35 Things Only True Chicagoans Know


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Chicago is a city rich in culture, history, and places to see. Wouldn't you want to learn more about this great city? Take this quiz and see if you know 35 things only Chicagoans know. After this, you're sure to fall in love with Chicago even more!

Why is Chicago called the Windy City?

Chicago is an old city with a lot to be proud of. Chicagoans love it, and sometimes, they can be seen as "windy." However when it comes to explaining why the term came to be, the origin story is suddenly "up for debate." None-the-less, the term has been recorded to go as far back as 1876 when an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer used the headline: "THAT WINDY CITY". Others cite when New York Sun editor Charles Dana described the city as "windy".


When a cow kicked over a lantern, what historic Chicago disaster happened?

The Great Chicago fire destroyed 17,000 buildings and killed 250 people. Chicago was able to rebuild quickly, though only a few buildings survived from before the fire.


In 1885, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago became the first of this kind of city superstructure. What's it called?

When the Home Insurance Building was built in 1885, it became known as the first skyscraper. Chicago now has many skyscrapers in its skyline, with some being ranked among the country's tallest.


Why does the Chicago River flow backwards?

People were falling sick from water-based diseases in the 1800s, and the solution was an epic construction project to reverse the flow of the Chicago River. In 1900, the waterway project was completed. River pollution levels, however, took long to lower.


This Chicago baseball team can be bears on the field. What's the name of this "Northside" team?

The Chicago Cubs recently ended 108 years of not winning any championship with National and World Series wins in 2016. The St. Louis Cardinals are seen as their traditional rivals.


Prohibition Era gang shootings led to a memorable Chicago date. What was the date of this heinous crime?

The Valentine's Day Massacre resounded in Chicago history for how it played out. Rumor has it that this massacre was the result of mobster turfing clashes between Al Capone's gang and Bugs Moran's gang.


When you say "Deep Dish" in Chicago, what kind of food are you talking about?

Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza. As the name says, these kinds of pizzas are shaped more like pies, though all the ingredients are definitely the same as a pizza.


Which recent Democratic President lived in Chicago?

President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, but as he grew older, he made Chicago his home. He taught in the University of Chicago, and worked as a civil rights attorney.


What is the slightly devilish name of the famous national road that connects Chicago and L.A.?

The famous Route 66 connects the East and West of the United States. The Eastern end is anchored in Chicago, where it starts at Lake Shore Drive.


What is the name of the stubborn Chicago basketball team?

The Chicago Bulls team was formed in 1966, and is based in the United Center. The team has won six NBA Championships so far.


This popular spinning, height-defying carnival ride was invented in Chicago. What's its name?

The first Ferris wheel was invited by George Ferris, Jr., and opened on June 21, 1893. It was 140 feet high, and was meant to be as popular an attraction as the Eiffel Tower.


Which animals guard the front of the Art Institute of Chicago?

Two bronze lion statues stand guard at the front steps of the Art Institute of Chicago. They were unveiled in 1894, and were created by Edward Kemeys.


Which other Chicago team was named in part because of the Chicago Cubs?

The Chicago Bears used to be known as the Decatur Staleys, named after their founder. When they moved to Chicago, they were eventually named the Bears, as a nod to the Cubs baseball team. Since football players were larger, the bear and cub imagery made sense.


Which baseball park in Chicago shares its name with a popular chewing gum company?

Wrigley Field is so named because William Wrigley Jr., founder of the chewing gum company, took control of club ownership in 1918. In 1926, Weegham Park (or Cubs Park) was renamed to Wrigley Field. It's the home base of the Chicago Cubs.


Why is it a bad idea to walk down the street on Chicago's Western Avenue?

Western Avenue in Chicago is the longest street in the city. It's more than 27 miles long, and used to be the western edge of the city.


What popular and complicated musical style was named in Chicago?

Jazz may have started in New Orleans, but by 1915, it was definitely popular in Chicago, where that style of music found a name that stuck, after being named as such in the Chicago Tribune.


How did Al Capone, the famous Chicago crime boss, end up in prison?

Al Capone was Chicago's Public Enemy Number One, and the authorities were trying to build a case that could win in court. They pinned him on tax evasion, even if he was probably guilty of nastier crimes.


Which dramatic format first came out via Chicago's radio airwaves?

