Chicago, IL

12 of Chicago's strangest laws

Ash Jurberg
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Every city in the USA seems to have some truly weird and wonderful laws, and Chicago is no different. I am a travel writer and always like to look at the odd parts of cities I visit across the country. So rather than research Chicago's best restaurants (which I can't afford) or Chicago's best bars (which I would spend way too much time in) before I visited Chicago, I decided to look at the strangest laws you have in place. And believe me, there are plenty.

So, join me as we take a quick look at twelve truly bizarre Chicago laws.

1. It's illegal to drive a pick-up truck adjacent to Lake Shore Drive. The original city ordinance was too banned certain activities near the lakefront, and this included commercial vehicles. This means you can't drive your truck, even if it isn't commercial, near Lake Shore Drive.

2. It's against the law to eat in a building that is on fire in Chicago. So you have two options- throw away your food or put out that fire! Quite why someone would think of eating a Chicago deep-dish pizza in a burning building is beyond belief.

3. Does your dog enjoy an alcoholic beverage? Better not offer it any whiskey, as giving dogs whiskey is illegal in Chicago. I guess the poor dogs have to stick to beer.

4. Speaking of dogs- it is illegal to bring a French poodle to the Chicago opera. But, having been to the opera once, poodles can consider themselves lucky!

5. For those who really like ice skating, don't even consider doing it in summer. It's illegal to ice skate between June and August in Chicago. Trying to ice skate in the middle of a hot summer would literally be like walking on water.

6. If you like to fish, here are two rules you need to know before fishing in Chicago. Firstly it is illegal to fish in pajamas. Secondly, it is unlawful to fish when sitting on a giraffe's neck. I have to ask, has anyone genuinely attempted to do this before. It seems like it would be a lot of work and effort, and I'm not sure it would actually help you to catch more fish.

7. All tired out after some energetic dancing at a nightclub? Well, don't even think about resting on the dancefloor. It is illegal to take a nap on a Chicago dancefloor. And also not very comfortable.

8. It is legal for anyone under 17 to protest naked in front of City Hall. But I guess once you hit 18- hey, take your gear off and protest. Perhaps you can protest at being forced to wait until you are 18 to protest naked.

9. It is illegal to fly a kite within the Chicago city limits. I feel sorry for all the kite enthusiasts who excitedly flock to the Windy City and then find out they cannot fly their kites.

10. One law that is particular to Chicago's Pullman area is that it is illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb. No mention of whether it is OK to stand and drink out of the bucket.

11. If you are under 21, there is a way to drink legally. Anyone enrolled in a culinary program can legally drink alcohol. I feel this law was lobbied for by the Culinary Association who wanted more people enrolled in their programs.

12. It is illegal to use a slingshot unless you are a police officer.

So, how many of these laws have you broken without even knowing it? I am sure am glad that I left my pet giraffe at home when I went fishing!

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