5 Tips for Suburban Kids Pretending to be from Chicago

16 Sep

As someone who was born and raised in Chicago (what up?!), it boils my blood that kids from the near suburbs claim that they are “from Chicago.” Just own up to the fact you are from Berwyn or Joliet or wherever, so I don’t have to rot your soul with my dirty looks. However, in the spirit of camaraderie I apparently have to feel toward other freshmen, I must look past these things, so I want to give you kids from the near suburbs (Sorry, Bourbonnais, you’re too far to make the cut) some tips on pretending to be from Chicago proper.

Learn to hate the people who love this

Learn to hate the people who love this

  1. The first thing you need in order to pretend you are from Chicago is a neighborhood. You have to start researching neighborhoods hard in order to give some specifics in order to not be spotted as a fake. For instance, if you say you are from K-Town because you heard about it in the Kanye West song “Cold,” you better be able to roll off all the ‘K’ streets (Karlov, Kedvale, Keeler, Kenneth, Kilbourn, Kildare, Kolin, Kolmar, Komensky, Kostner, Kilpatrick , Kenton, Knox and Keating). If you really want to dazzle, give specific memories from the nearest Home Run Inn Pizza. If you’re really struggling to come up with a neighborhood, just say your grandmother’s maiden name followed by “Park”, and there’s a 95% chance your listener will buy it (and a 70% chance you will have unwittingly named a real Chicago neighborhood).

  2. Once you have your new neighborhood, start familiarizing yourself with city landmarks. This shouldn’t be that hard, considering that you probably took a day trip at some point to Navy Pier or Millennium Park. But, instead of revering them, you have to now hate them because “they are just a bunch of tourist traps.”* And as a Chicagoan, you hate tourists more than anything. They are the worst people ever and should all die horribly specific deaths.**

  3. Familiarize yourself with the CTA. You can get away with just knowing what colors the train lines are. That would be impressive enough to wow your pimply roommate from Tulsa. If you want to be ambitious, you can learn when to transfer from line to line. Err on the side of caution when speaking about the CTA, though, because you may get confused on why exactly we needed a Pink Line.***

  4. On the note of transportation, never speak about the evil Metra. It may be spacious and prompt, but it will never beat our beloved delayed, slower, crowded rides for roughly the same price. You should also make fun of kids who use the Metra, because they are a bunch of nerds that are afraid to ride the real train.

  5. Now that you have the groundwork for your new life set, you have to start building street cred. Apparently hip hop is still big with kids our age, so I would pretend you know Chance the Rapper or Chief Keef. They are roughly our age so it is an entirely believable fabrication. Now if you use this lie to build street cred, you need a story to go along with it. I recommend something simple like you smoked a blunt with one of them. If you don’t smoke weed, say that a friend of yours smoked a blunt with one of them when you were hanging out nearby. Basically, make up any story that involves smoking blunts and you will get far.

Just remember, everyone:  If we unite, we can stop those douches from Rockford and Bloomington from claiming “they are practically from Chicago.”


*But don’t say “trap.” Say “traap,” all nasal and Midwestern and stuff.

**Examples of horribly specific tourist deaths include, but are not limited to:  Starving at Navy Pier because the food is so expensive, falling from the Skydeck on Sears Willis Sears Tower, and being struck in the temple at Soldier Field by a rogue Robbie Gould field goal attempt.

***The Pink Line is so unnecessary that it causes me physical pain. But I’ll save my feelings about the reorganization of train lines for the open letter I’m soon writing to Rahm Emmanuel, titled “How To Lose Electoral Support And Alienate People.”

52 Responses to “5 Tips for Suburban Kids Pretending to be from Chicago”

  1. Mikki September 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I grew up in the suburbsand it always bothers me when my family calls me “the cousin from Chicago.” I’m not from Chicago! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • Mr. X September 17, 2013 at 4:19 am #

      This comment is irrelevant. You’re family is simply choosing the closest known location. It really depends on the context. For example, if you are in Europe, you are not going to say that you’re from Winnetka, “you’ll say you’re from Chicago.

      • andrew September 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        nope, youd say youre from just outside of chicago. twat

  2. Paul September 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    Uhhhh, the pink line is for the Mexicans. Everybody knows that. Footnote #3 is racist.

