Preparing For Your First Chicago Winter

DePaul has a significant amount of out-of-state students, which means many freshmen are forced to acclimate to winter weather they may not be used to. Many of my friends from California, Louisiana, Texas, and a range of other southern states came to college having never lived in a place where it snowed in the winter, but they have quickly become familiar with the ins and outs of Chicago’s winters. Since I came to college from another Midwest state, I consider myself an expert on handling freezing, below-zero temperatures.  In order to stay warm, here are some tips for first timers:

  1. You can never have too many layers. In the middle of winter, it will most definitely be cold outside, but it’s likely that most of your classrooms will be warm. Instead of dressing lightly, I prefer to dress myself in layers that are easy to take on and off in order to adapt to changing temperatures in a variety of environments. It’s always better to have an extra layer you can easily slip off than to wish you had another.
  2. Blanket scarves are a game-changer. The term ‘Windy City’ is no joke. Covering your face and neck completely with a huge oversized scarf is the only way to protect yourself without having to buy a ski mask or balaclava.
  3. Invest in a quality winter coat and a pair of boots that will get you through the snow and slush every day. This is not an area you want to fall short in. A coat that keeps you warm while you’re waiting for the train in the morning and boots that keep your feet dry really is important, and you’ll be wishing for both if you don’t have them.
  4. Take the long way if it means you can cut through a warm building. Even if I’m running late in the winter, chances are I’d rather go through the library on my way to class in order to escape the outside air. Taking the route in which you’re inside for the most amount of time is always the way to go.

While winter in Chicago can seem daunting, being prepared goes a long way. It may be freezing cold and windy, but winter is also one of the prettiest times of year because of the Christmas decorations that fill the Magnificent Mile and the rest of the city. As the temperature continues to drop, there are still plenty of parades and holiday markets to look forward to!