10 Waukegan Stereotypes That Are Completely AccurateThis Chicago suburb may be closer to Wisconsin than the Loop, but that doesn't mean it wants ketchup on its hot dog.
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1. Waukegan Is A City In Transition
Source: Flickr user CheepshotIn the past, industrial sites lined the suburb's lakefront, but that has all changed. The city is redeveloping the area, removing industrial activities (other than the Midwest Generation power plant and North Shore wastewater treatment facilities). Five former industrial sites are being cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency, and transformed into residential and recreational space.
2. Waukeganites Are High Class
Source: Flickr user Ashley GorsonHome to a yacht club, art galleries, and an airport frequently visited by private planes (the Dalai Lama and Dick Cheney have both touched down here), Waukegan has a bit of a reputation for being a high-class destination.
3. Waukeganites All Love The Theater
Source: Flickr user DiesterheftAnd by "The Theater," we mean the Genesee Theatre, of course. The Genesee Theatre opened in 1927 and was the most lavish building in town (think terra cotta and pressed brick façade, a Spanish Renaissance style interior with a large chandelier, a hammered silver domed auditorium and marble from the Carrera quarries in Italy). The theatre closed in 1982 due to the rise of movie cineplexes and economic decline. In 1999, the City of Waukegan bought the building and spent nearly $23 million on renovations. It re-opened in 2004 as a live theater, with Bill Cosby performing sold out shows. Today the building continues to be an iconic landmark, with top performers, such as Bernadette Peters and The Second City, making routine stops.
4. Waukegan Is A Sailor-Loving City
Source: Flickr user Official U.S. Navy PageIn Waukegan, every week is Fleet Week. That's because the Naval Station Great Lakes is located just a couple of miles south of the suburb's borders. Each year, about 38,000 men and women complete requirements to become enlisted Navy Sailors at the Navy's boot camp. The station is also home to the Navy's technical training schools for surface warfare, with more than 13,000 students attending those training schools each year. In fact, since 1911, more than 3.5 million sailors have started their Navy careers there. So, when sailors are able to leave base or go for a night out, you may see them walking down the street dressed in their uniforms. If you can, do the right thing and buy them a drink.
5. Waukeganites Spend Lots Of Time At Festival
Source: Flickr user anjanettewSpending time outside and finding a reason to celebrate is popular in Waukegan. Perhaps it's the historic downtown or the lake breezes, but being outside and browsing art, watching a parade or dancing to music in the park just feels right. Some of the many special events include the ArtWauk, Fiestas Patrias Parade and Festival, HolidayWauk, the Monarch Festival, the Waukegan Air Show and the Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival.
6. They're All A Bunch Of Beach Bums
Source: Flickr user anjanettewLiving by a lake that looks big enough to be an ocean has many perks. And, thanks to the changing seasons in the great lakes region, that means a constantly changing shoreline. Summer is the time for a picnic, building a sand castle, splashing in the water and soaking up some sun. Fall is when everyone wants to stroll by and take in the contrast between the brightly colored trees lining the vast expanse of blue water. Winter transforms the shoreline into a scene from the arctic, complete with ice formations and mountains of snow. And, just because it's winter, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a nice swim. The city hosts an annual Polar Bear Plunge in January.
7. Waukeganites Adore Their Homegrown Celebrities
Source: Flickr user Insomina Cured HereComedian Jack Benny and author Ray Bradbury are both from Waukegan, which is fond of them in return. To commemorate their success, the city has named places after each. The Jack Benny Center for the Arts is home to the Waukegan Park District's Cultural Arts Division. The Ray Bradbury Park was dedicated in 1990, and contains locations described in his book "Dandelion Wine."
8. Waukeganites Are A Diverse Bunch
Source: Flickr user Justin HenryThe city is growing, thanks in part to people immigrating and choosing Waukegan as their new home. Just over 32 percent of the city's population was born outside the United States, and 40 percent of the residents speak Spanish.
9. Every Waukeganite Loves Hot Dogs
Source: Flickr user MichaelWell, not all hot dogs, but if it's a nice day, then residents of Waukegan will want to stop by the Dockside Dogs stand for a bite to eat while enjoying the view. There's nothing better than a hot dog, a bench and a lake stretching out as far as the eye can see.
10. Waukegan Is More Of A Wisconsin Town Than A Chicago Suburb
Source: Flickr user Monika ThorpeAlthough Waukegan is considered a suburb of Chicago, it's approximately 25 miles from the suburb's southern border to the northernmost reaches of Chicago. However, it's only about six miles from Waukegan's northern city limits to the Wisconsin border.