    • Darius September 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Hipsters of all races live in Pilsen now and apparently some Mexicans are mad about it -__- but also there’s Black people that live near the Pink Line in Lawndale (Kedzie, Central Park, Pulaski, Kostner)

  3. Mr.Hannn September 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    chancetherapper is from homewood which is a suburb. So much for knowing everything about chicago.

    • CaptainLegume September 17, 2013 at 7:51 am #

      Except he went to Jones, which is in the city.

      • andrew September 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

        and you have to have lived in the city to go to jones…

      • Leia September 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

        I went to Jones and actually know Chance. Yes, you need to have been from the city.

        So much for YOU knowing Chicago.

        Side note: Holy shit, Chance! You are a Chicago staple!

    • Russ W. September 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Chance is from Chatham, which is in Chicago. Rockie Fresh is from Homewood.

      • fran September 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

        ^he got it

    • jason verve peiser September 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      and Cheif keef is from Wilmette, which is also a suburb…sooooo yaa

  4. wally September 17, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Traveling in Europe. When asked, no-one knew about Illinois. But Chicago? Everyone knew Chicago.

  5. cpaontheway September 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Can you make an article called 5 tips for Northsiders pretending to be from the Southside? We find it much more common in this city to find someone from the Northside of Chicago, rather than the suburbs, assuming the macho, and sometimes masachistic, demeanor, albeit unearned, as those from the Southside, which is comical, since the Northside is more plush, unapproachable even, and aristocratic, as well, than the dilapitated southside and the suburbs too; which, paradoxically, the later of which is much more gritty than these Northside jimmies living in a Chimera of parental basement paradise.

    • spek September 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

      you’re a fool who’s probably never left the southside. sure, the northside is better in almost every way imaginable, but if you really think it’s all roses and daisies on the northside then you don’t know shit from shinola. i grew up on the northside and it was quite rough where i hailed from. try telling the 5 friends of mine who were murdered how plush it is. moron.

      • cpaontheway September 18, 2013 at 8:13 am #

        Sorry about your friends. There is a lot of crime in Skokie too. Sad to hear about the syndicates infiltration into candy land.

      • Doug September 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

        Where are you from? Did your friends have gang affiliation?

    • Randi Nicole September 18, 2013 at 1:49 am #

      No worries man, I completely side with you.

  6. Darius September 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    The Pink Line is so necessary. It makes a lot more sense than when it branched off of the blue line and you had to make sure you got on the right blue line or you had to transfer at Racine.

  7. Jacks September 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Uhhhhh Pinkline is necessary… nuff said

  8. Proud IMMIGRANT Chicagoan September 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Hating on the Pink Line makes you sound like some preppy Lincoln Park barbie who doesn’t know the REAL city. Sorry if you aren’t. Just because YOU don’t use a train line, it doesn’t mean it is unnecessary. I’m sorry, but Chicago is engorged with immigrants from all over the world that rely on the CTA to get to and from work. That’s what the CTA is for. Not your priveleged little adventures around the city. Thank God for the Pink Line – we need more like it.

  9. A Park Reppin September 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    This is so true! I lived in Albany Park but went to a private school in the burbs. All the suburbia kids tried so hard to say they’re from Chicago. Thank you! Let’s end this annoyance!

  10. Tommy September 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    For those in Chicago or from the area, it makes sense and I feel all of you too. I’d rather have people tell me where they are actually from then just saying Chicago. But in honesty, people who aren’t familiar with Chicago or any area at all will have no idea what Berwyn or Elmwood Park is. It’s so ambiguous so the next best thing is to say a landmark that people can visualize in their head. You’re not going to go up to a recruiter from a job and say I’m from Des Plaines. How the hell are they supposed to know? In honesty, the best of all worlds would be saying that “I am from a suburb named (___________________) near Chicago.” You really don’t have to have a personal grudge against people who say it anyway. It’s just a easy visualization point.

  11. Jimmithey Sqautibaggins September 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    picture is wrong. there are no black people in lake forest. Also I know the kid in the front with the glasses goes to a chicago charter school in the southside which then I presume the rest also go to chicago schools because most inner city kids don’t hang out with people from lake forest or kenosha.

