New to Chicago? 4 Essentials to Surviving a Chicago Winter

  |     |   Neighborhood Guide

Long gone are the warm and sticky days of Chicago summer. Fall is well underway, but you know what’s around the corner…Winter. And not just any winter, but a midwestern winter in the windy city. Before you panic over the impending doom that is the cold coming in from Lake Michigan this holiday season and that winter months bring, we have 4 essentials to remember in order to survive and thrive this winter in Chicago. 

Bundle Up! 

You are going to need a serious coat. Expect to spend anywhere from $100-$500 on a jacket, and make sure it is suitable for sub-zero temperatures. You’ll also need wool socks, gloves, and proper boots that have insulation to survive this winter wonderland. The key to staying warm is layers, because your body heat will get trapped within each one, and you’ll be able to remove layers once you're inside. Pro Tip: always make sure your first layer is tucked into your pants and socks. You won’t be winning any fashion awards, but you’ll be grateful when you don’t have frostbite! Great resources for winter weather are Amazon or the REI in Lincoln Park.

Pedway is the Way 

Did you know that Chicago has an underground system for pedestrians?  Built in 1951, the Pedway lies in the heart of the city and is a system of underground tunnels and overhead bridges links more than 40 blocks and over 50 buildings in the Central Business District. It links several Chicago restaurants, Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, and much more. It is safe, efficient and the best part for you is that there is direct access from The Aqua at Lakeshore! Here is a handy Pedway map.

Stock the House

There is nothing worse than getting home after a long day at work, unpeeling all your layers, and realizing you’re out of something simple like toilet paper. Stock up with all the essentials before the first big winter front. Water bottles, batteries, and enough food in case you get snowed in for a week (don’t forget food for your pets!). Also, keep lotion and lip balm in bulk in your house. They don't call it the windy city for nothing and your face and lips can become easily cracked. The Chicago summer might be humid, but the winter months can get extremely dry. Pro tip: Keep white wine vinegar stocked. It will help remove the salt stains on your boots and make them last longer!

Don’t get SAD

SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it’s the real deal around here. A lack of vitamin D from the sun can give you the winter blues. Milk, yogurt, eggs, beef liver, tuna, and cheese are good sources of the vitamin. Try and stay active by using all the fitness amenities that Aqua has to offer, as well as the pool and hot tub. Make friends with your neighbors, so you don’t have to go outside to stay social! 


Stay warm and positive, stocked up with goodies, and remember that you are apart of the lucky 2.7 million people that get to call this incredible city home! 


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