Soap operas started in 1930, with Painted Dreams aired over Chicago's WGN radio station. With its daytime slot, it was meant for a mostly female market.


Softball is actually a Chicago creation. What season was softball meant to be for, originally?

Softball was invented by Georg Hancock in 1887 as a way for baseball players to practice during winter. Eventually, it evolved to become a sport on its own.


What ancient, terrible lizard with small arms is on display in Chicago's Field Museum?

The world's most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton is on display in The Field Museum. It's been named Sue, and is about 40 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hip.


What did Anton Feuchtwanger invent so that his customers could hold hot sausages?

Anton Feuchtwanger was losing money, supposedly, on gloves to help customers hold hot sausages. Since people didn’t return the gloves, he listened to his wife, who suggested that he serve hotdogs on a roll. The hotdog served on a bun was born.


Chicago has around 60 of these special bridges that can give way to river traffic. What kind are they?

Chicago's waterways used to be very active channels for boats, and this is reflected in the fact that Chicago had many bridges that could lift or swing out of the way to allow tall boats to go through. Informally, Chicago was one of the drawbridge capitals of the world, thanks to the number of bascule bridges they have.


Chicago has 552 of these nature spaces within. What do you normally call these general-use places?

Chicago is a very large city, and with 552 parks, it's easy to believe. The most popular ones are Millennium, Washington, and Grant. Each park has its unique set of activities, so it won't be boring visiting each one.


Unlike in many other cities, where did Chicago put most of its lofty railways?

The Chicago "L" is the rapid transport train system used in the city. "L" stands for "elevated," as most of the train tracks are built on platforms above the streets , but there are a few areas where the train passes underground.


Chicagoans really do love art. They have about 500 of these open-air exhibits. What do they call these pieces?

Chicago has an extensive Public Art Program. This program aims to beautify public spaces with the works of professional artists. In fact, 2017 is the city's Year of Public Art.


What do Chicagoans call this foot-friendly place next to the main part of the Chicago river?

Riverwalk is a large area on the south bank of the Chicago River that is designed for foot traffic. It has restaurants, seats, boat rentals, and scheduled events to entertain Chicagoans.


The Willis Tower, the tallest building in Chicago, once had a different owner. Which shopping chain built it, and was its first owner?

The Willis Tower was formerly known as the Sears Tower, as it was built to be an office building for Sears employees. It is still the tallest building in Chicago at 1,450 feet and 110 floors.


What property did Hugh Hefner turn over to the Art Institute of Chicago?

The original Playboy Mansion was officially turned over by Hugh Hefner to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was used as a student dormitory. It was later sold to a developer, becoming a set of luxurious condos.


Which Chicago Second City comedy veteran would be known as Dr. Peter Venkman, parapsychologist, in a famous "ghost" movie?

Bill Murray started out in The Second City, an improvisational comedy group in Chicago. As Dr. Peter Venkman, he became famous as the jaded, deadpan, and business-minded Ghostbuster.


What color is used to dye the Chicago river on St. Patrick's Day?

Chicago citizens just love messing around with their home river. Every St. Patrick's Day, the Plumber's Union releases a powdered vegetable-based orange dye into the river. The powder changes color when it comes into contact with water! Hence the green hued river that lasts for a few hours.


This Major League baseball team is one of two Chicago teams. What is the name of this "Southside" team?

The White Sox started out in Sioux City, before eventually coming to Chicago. Since then, they've had three World Series wins, the latest in 2005.


In sports-loving Chicago, where did physicist Enrico Fermi build a nuclear reactor in 1942?

Enrico Fermi built a nuclear reactor under the football stands at the University of Chicago. This would help in understanding how to build a nuclear bomb.


What is the cool sport of the team known as the Chicago Blackhawks?

The Chicago Blackhawks are the city's ice hockey team. Founded in 1926, they have since won six Stanley Cups. They are based in the United Center, having moved from Chicago Stadium.


The famous Italian beef sandwich of Chicago has a "wet version." What do they dip it in?

The Italian beef sandwich's "wet version" is a sandwich dipped in the beef's gravy, or drippings. This supposedly enhances the flavor of the thinly sliced roast beef in the sandwich.


Chicago's Lincoln Park has one of the last free versions of this kind of live animal exhibit. What do you call this?

Lincoln Park has a zoo that is free for the public. It's open 365 days a year. It has many kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in display in artificial habitats.


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