    • miiii September 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      so right those kids are definitely not suburban.

  12. Ash;ey September 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    #4 is a complete dick move. In places like West Pullman, the closest public transportation to get downtown is the metra. So joke or not, it came off as really rude thing to say.

  13. Marcus Granados September 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    What the fuck you sayin nigga. That kid in the red hat, that is me. I am from fucking Chicago. I live in 47th n western and who ever wrote the shit better take it down before I fuck you up nigga.

    • fry1369 September 18, 2013 at 12:26 am #

      However, I know this kid up here. Nickname: McLovin. Threat level: zero.

  14. kangaroo303 September 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    I lived in the suburbs during the week, but spent every weekend at my dad’s place @ marina city on top of dicks and next to the house of blues. Whenever people ask where I’m from I join this crowd by saying “kinda from the city”, but its true…..

    • dissumption September 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      +point^ Broken home and shipped to to the suburbs for school; THATS Chicago.

  15. Cinthya September 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    The Pink Line is so fucking necessary.

  16. rollinflyrollinhigh September 18, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Great read.

    My friend’s backyard borders the house Chief Keef just bought. He’s a weird dude.

  17. Randi Nicole September 18, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    Can we get one of these for “Northsiders Who ‘Pretend’ to Know the Southside”? Also, I disagree with the whole Chief Keef bit. The majority of his listeners stem from the suburbs because they think they’re “hood” if they listen to his garbage.

    • cpaontheway September 18, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      Totally, We need a “Northsiders who ‘Pretend’ to Know Southside” asap to be entirely objective and fair and for the author to fully explore his craft.

    • Doug September 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Yep. Chief Keef is trash and only gives Chicago a bad reputation.

  18. DJ September 18, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Ha…ha..ha. Born in Harvey (burbs), lived in West Pullman neighborhood during HS and College, (South Side) Wild 100’s – 118th Union to be exact. Went to high school in Dolton (Thornridge). Live in Bloomington. Claiming all of the above because its part of ME. Good stuff!

  19. qwassawq September 18, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Stupid piece of shit, of course we need the pink line. Go back to the burbs.

  20. Anne September 18, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    So if I live half a mile (exactly 4 blocks) away from the city, I’m not allowed to tell people who aren’t familiar with Illinois that I am from Chicago? I get that Naperville and Rockford people shouldn’t be able to say they are from Chicago, but what about me? There’s barely a day where I leave my house and don’t enter the city, because again, I live 4 blocks away. I’m just curious because whenever I’m not in the Chicago-area I just say I’m from Chicago, and always get the comment “WELL ARE YOU ACTUALLY FROM CHICAGO?!”

    • miiii September 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      I say if you go to the city often you’re good. If you spend most of your time in Chicago, you’re a Chicagoan.

  21. Just Observing September 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    This is a ridiculous article. I’m assuming the point of the article is that rich, white city kids are upset that rich, white suburban kids say they are from Chicago, and that the real city kids are hard, and the suburban kids are sheltered. But going to Frances Park HS and living in Lincoln Park (one of the most expensive neighborhoods in America) doesn’t make you hard. If I was to drop you off in a number of suburban communities (e.g. Dolton, Harvey, Cicero, etc.) you would shit your pants.

    • Doug September 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      Totally legitimate. I think you meant Francis Parker. I really do think the public/private divide for high school is significant. Someone who goes to LP has a very different experience than someone who goes to FP.

      • ozlock September 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

        YES ^
        I went to Lincoln Park and I knew Francis parker kids, it’s completely different. We had gangs and drugs and violence, while their biggest problem was getting a scratch on their new Macbook their daddy bought them.

  22. Fijorde September 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    this is the most suburban thing I have ever read

  23. Ryan September 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Hello, my name is Ryan. I took this photo. I am a staff member of buildOn (see t-shirt of middle student from Detroit), a non-profit who mobilizes students from Chicago Public Schools to do service and general good things (we’re also in 5 other cities). The students in this picture are from Chicago and Detroit. The students I know most are from the south and west side of Chicago.

    I’m not sure if you just copy/pasted a random picture and formulated this story in order to try and get likes, but I would appreciate if you would change it or take it down. As you put it, “it boils my blood” to see kids pretend to be something they are not…like you pretending to be a legitimate writer.

