Top 37 Slang For Chicago – Meaning & Usage

Chicago, the vibrant and diverse city known for its deep-dish pizza and iconic skyline, has a language of its own. From the South Side to the Loop, we’ve gathered the top slang words and phrases that capture the spirit of the Windy City. Whether you’re a native Chicagoan or just passing through, this listicle will have you speaking like a true local in no time. Get ready to dive into the colorful world of Chicago slang and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!

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1. Chi-town

“Chi-town” is a popular nickname for the city of Chicago. It is often used by locals and visitors alike to refer to the city in a more casual and affectionate way.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m heading to Chi-town for the weekend to catch a Cubs game.”
  • In a conversation about travel destinations, a person might ask, “Have you ever been to Chi-town? It’s such a vibrant city.”
  • A Chicago native might proudly declare, “I love living in Chi-town. There’s always something exciting happening here.”

2. The Windy City

Another popular nickname for Chicago is “The Windy City.” This nickname originated from the strong winds that blow off Lake Michigan and often whip through the city.

  • For instance, a tourist might say, “I can’t wait to visit The Windy City and experience its unique charm.”
  • In a discussion about famous cities, someone might mention, “Chicago, also known as The Windy City, is famous for its architecture and deep-dish pizza.”
  • A Chicago resident might joke, “Living in The Windy City means always having a bad hair day.”

3. The Bean

One of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks is a mirrored sculpture called Cloud Gate, but it is commonly referred to as “The Bean” due to its shape resembling a giant bean.

  • For example, a tourist might say, “I can’t wait to take a selfie in front of The Bean when I visit Chicago.”
  • In a conversation about public art, someone might mention, “The Bean is a must-see attraction for visitors to Chicago.”
  • A local might suggest, “Let’s meet at The Bean for a picnic in Millennium Park.”

4. The L

The Chicago “L” train system, officially known as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) ‘L’ system, is often referred to as “The L” by locals. It stands for “elevated” as many sections of the train tracks are elevated above the city streets.

  • For instance, a commuter might say, “I take The L to work every day.”
  • In a discussion about public transportation, someone might mention, “The L is a convenient way to get around the city.”
  • A visitor might ask, “How do I navigate The L to get to Wrigley Field?”

5. The Loop

Downtown Chicago is often referred to as “The Loop” due to the elevated train tracks that encircle the area in a loop shape. It is the commercial and cultural center of the city.

  • For example, a local might say, “I work in The Loop and love being in the heart of the city.”
  • In a conversation about Chicago neighborhoods, someone might mention, “The Loop is where you’ll find many iconic skyscrapers and famous landmarks.”
  • A tourist might ask, “What are some must-visit attractions in The Loop?”

6. The Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile is a stretch of North Michigan Avenue in Chicago known for its high-end shopping, luxury hotels, and iconic landmarks. It is a popular tourist destination and a symbol of Chicago’s prosperity and elegance.

  • For example, “Let’s go shopping on The Magnificent Mile and check out the latest designer collections.”
  • A local might say, “I love strolling down The Magnificent Mile during the holiday season to see all the festive decorations.”
  • A visitor might ask, “What are the must-visit attractions on The Magnificent Mile?”

7. The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a wealthy residential neighborhood located on the Near North Side of Chicago. It is known for its historic mansions, upscale shopping, and fine dining establishments. The area has a reputation for luxury and exclusivity.

  • For instance, “Many celebrities and wealthy individuals reside in The Gold Coast.”
  • A local might say, “I enjoy taking walks along Lake Shore Drive in The Gold Coast and admiring the beautiful architecture.”
  • A visitor might ask, “Are there any boutique hotels in The Gold Coast?”

8. The South Side

The South Side refers to the southern part of Chicago, which is known for its rich history and diverse communities. It is home to iconic landmarks such as the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the historic Bronzeville neighborhood.

  • For example, “The South Side has a vibrant arts and culture scene.”
  • A local might say, “I grew up on the South Side and have fond memories of the neighborhood.”
  • A visitor might ask, “What are some must-visit attractions on the South Side?”

9. The North Side

The North Side is the northern part of Chicago and is known for its vibrant neighborhoods, entertainment venues, and sports stadiums. It is home to popular areas such as Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview.

  • For instance, “The North Side has a thriving nightlife scene with plenty of bars and clubs.”
  • A local might say, “I love exploring the diverse restaurants and shops on the North Side.”
  • A visitor might ask, “What are some family-friendly activities on the North Side?”

