A pilgrimage to the 'Chicago Rat Hole': A look at Roscoe Village's viral attraction

Chicago has plenty of tourist attractions: the Bean, the Riverwalk, the Picasso.

But have you ever been to the rat hole?

Thanks to a local artist and comedian, the ‘Chicago Rat Hole’ has turned into a social media phenomenon. 

"I'm gonna be the ‘Chicago Rat Hole’ guy and that's just gonna be another thing I'll have to live with," said Winslow Dumaine. "There's worse things to be."

Dumaine was walking in the 1900 block of West Roscoe Street last week when he stumbled across the holy grail of sidewalk rodentia — the imprint of a rat pressed into the concrete. 

"What I found was very much like Looney Tunes, I guess. Just a full rat splat in the wet pavement," said Dumaine. "I just busted out laughing when I saw it."

Dumaine snapped a picture with his cellphone and put it on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Above the picture he wrote, "Had to make a pilgrimage to the Chicago rat hole."

In just two days, it had five million views. 

"Rat hole just blew up. It was it's time to shine," said Dumaine. "It's very universal. Everywhere got rats. Everywhere got mistakes. And this one is a rat making a pretty profound mistake."

The rat hole has suddenly become the hottest tourist attraction in Chicago, with people coming day and night to memorialize the dent in the cement. 

Kayla Lopez took a break from work to make what she called a "pilgrimage" to the rat hole. 

"My friend told me about it," said Lopez.

"I couldn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes," said a man who greeted Dumaine like Indiana Jones, telling him, "Thank you for your service."

Others have posted their rat hole visits online, leaving coins, flowers and even a tiny tombstone.

But there is a growing debate about the rat hole. 

Is it the imprint of a rat? Or could it be a squirrel? 

Neighbor Cindy Nelson said the imprint has been on the sidewalk for the 20 years she has lived on the block. And she is convinced it's a squirrel that fell out of a tall tree that used to grow here. 

"Everyone who's been here this long says it's a squirrel," said Nelson. "I didn't see it personally, but I don't believe a rat hops in the air and belly flops straight down."

The ‘Chicago Rat Hole' has changed Dumaine's life for the better. 

The social media explosion has led people from all over the world to his website, and allowed him to sell enough of his art to pay the rent. 

"Chicago's the best city in the world, man," said Dumaine. "It's the only place where a rat hole will pay your rent."