 2 cities and he summed it up perfectly: “Everything in California looks like it was built 3 years ago”. Chicago has amazing architecture, diverse neighborhoods, phenomenal food, and a history you can’t beat. I’ll take a rundown brownstone over stucco mansions and strip malls any day of the week.
  3. The Lake – Again, I know. For shame on me. How could I possibly compare that squirty little Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean? Simple, Lake Michigan is just better. Sure, it has some problems, and can get really icky. But salt water makes me want to barf. And it leaves you feeling dirty for up to 50 hours afterwards. And the currents in the ocean can kill you. And so can sharks.
  4. The Sports – We take our sports VERY SERIOUSLY out here. We take our sports rivalries even more seriously. My dad has a chip on his shoulder that I like the Cubs after being raised in the West Suburbs on a steady diet of White Sox. My uncles in Chicago verbally abuse my family in Wisconsin. Da Bears. Da Cubs. Da Bulls. Come on, does it get any better?
  5. The Politics – Where else can a single family rule the city of Chicago for the better part of a century? Sure, our mayor might not be as famous as California’s governor, but he is surely just as fun. I am going to be highly contrary and update my last list item, because I forgot one of the most important things… The People – I had such a culture shock when I moved to San Diego at 16. I couldn’t get over all the self-importance. People are very “my shit is more important”, and a lot (not all, but most) people are self-involved and self-indulgent. There are some things uniquely awesome about the people in the Midwest – they look out for each other, they are polite to each other, they have a strong ethic and sense of self, they have a different sort of respect, their demeanor is rugged and they all seem to know that their spot in existence is well-earned. Midwesterners have their head squarely on their shoulders.

Did I miss anything? Do you totally disagree?

9 Comments so far

  1. spudart (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 6:03 pm

    Addition to point 2) And Lake Michigan has lots of wrecks in it!

    6) We have the best pier in the nation. Yeah take THAT you coastal punks!

    7) The Architecture – We got the tallest building in the world. Those petronanonana towers don’t count with their spires. We have such a wonderful skyline. Drive into the city from ANY direction and it’s like, “aaaahhh there’s Chicago.”

    8) The Movable Bridges – Or maybe I should call this one “The River.” Chicago has the most moveable bridges for any city in the world. But really our river isn’t THAT great. It would be REALLY nice if we could walk along the entire length of it. Granted, Friends of the River has been working on that. But let’s really imagine here, what if you could SWIM in the river. Yeah, dat’d be suga sweet. Oh wait, back to planet earth. So that’s why this category is “Movable Bridges.” Aren’t they really cool when they move up and time flows at different speed?

  2. Shawn (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 6:42 pm

    I’ll be moving at the end of the month from the Chicago area to the west coast. You’ve definitely given me some things to think about. Actually, if I could just pick up and move anywhere, wihout any consideration for stupid, real-world things like money and jobs, I’d choose to live in Chicago (in the city, not the suburbs). Maybe, some day…

  3. SC (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 7:45 pm

    Having moved from Chicago to the Southwest, I have to completely agree with all the above. Xmas and tank tops just don’t mix. But it IS a dry heat here in AZ! *rolling eyes*

  4. Yano (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 9:03 pm

    I lived in Long Beach, CA for a year. Although I loved it out there and there were days that the weather was so beautiful I felt like singing. But I missed fall and winter. That, and the people here are just different. There’s something wholesome, comfortable and real about Chicago people.

  5. Crissy (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 9:28 pm

    You are right on all counts. How I do miss the winter . . . here in Honolulu. No, really. I do.

  6. Lauren (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 9:41 pm

    Yeah, now that I think about it, I think I have to amend my list. There is something uniquely wonderful about the people in Chicago.

    The weather thing just kills me. People seriously look at me like I am deranged when I tell them the weather starts to bore you. I cannot stress it enough, the seasons in the midwest are what makes it. There are only about 3 weeks of the year in February when I get angry at the weather here. But the winter make us enjoy the spring and summer, the summer makes us ready for fall, and the fall make us wistful for snow.

  7. K. (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 11:42 pm

    Piggybacking on spudart’s comments re: the river: we have a city government that not only allows but actually supports the act of dumping green dye into the river, not because it serves any specific function, but because it’s FUN and CELEBRATORY.

    That? is awesome.

  8. spudart (unregistered) on July 13th, 2005 @ 11:49 am

    9) Walking Dude

    The mystery man walking the streets of Chicago.

  9. Matthew (unregistered) on October 27th, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

    I am rewriting some of these points to help me pursuade my wife that we need to move to Chicago. My wife and I have lived in Williamsburg, VA, Tampa, Cleveland and now we live in San Diego. We have been in San Diego for 3 years, and it is beautiful, but there is something (or alot of things) missing. I am finishing my JD, and we agreed to leave San Diego after graduation. She wants to return to Tampa, I want to make Chicago our home. Thank you for the persuasive amunition. Wish me luck.

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