10. The West Side

The West Side of Chicago is a diverse and culturally rich area known for its historic landmarks, ethnic communities, and vibrant street art. It is home to neighborhoods such as Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Pilsen.

  • For example, “The West Side has a strong sense of community and is known for its cultural festivals.”
  • A local might say, “I enjoy visiting the local art galleries and murals on the West Side.”
  • A visitor might ask, “Are there any parks or green spaces on the West Side?”

11. The Second City

Chicago is often referred to as “The Second City” because it was historically the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City. The nickname also reflects the city’s resilience and ability to rebuild after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

  • For example, a local might say, “I love living in The Second City. There’s always something exciting happening here.”
  • In a conversation about travel, someone might ask, “Have you ever been to The Second City? It’s a great place to visit.”
  • A Chicago sports fan might proudly declare, “I support all of The Second City’s teams!”

12. The Chi

“The Chi” is a shortened version of the word “Chicago” and is often used as a colloquial nickname for the city. The term is commonly used by locals and fans of the city.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m heading to The Chi this weekend to visit family.”
  • In a discussion about Chicago’s culture, a person might mention, “The Chi has a vibrant music scene.”
  • A Chicago native might proudly declare, “I’m from The Chi, born and raised!”

13. The 312

“The 312” refers to the area code for Chicago. The term is often used to represent the city and its unique culture.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m proud to be from The 312.”
  • In a discussion about Chicago’s food scene, someone might mention, “The 312 has some of the best deep-dish pizza in the world.”
  • A Chicago sports fan might proudly wear a hat or shirt that says “The 312” to show their love for the city.
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14. The Chi-Town Shuffle

“The Chi-Town Shuffle” is a slang term used to describe the fast-paced and energetic lifestyle of Chicago. It refers to the constant movement and activity in the city.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I had to do the Chi-Town Shuffle to catch the train during rush hour.”
  • In a conversation about Chicago’s vibrant nightlife, a person might mention, “The Chi-Town Shuffle is real on the weekends.”
  • A Chicago resident might describe their daily routine as, “I wake up early and start the Chi-Town Shuffle to get to work on time.”

15. The Chi-City Shake

“The Chi-City Shake” is a term used to describe the unpredictable weather patterns in Chicago. The city is known for experiencing sudden changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation.

  • For example, someone might say, “Don’t forget your umbrella, it’s time for the Chi-City Shake.”
  • In a discussion about packing for a trip to Chicago, a person might advise, “Be prepared for the Chi-City Shake and pack layers.”
  • A local might complain, “I never know how to dress for the Chi-City Shake. It can be sunny in the morning and snowing in the afternoon.”

16. The Chi-Town Steppin’

This refers to a popular dance style that originated in Chicago. It is characterized by smooth footwork, intricate patterns, and a close connection between partners. The Chi-Town Steppin’ is often associated with the Chicago music scene, particularly with the genre of Chicago Steppin’ music.

  • For example, at a dance party, someone might say, “Let’s hit the dance floor and show off our Chi-Town Steppin’ skills.”
  • A dance instructor might teach a class on the Chi-Town Steppin’ and say, “Today, we’re going to focus on the basic footwork of this iconic dance style.”
  • A group of friends might plan to attend a Chi-Town Steppin’ competition and say, “We’re going to cheer on our favorite dancers and soak up the incredible energy of the event.”

17. The Chi-Town Slide

This refers to a dance move that is commonly seen in Chicago. The Chi-Town Slide involves sliding or gliding across the dance floor while performing various footwork patterns and body movements. It is often done in a group or line formation, with dancers moving in sync.

  • For instance, at a wedding reception, the DJ might play a song that prompts everyone to do the Chi-Town Slide together.
  • A dance instructor might demonstrate the Chi-Town Slide and say, “Watch closely as I slide to the left and then to the right, adding some flair with my arms.”
  • A group of friends might challenge each other to a Chi-Town Slide competition and say, “Let’s see who can slide the smoothest and most stylishly!”

18. The Chi-Town Bop

This refers to a lively and energetic dance style that originated in Chicago. The Chi-Town Bop is characterized by quick footwork, intricate spins, and playful movements. It is often done to fast-paced music, such as Chicago House or Footwork music.

