Surviving Chicago Winters

Yesterday Chicago saw it's fifth largest blizzard hit the city, dumping 18 inches across the Chicago area.  The Windy City is no stranger to long, cold, snowy winters though.  2014 saw record low temperatures, and in 2011, the historical "Snowpocalypse" paralyzed the city with over 20 inches of snow and winds reaching 60mph. 

The Arizona Office of Tourism recently launched a $200,000 marketing campaign reminding Chicago residents they can "warm up in AZ".  But if a trip or relocating to Arizona isn't in your plans, reset assured their are ways to survive Winter in Chicago.  You'll find the city really comes together as a community during these times... strangers helping others dig their car out, neighbors shoveling sidewalks for others, etc.  It can actually be a rewarding and fun experience to power through a blizzard here with your friends, family, and neighbors.  With that said, here are some tips for making Winter in Chicago more manageable.  

1.  Have multiple options of layers.  It could be 35 one day and -20 the next.  Be prepared by having a variety of layers.  Make sure you have a jacket that can cut through the wind as wind chills here can be extreme.  

2.  Use the Pedway.  Perhaps the city's most underrated asset is the Pedway system, a series of tunnels, concourses, and bridges connecting office buildings, retail stores, train stations, and hotels throughout the city center.  If you're lucky enough to work or live near the Pedway, use it to avoid inclement weather.

3.  Use public transportation.  If there's snow on the streets, avoid driving by taking the CTA/Metra.  Chicago traffic is bad enough, throw a few inches of snow on the ground and you have yourself a nightmare.  

4.  If possible, just stay home.  Some days, the windchill and snow can be downright dangerous.  If you don't have to leave your house, just stay home.

5.  Get familiar with winter/snow parking restrictions.   If you have a car and park it on the street, make sure you're familiar with Chicago's Overnight Winter Parking Ban, where overnight parking is prohibited from 3am - 7am on 107 miles of streets (regardless of snow) from December 1st until April 1st.  A separate snow related parking ban also exists for an additional 500 miles of main streets, which is activated after there are two inches or more of snow on the street, no matter the time of day or the calendar date.  More information can be found here.