Good to Know: How to Survive a Chicago Winter

Read This or Risk Freezing a la Jack Nicholson at the end of “The Shining”


You may think you know winter, and you very well may have experienced one (or fifty) in your lifetime. But Chicago winters are not normal winters. They are the bitter cold, frozen snot, wind-burnt face, “should I go to the hospital?” kind of winters. Everyone in the city moves at half their normal speed, and if a blizzard hits, the entire city shuts down. If you’re well prepared, it can be just another part of Chicago life. It’s when you’re not prepared that things can get really ugly.

If you’re staying with us at Corporate Suites Network, it’s very possible that you’re a Chicago winter newbie. Let us make the process a lot less surprising with some insider tips. We’ll tell you the necessities for staying toasty warm here in the Arctic, and where the locals gear up to do so.

Make Sure You Have:

A Serious Coat, a Real Pair of Gloves and an Intense Hat – We’re not kidding here. That North Face fleece you brought from home won’t cut it. You need a jacket that makes you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, gloves so thick you can’t move your fingers and a dorky hat that ties around your chin. Warmth trumps fashion.

Eskimo Approved Winter Gear:
The North Face Women’s Avenue Parka
The North Face Unisex Hoser Hat
Mountain Hardware Men’s Kelvinator Down Jacket
Unisex Seirus Xtreme All Weather Gloves

Lots and Lots of Layers – Long underwear was invented for Chicago winters. If you commute to work via bus or rail, the walk and the wait seem excruciatingly long in the bitter cold. Men, save yourselves by putting thermal underwear under your suit pants. Women, wear tights on top of tights on top of tights. Lighter zip-up sweatshirts or fleece work well under your jacket, especially if it has a hood for extra warmth over your ears.


Bottoms Sure to Warm Your Bottom:
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Lightweight Bottoms
Patagonia Women’s Capilene Lightweight Bottoms

Rubber Boots For Safe Travel – They say your toes are the first to go, and no one likes a bruised tailbone from slipping on the ice. If you’re not up to wearing clunky, 50 lb winter boots wherever you go, rubber rain boots work just as well. The traction protects you from slipping while the rubber keeps you from tracking gross, dirty slush wherever you go.

Got Cold Feet? Try these:
Sperry Top Slider Pelican Rain boot

Men’s Hunter Original Rain boot

Where the Locals Gear Up:


Lincoln Park -1466 North Halsted Street

Get There From Presidential Towers – Walk to the Clinton ‘L’ stop and take the Pink Line train towards the Loop. Hop off at State/Lake and walk two minutes to the Lake Red Line. Take the Red Line towards Howard, jumping off at North/Clybourn. The REI Store is about a four minute walk. Travel Time: 30 minutes.

Schaumburg– 1209 East Golf Road

Get There From Lincoln Meadows – Head East on Lincoln Meadows Dr. towards Buttonwood Cir. Take the first right onto Schaumburg Rd. and then turn right onto North Meacham Rd. Turn left onto East Golf Road. Travel Time: 10 minutes

Lincoln Park -1800 N. Clybourn Avenue

Get There From Kingsbury Plaza: Walk to the Grand Red Line stop and take the train towards Howard. Hop off at North/Clybourn. Walk about 7 minutes to the Patagonia store. Travel Time: 25 minutes.

Get There From AMLI Evanston: Walk to the Main Purple Line station and take the train towards Howard. At the Howard ‘L’ station, transfer onto the Red Line going towards 95th. Hop off at North/Clybourn. Travel Time: 45 minutes.


Michigan Avenue – 55 East Grand Avenue

Get There From Columbus Plaza: Walk to the Lake Red Line stop and take the train towards Howard. Hop off at the Grand stop and walk about two minutes. Travel Time: 15 minutes.

Old Orchard – 4937 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, IL

Get There From Hawthorn Estates: Drive or take a taxi to the Arlington Heights Metra station. Take the UP-NW train towards Chicago OTC. Get off at the Irving Park station and walk to the Irving Park/Keystone stop. Take the 54A bus towards the Skokie Courthouse, hopping off at the Old Orchard Bloomingdale’s stop. Travel Time: 2 hours.

So you may have shoveled your car out once or twice, or slipped on a patch of ice outside the office, but none of that comes close to a Chicago winter. As long as you’re properly geared up and prepared for what’s to come, it will be a lot easier to take. If you’re not, well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.