Chicago Semantics to Prepare for SES Chicago

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Aaron Friedman
Aaron Friedman
Chicago Semantics to Prepare for SES Chicago

SES Chicago is upon us, and it should prove to be a great event. Besides for what looks like a promising agenda, the location, Chicago, is top notch. True, I am somewhat biased since I live here, but most everyone I speak with says positive things about it (take my word on that). I have heard, “It’s a clean and less busy NY,” “Chicago’s got a nice pace of life,” “Downtown is spread out nicely”—the list goes on.

But Chicago is not all fun and games. In fact, it can be a pretty confusing place sometimes, and things aren’t always as they seem. I thought, I would compile a quick list of possible confusions and clear up our little semantic problem to help you prepare for SES and navigate the city while you are here.

Tourist Spots

Chicago is home to one of the largest towers in the world known as the Sears Tower.

Pardon me, the Willis Tower. This gigantic tower however was not always known as Willis. There was a point in time where it was called the Sears Tower. I am guessing 99 percent of people reading this still refer to it as such. Well in Chicago, we are with you. People will generally know what you are talking about regardless, but keep that in mind.

And while you are here, stop by it and see if you can handle standing on the sky deck 103 stories high.

Address: 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606


A common nickname for Chicago is the Windy City, but let me clear this up once and for all. That nickname has nothing to do with the weather. It came about because it was said in the late 19th century that the politicians here are full of hot air (or wind, hence the name). Its true for those that might call me out on this that there was possibly another reference to the lake effect we have here, which is cause for the rapid change in weather, but believe what you want.

Just know this, I suggest packing an extra sweatshirt, just in case. It can get pretty chilly here.

The Chicago Fire

Go to Google and type in Chicago Fire.

One can only pray that the results are of the historical event which involved Mrs. O’Leary’s cow which nearly ravaged the city. But Chicago also has a Soccer Team known as the Chicago Fire, and there is a new show on TV called Chicago Fire. So, this can get a little confusing.

Here’s a little known fact about the infamous Chicago Fire: The fire was a huge time of innovation for the city, which began to rebuild itself immediately after. Chicago is the home of many different startups including Groupon, Accelerate Labs, and 1871.

Chicago’s Famous Food and Beverages

Here in Chicago, we have lots of fantastic restaurants. Chicago is known for the hotdogs, for the deep-dish pizza, among other tasty food. But a word of caution to anyone who ventures out to one of our fine establishments, wherever you may be from … we say Pop not Soda.

Networking over Drinks

And while we are on the topic of food and beverages, historically at conferences, attendees like to go out for drinks after the sessions. We have some great saloons in the river north area which is just over the river. Yes, you heard me right, Saloons. In Chicago we call our Bars Saloons or Watering Holes, but under no circumstances will anyone here know what you are talking about if you call it a bar.

OK, of course this last one is not true, at all. What do you think this is, the Wild West? We are civilized here, but we do have some great places to grab drinks and network with other conference attendees. Just over the river (in the river north section) there are some great pubs. But I hear The Bar at 151 in the Hyatt is pretty happening.

Now you Know the Lingo

I know there will be lots of talk about semantics at SES. While you are here, have fun and enjoy the conference. Hopefully, these tips will help you navigate through Chicago semantics. On behalf of Chicago and SES, welcome and have a great time! And don’t forget to say hello. 🙂
Image credits
Gary coleman–
Pop Vs. Soda Map

Aaron Friedman

Aaron Friedman


Aaron Friedman is the SEO Manager at Spark - a full service media agency part of Starcom MediaVest Group. He ... [Read full bio]