I have been a resident of the far South Suburbs for my entire life. Well, except for that four year stint in Cleveland for college (that is a topic for another day). While I may not be an expert about everything in the far south suburbs, I will say I know a lot about this area of Chicagoland and want it to not only survive, but thrive.
With that said, I would like to offer some advice to my fellow Chicagoland residents. There are just some things that aren't true about this area, and I want to dispel any rumors there are about making a visit South of I-80. Here is helpful list of things you shouldn't say to someone who is lucky enough to live in the far south suburbs.
1. "The South Suburbs are not really part of Chicagoland." While my zip code my not be Chicago proper, I am sure that North and West suburbanites don't have to defend themselves as being a part of Chicago, so why South Suburbanites? I wonder what Chicago would look like without the patronage, manpower, tuition, sales tax, and other things ALL suburban residents help to provide the fair city of Chicago.
2. "There's nothing to do in the South Suburbs." There is plenty to do in the South Suburbs! There are amazing restaurants, community events, wonderful places to shop, there are even fine arts events, museums, concerts, and live theater.
3. "It is so far!" I live in the very far south suburbs (South of I-80) to be exact and that is about 30 miles south of Chicago. I know people that commute farther to work on a daily basis between suburbs. On the Metra Rock Island or Metra Electric it is about 45 mins to an hour, and it can be less than an hour drive.
4. "I'm afraid I will get shot or mugged if I go there." Let's be realistic for a moment. I have lived in the far South Suburbs my entire life and nothing has ever happened to me. To be honest, the only time I came even close to being in an unsafe situation was in the city.
5. "There's no cultural diversity in the suburbs." The South Suburbs are one of the most diverse areas of Chicagoland. In Geoffrey Baer's documentary tour of the South Suburbs, he discusses how the South Suburbs thrive on cultural diversity.
If you don't believe me, I think it is time you pay a visit and see for yourself.
PS This post was thanks to the first ever ChicagoNow Blogapalooza. We were given a topic (Advice) and were given one hour to write. To see all the other participating posts CLICK HERE!
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