Chicagoans don’t hibernate in the winter. The city streets are bustling even when they’re covered in snow. Theatre seasons are in full swing, the Chicago Bears are on the field, and there’s live music somewhere nearly every night. If you’re on a winter trip to the Windy City, you may be wondering how you’ll manage to stay warm in freezing temperatures. Our city experts have a few tips to help you stay toasty on your Chicago vacay.
Change the Temperature: Only Mother Nature can affect the weather outside. However, if you select a boutique hotel with individual temperature controls such as The Talbott Hotel in the Gold Coast District, you can turn up the heat anytime you’re indoors. Book a room and increase the mercury every time you feel a little frozen. Hot waterfall showers and plush, comfy robes will also help you stay warm.
Bundle Up: Don’t forget warm clothes when you pack for a Chicago vacation. Long sleeves and a wool, down or padded jacket are a must. Pack hats, gloves and scarves for extra weather protection, and consider wearing thermals or leggings under jeans if you’re extra sensitive to frosty temps.
Keep Your Eye on the Coffee: Hot drinks like coffee, tea or hot chocolate will help you feel warmer – at least in the moment. Caffeine increases your metabolism, causing feelings of warmth that permeate from your core to the tips of your fingers. So, keep an eye out for the nearest coffee shop when you head out on the town (there are four Starbucks locations in easy walking distance of The Talbott Hotel, plus smaller indie chains like Argo Tea Café and the brand new Joe & The Juice, located just steps away from the lobby).
Find Indoor Adventure: The Windy City is a cultural wonderland, with numerous nationally recognized museums and indoor attractions. See heavenly bodies by Rodin this winter at the Art Institute of Chicago (rated the #1 museum in the world by TripAdvisor) or check out the dinosaurs and mummies roaming around The Field Museum. Though most of the garden is shuttered in the winter, visitors can stay warm under the glass dome at Garfield Park. The conservatory is a 2-acre walkthrough with hundreds of plant species that grow and bloom throughout the seasons.
Get Creative: Chicago natives aren’t fazed by single digit temperatures. If you hail from warmer climes, visit your local outdoor store for accessories and supplies that will keep your internal fires blazing. Clever gadgets range from microwaveable heat socks to Zippo hand warmers and texting gloves (so you don’t have to remove them to take a selfie at Navy Pier). For a cheap fix, “Hot Hands” chemical hand warmer packets are available for just a few bucks at most big-box stores.