10 Things I Actually Like About Chicago Winter
We’re enduring the doldrums of winter around here, and I’ve done my fair share of whimpering and pouting about it. Today, I thought I’d take a break from all that. Let’s turn those frowns upside down and celebrate the few reasons why it’s great to live in the real-life version of Frozen.
10. Ice skating outside ~ On a (relatively) warm and bright sunny day, I absolutely love ice skating outdoors. The refreshing, family-friendly activity makes my day, especially when the sun reflects off the snow and makes everything so bright white.
9. Fleece is stylish ~ From fleece tights to shearling inserts, “style” and “cozy” are definitely in bed together. Myriad fashion retailers have created ways to be warm and cozy in fleece without looking entirely frumpy, and I’m loving every bit of it.
8. Swanky restaurant reservations are for everyone ~ I live right in the middle of “tourist town” Chicago. It also happens to be home to a good portion of the hottest and swankiest restaurants in the city. In the summer, reservations at many of these spots are hard to come by. But when the winter chill sets in, no one is hungry enough to trudge through snow in heels and skimpy dresses for a high end taco and margarita. That means I can step out my front door and grab a table with limited advance notice! I shared about some of these swanky spots in my post about 13 Romantic Restaurants in Chicago.
7. Life slows down a bit ~ Everyone seems to take a hint from the wildlife and hibernate a bit in the winter. The cold weather keeps everyone inside, sometimes out of necessity I suppose when the wind chill hits twenty degrees below zero. I don’t mind though that weekend evenings fill up with movie nights on our couch or baking with T in our kitchen. It’s a nice break from the busy social schedules that seem to draw us all in during the summer. In other words, being “lame” is perfectly socially acceptable.
6. Working from home – Sometimes it’s so cold we all get to work from home. It may hamper the actual work we get done when the boys aren’t at daycare, but it’s still kind of nice. Who doesn’t love a “snow day” right?
5. The city smells better – Let’s just call a spade a spade. Chicago isn’t New York with its trash covered curbs (sorry NY but it’s true). We learned from their mistake and built alleys to house all the garbage. But everything about a busy, crowded city gets smellier when it festers in the hot summer sun. Everyone sweats more, the garbage roasts all day and the “L” crowds get a little stinky. Winter cold keeps all that at bay. It’s kind of like your lunch; it always smells and tastes better if it sits in the fridge for a few hours instead of on your window sill in the morning sun…
4. Layering – I love the versatility and depth it brings to style. I can create so many interesting outfits and each piece becomes easier to remix when I can layer up. Summer heat definitely won’t be calling for scarves, cardigans and boot socks.
3. Nearly tourist-free sidewalks – Like I mentioned previously, we live right in the center of the plethora of hotels and tourist attractions and just a few blocks from Michigan Ave. We’ve definitely become accustomed to slow-walking, often lost meanderers perusing the sidewalks with chins held high admiring all the tall buildings. Frequently, I stop to offer directions or a restaurant recommendation. Tourists stand out like flashing neon lights (just as I’m sure I do in any city I visit). Although I don’t entirely mind them, it is really nice in winter to walk down the sidewalk at a good clip not having to weave my stroller through heaping crowds or sneak between a family of five walking in a straight line across the entire sidewalk. (P.S. If this is your family, please stop taking up the entire width of the sidewalk. This city has too many people sharing that small space for that to fly.)
2. No outdoor restaurant seating – On a similar sidewalk note, Chicagoans LOVE to eat al fresco. Given the limited portion of the year we can do this, I’m entirely on board. But that means our already crowded small sidewalks fill quickly with tables and chairs in front of each and every restaurant. Not only do I compete for space with meandering tourists but also hungry diners. I have far more spacious sidewalks when snow and cold keep all the yuppies seated at indoor tables. (Don’t worry, I’m probably considered a yuppie. So yuppies, don’t get your panties all up in a bunch. In my neighborhood, we’re certainly the largest contingent chowing down at any of the trendy dinner digs. And if it’s brunch time, let’s be honest. That’s pretty much all yuppies no matter the locale.)
1. Serene quiet ~ Especially on really cold days, the sounds of the city hush and everything gets so much quieter. Quiet days in the city are few and far between. But when we get them, I love it! It’s a rare day when Millenium Park is filled with plenty of sun and not a fanny-pack flaunting amateur photographer to be found.