You know the saying: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. As travelers, we know this is true in any city we visit, including the Windy City. But even when we try to be aware and well-informed, we often end up breaking unspoken rules or even getting roped into activities the locals will actively avoid—and that’s just as true in Chicago as anywhere else, as evidenced by these 10 common tourist mistakes. Avoid these faux pas on your next trip to the Windy City if you want to blend right in.
10. Put Ketchup on Your Hot Dog
Many, many people put ketchup on their dogs, but in Chicago, this is considered a huge faux pas. It’s so irritating to locals that some places, like Gene and Jude’s hot dog stand, won’t even stock ketchup. The next-door McDonald’s will still sell you a packet or 2, but why not try something new? Try the city’s namesake hot dog. When you’re in Chicago, do as Chicagoans do: garnish your meal with a spear of dill pickle, tomato, mustard, relish and chopped white onion, and skip the ketchup. Even if some people consider ketchup a serving of veggies, you’re probably better off grabbing the fresh tomatoes anyway—and the locals will appreciate your efforts to respect their culinary traditions, even if you do think they’re a bit strange.