  • For example, at a dance party, someone might say, “I love busting out some Chi-Town Bop moves when the DJ plays high-energy tracks.”
  • A dance instructor might teach a class on the Chi-Town Bop and say, “Today, we’re going to focus on the footwork and spins that make this dance style so dynamic.”
  • A group of friends might organize a Chi-Town Bop competition and say, “Let’s see who can bring the most energy and creativity to their Bop routine!”

19. The Chi-Town Juke

This refers to a fast and rhythmic dance style that originated in Chicago. The Chi-Town Juke is characterized by quick footwork, intricate leg movements, and syncopated rhythms. It is often done to Juke music, a genre that combines elements of house music and hip-hop.

  • For instance, at a club, someone might say, “The DJ is playing some sick Juke tracks. Let’s hit the dance floor and show off our Chi-Town Juke skills.”
  • A dance instructor might teach a class on the Chi-Town Juke and say, “Today, we’re going to focus on the quick footwork and leg movements that make this dance style so unique.”
  • A group of friends might challenge each other to a Chi-Town Juke battle and say, “Let’s see who can keep up with the fast-paced Juke beats and impress with their moves!”

20. The Chi-Town Hop

This refers to a dance move that is commonly seen in Chicago. The Chi-Town Hop involves hopping or jumping in a rhythmic and coordinated manner, often with accompanying arm movements. It is often done in a group or line formation, with dancers moving in sync.

  • For example, at a block party, the DJ might play a song that prompts everyone to do the Chi-Town Hop together.
  • A dance instructor might demonstrate the Chi-Town Hop and say, “Watch closely as I hop from side to side, adding some flair with my arms.”
  • A group of friends might challenge each other to a Chi-Town Hop competition and say, “Let’s see who can hop the highest and with the most style!”

21. The Chi-Town Twist

The Chi-Town Twist is a dance move that originated in Chicago. It involves twisting the hips and moving the arms in a rhythmic manner. The term is often used to refer to the dance move itself or to describe a lively and energetic dance party in Chicago.

  • For example, “The dance floor was packed with people doing the Chi-Town Twist.”
  • A person might say, “Let’s hit the club tonight and do the Chi-Town Twist.”
  • In a conversation about Chicago’s dance culture, someone might mention, “The Chi-Town Twist is a popular dance move in the city.”

22. The Chi-Town Stomp

The Chi-Town Stomp is a dance move that originated in Chicago. It involves stomping the feet in a rhythmic manner while moving the arms and body. The term is often used to refer to the dance move itself or to describe a high-energy dance performance in Chicago.

  • For instance, “The dancers on stage were doing the Chi-Town Stomp.”
  • A person might say, “I love watching people do the Chi-Town Stomp at parties.”
  • In a discussion about Chicago’s dance scene, someone might mention, “The Chi-Town Stomp is a signature move in the city.”

23. The Chi-Town Groove

The Chi-Town Groove is a dance move that originated in Chicago. It involves grooving the body in a smooth and rhythmic manner, often accompanied by footwork and arm movements. The term is often used to refer to the dance move itself or to describe a stylish and captivating dance performance in Chicago.

  • For example, “The dancer had amazing moves, including the Chi-Town Groove.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t wait to see the dancers do the Chi-Town Groove at the upcoming show.”
  • In a conversation about Chicago’s dance culture, someone might mention, “The Chi-Town Groove is known for its fluidity and grace.”

24. The Chi-Town Funk

The Chi-Town Funk is a dance move that originated in Chicago. It involves funky and rhythmic movements of the body, often accompanied by footwork and arm gestures. The term is often used to refer to the dance move itself or to describe a lively and groovy dance performance in Chicago.

  • For instance, “The dancers at the party were getting down with the Chi-Town Funk.”
  • A person might say, “Let’s learn some new moves, like the Chi-Town Funk.”
  • In a discussion about Chicago’s dance scene, someone might mention, “The Chi-Town Funk brings a unique energy to the dance floor.”

25. The Chi-Town Boogie

The Chi-Town Boogie is a dance move that originated in Chicago. It involves boogieing and grooving to the beat, often with fast footwork and energetic arm movements. The term is often used to refer to the dance move itself or to describe a lively and spirited dance performance in Chicago.

  • For example, “The crowd went wild when the dancers started doing the Chi-Town Boogie.”
  • A person might say, “I love dancing the night away with the Chi-Town Boogie.”
  • In a conversation about Chicago’s dance culture, someone might mention, “The Chi-Town Boogie is a classic dance move in the city.”

