I'm a city girl through and through. By coincidence, all of my best friends are also born and raised city kids. I think this is due to the fact that there are certain things, rules, and ways of life we have just grown up understanding, and resonate with us, despite them never being discussed.
1. How public transportation works
When I was new to the grid system, I thought that the Grand Red Line would be really close to the Grand Blue Line, and so getting off at either one was acceptable. Of course, as I know now, that's not the case. But the point is, no one teaches someone how public transportation work, it's just pure trial and error by memorizing locations as you go.
2. Walking is always an option
When going out with co-workers recently, I described a restaurant as "two blocks away" — and it was. Well, it was two major streets away, I neglected to mention that we would have to cross the expressway. Normally, my Chicagoan friends would have understood me instantly. More importantly, because not a lot of us have or need cars, we're always down to walk to a location — and yes that includes in the winter. Sans polar vortex days, of course.
3. The best food places are usually holes in the wall
One of the best parts of being in the city is the multitude of available food options. Chicago, minus a few fast food places, doesn't have that many chain restaurants, and if they do, there's only one location (usually downtown, or near the suburbs).
4. The importance of diversity
This one is the easiest to take for granted when born and raised in a city. Not only will different neighborhoods have completely different attractions, food, and cultures, but more importantly, accepting the blend of these is one of the things you don't realize you have until you're in a place where it's not as prevalent.
5. How to navigate a crowd
Whether it consists of tourists, rush hour transit takers, concert goers, or just purely just the population. Even if big crowds aren't your thing, and you would go out of the way to avoid them, most people who grew up in a city just accept that it's a fact of life.
6. How street numbers and names connect
800 West? Halsted. Even if we can't pinpoint exact intersections to numbers, knowing the address will inform us of the general area where something is located — especially in relation to other places. While even knowing neighborhoods and areas of the city can help with this, I feel like this probably isn't the norm in a more residential-based area.
Whether that means street smarts, intuition, or otherwise. With more going on, it's normal to be more perceptive about surroundings, situations, and events.
8. That we wouldn't be anywhere else.
Every time I go to a smaller town or suburb to visit or relax, I end up planning a jam-packed day — to the best of my ability, given available options. We're used to a fast pace of life but wouldn't have it any other way.