Chicago is a city of many charms: amazing food, great jazz, and lively nightlife. Unfortunately, challenging and often bitter cold is the standard for winter in Chicago.
As the holiday season approaches, many visitors and residents of Chicago are looking to efficiently prepare for the cold weather, but don’t know where to start.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to help you prepare for winter in Chicago.
1. Invest in Layers
If you’re visiting Chicago this year for the holidays or a vacation, you might find yourself blind-sided by just how cold the Windy City can get.
By the time late November and early December rolls around, you’re looking at an average daily temperature of freezing or below; this isn’t counting the days when the temperature will dip down closer to the average low which, for Chicago in December, hovers somewhere around 19 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
When packing for your trip to Chicago, it’s important to bring layers, preferably insulating clothing like sweaters, jackets and coats, especially if you’re anticipating spending time outside or strolling around the downtown area at night when temperatures are at their lowest.
If you’re coming from a place with a warmer climate and aren’t necessarily prepared for these kinds of freezing temperatures, perhaps invest in a couple of thermal, long sleeved shirts and a sturdy insulated jacket before you go. Neither of these purchases need to be extravagant, but you want to ensure that you’ve invested in the layer-able clothing needed to enjoy your trip to Chicago and not be stuck inside all day due to the freezing temps.
2. Find Indoor Activities
Unfortunately, there are going to be times when the weather outside is simply too frightful and staying inside is really the only option. Chicago, luckily, has tons of amazing indoor attractions, museums, and activities to help keep you entertained, regardless of the temperature.
Some of our favorite indoor destinations in the Windy City include:
- The Art Institute of Chicago—Located right next to Millennium Park, just a few blocks from the iconic Chicago “bean,” this museum features extensive exhibitions including Greek, Roman, and Byzantine art, arms and armors from the medieval ages, and much, much more. This is the perfect place to spend a day learning and staying warm at the same time.
- Skydeck Chicago—Located on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower—the tallest building in the Western hemisphere—the Skydeck allows daring visitors to view the city from an entirely plexiglass box—including the floor! This is an experience you won’t forget, and you’ll stay toasty the entire time.
- Shedd Aquarium—With over 8,000 aquatic animals and wild reef, Great Lakes, and Amazon exhibits, the Shedd Aquarium is sure to have something to entertain everyone. Plus, you can touch stingrays or get a behind-the-scenes tour as part of the many experiences offered at the aquarium. With several dining options and play areas for kids, you can fill an entire day with a visit to the aquarium.
- Frederick C. Robie House—Tour one of the most famous houses designed by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright here in Chicago. The tour does include some time outside, but is primarily of the interior of the house. You can also visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s own home, or one of the many other buildings he designed in the Chicago area, for a warm and educational activity.
3. Plan for Winter Transportation
Another concern you’ll likely have during your trip to the Windy City is how to get around safely and easily. You shouldn’t be relegated to places within walking distance of your hotel or lodgings; you should be able to explore freely and safely, with no worry over the condition of the roads or the abilities of the person responsible for driving you.
If you are unfamiliar with Chicago or aren’t used to driving in icy conditions, finding an alternate method of transportation will probably be beneficial to you.
Among the most reliable and safe methods for transportation during your trip to the Windy City is Chicago car service. Not only will you get the services of a professional chauffeur, you’ll have the knowledge of a local expert who is familiar with the street patterns and most dangerous areas, helping you navigate safely and easily, no matter the weather.
Make sure your trip to Chicago is as pleasant as possible by preparing for the biting cold this winter. Car service, great indoor activities, and preparing with the right clothing are easy ways to create the best possible winter trip to the Windy City.