  24. rabbington October 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    If you’re gonna lie and say you’re from K-town, you better know that crack and heroin are never more than 300 feet from “your” front door.

  25. i live 14.4 miles away from chicago, apparently that affects if im a chicagoan or not. October 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    lol i take metra, doesn’t mean i dont know my way around cta, i just happened to live next to the metra so it’s far more convenient, yeah it costs money, but me driving to nearest cta and parking cost the same amount. i live in niles, but i go to school in chicago, as far as im concerned im not living in springfield and telling you im from chicago, so i dont really see what the big deal it is with living 10 miles away from chicago or living 2 blocks away. people who even have the audacity to bring this about (especially as a huge problem), obviously just has mad hate for the underdogs of chicago. i’d really like to know you’re reasoning, does this make you a true chicagoan? let’s tap into history of chicago back to the pilgrims to determine that.

    • From Albany Park November 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      14.4 miles is far as shit compared to 2 blocks, either one though your still not from chicago. Stop getting pissy cause you think you’re from Chicago. Niles≠Chicago. Not even Park Ridge or anything, norwood park is barely city same with EP those kids grew up way different than how i did same with wildwood, edgebrook, and sauganash kids.

      • Brown Line November 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

        Actually, though. EP, Wildwood, Sauganash, Edgebrook… Suburban city kids. I feel like a big part of the city experience is tied to public transportation/walking. If you needed to drive to get “into the city”/downtown, then you didn’t have a city experience.

  26. why do we have a pink line? October 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    asked no one..ever. not even a tourist asks this shit.

  27. Mo Betta January 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    This is probably the dumbest article I’ve ever read and would like my time back. Everyone knows that the majority of American Cities are surrounded by towns, sometimes literally hundreds of places called suburbs, and to say you’re from Chicago is just fine to outsiders and people unfamiliar with the Chicago Area.

    Not to mention there is a thing called Chicagoland, ever hear of it? Read Alex Kotlowitz’s book “Never a city so real” and you’ll see that Chicago compared to most other cities, has a direct linear relationship with many of it’s suburbs, and that many of these suburbs are in fact just as “Chicago” as wherever you stupid yups decided to move.

    That being said, as a few people have already mentioned, there are probably about two dozen suburbs if not more that are more “urban” and have more in common with the inner city in terms of demographics, poverty, housing, cityscape than places like Beverly, Edgebrook, Forest Glen, Edison Park etc…

    Cicero & Berwyn look exactly like the rest of the west side of chicago, and are probably truer chicago neighborhoods than what Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Bucktown, and parts of Logan Square have became. They still maintain the old classic chicago bungalow, and brick 2 & 3 flat housing styles, as well as many other types of classic chicago housing, than all the stupid cookie cutter condos that have plagued much of the north side. Shoot you can see them in parts of the south side to.

    If you define suburb, as not technically in the city limits, than all of these other places are in fact suburbs. Now let me take you to Cicero, Maywood, Robbins, Harvey, Dolton, Cal City, Cal Park, Riverdale, Blue Island, Chicago Heights, even parts of Bellwood, Melrose Park, and Stone Park and you’ll be rushing back to your Land Rover and upscale Lincoln Park condo in no time.

    Next question, how would you explain Harwood Heights and Norridge? These are techinically suburbs, but surrounded by the city on all sides. Is this not chicago?

    I also live in the city, and take both Metra & the El. What is your point exactly?

    Lastly, people who are from Chicago that are actually from the suburbs off the top of my head.

    Dwayne Wade – Robbins (A Suburb, but competes with Ford Heights & Riverdale for poorest neighborhood/town in entire chicago area including the city)
    Lupe Fiasco – West Side of Chi & Harvey
    Rubberoom Rap Group – Bellwood/Maywood
    Cap D- Rapper – Flossmoor
    Ludacris – Oak Park (until middle of high school, moved to GA) Not to mention every single person says they’re from Atlanta, while most live in far flung exurbs.
    Donovan McNabb – Dolton, but when to Mt. Carmel? so is he from the suburbs or city?

    Come to think of it, this article is probably written by rich white kids, about their disdain for other rich white kids. How old are you and where did you grown up?


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