26. The 708

Refers to the area code 708, which encompasses many suburbs surrounding Chicago. It is used to differentiate between the city and its surrounding suburban areas.

  • For example, someone might say, “I live in the 708, not Chicago itself.”
  • A person discussing their hometown might proudly state, “I grew up in the 708.”
  • In a conversation about different neighborhoods, someone might ask, “Do you prefer living in the city or the 708?”

27. The 847

Refers to the area code 847, which covers the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Similar to “The 708,” it is used to distinguish between the city and its surrounding suburban areas.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m from the 847, not Chicago proper.”
  • When discussing different areas to live in, someone might mention, “The 847 has some great schools and parks.”
  • In a conversation about commuting, someone might ask, “Do you commute from the 847 or live in the city?”

28. The 630

Refers to the area code 630, which covers the western suburbs of Chicago. Like “The 708” and “The 847,” it is used to differentiate between the city and its surrounding suburban areas.

  • For example, someone might say, “I grew up in the 630, not Chicago proper.”
  • When discussing different neighborhoods, someone might mention, “The 630 has a mix of residential and commercial areas.”
  • In a conversation about local events, someone might ask, “Are there any festivals happening in the 630 this weekend?”

29. Chitown

A common nickname for the city of Chicago. It is often used by locals and visitors alike as an informal way to refer to the city.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m headed to Chitown for the weekend.”
  • When discussing travel plans, someone might ask, “Have you ever been to Chitown?”
  • In a conversation about iconic cities, someone might mention, “Chitown is known for its deep-dish pizza and architecture.”

30. Second City

Another nickname for the city of Chicago. It is derived from the city’s historical role as the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City.

  • For example, someone might say, “I love living in the Second City.”
  • When discussing travel destinations, someone might recommend, “You have to visit the Second City.”
  • In a conversation about comedy, someone might mention, “Chicago is known for its vibrant Second City comedy scene.”

31. The East Side

This term refers to the eastern part of the city of Chicago. It is often used to describe neighborhoods located on the east side of the city.

  • For example, someone might say, “I live on the East Side of Chicago.”
  • A local might mention, “The East Side has some great restaurants and shopping.”
  • In a conversation about different areas of the city, someone might ask, “Have you ever been to the East Side?”

32. The Cubs

This slang term refers to the Chicago Cubs, a professional baseball team based in Chicago. It is often used to refer to the team or its players.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m a huge fan of the Cubs.”
  • A person discussing baseball might say, “The Cubs had a great season this year.”
  • In a conversation about sports, someone might ask, “Are you rooting for the Cubs in the playoffs?”

33. The White Sox

This slang term refers to the Chicago White Sox, a professional baseball team based in Chicago. It is often used to refer to the team or its players.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m going to the White Sox game tonight.”
  • A fan might mention, “The White Sox have a strong pitching staff this season.”
  • In a conversation about baseball rivalries, someone might ask, “Are you a fan of the Cubs or the White Sox?”

34. The Bulls

This slang term refers to the Chicago Bulls, a professional basketball team based in Chicago. It is often used to refer to the team or its players.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m going to watch the Bulls game tonight.”
  • A basketball fan might say, “The Bulls have a talented roster this year.”
  • In a conversation about sports, someone might ask, “Who’s your favorite player on the Bulls?”

35. Windy City

This term is a nickname for the city of Chicago. It is often used to refer to the city’s reputation for strong winds, but can also be used more generally to refer to the city itself.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m headed to the Windy City for the weekend.”
  • A tourist visiting Chicago might say, “I’ve always wanted to see the Windy City.”
  • In a conversation about travel destinations, someone might ask, “Have you ever been to the Windy City?”

36. The Bears

This refers to the professional football team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Bears are a member of the National Football League (NFL) and are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in the league.

  • For example, “Are you going to the Bears game this weekend?”
  • A fan might proudly say, “I’ve been a Bears fan my whole life.”
  • Someone discussing football might mention, “The Bears have a strong defense this season.”

37. The Blackhawks

This refers to the professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Blackhawks are a member of the National Hockey League (NHL) and have a rich history and passionate fanbase.

  • For instance, “Did you see the Blackhawks game last night?”
  • A fan might say, “I love going to Blackhawks games at the United Center.”
  • Someone discussing hockey might mention, “The Blackhawks have won multiple Stanley Cup championships.”