Whether you’re moving to Chicago for the first time or you’re a long-time resident, there’s one time of the year that everyone needs to prepare for, winter. Winter in Chicago is fierce. Temperatures drop into the negatives and are accompanied by snow storms, sleet, ice, and wind chills that will make you run for cover. In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded was -27° F. While the temperatures don’t always reach record lows, you still need to be prepared for whatever may happen.
As the New Year moves forward, the inevitable winter freeze starts to creep in. There are many cities that think they experience the worst winters around, but between the Lake Michigan breeze and the bustling city, skyscrapers create the perfect storm for a cold and dreary Windy City. Luckily, Chicago has a great public transportation system, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from winter altogether. If you own a vehicle, pet, or home in Chicago, the winters mean extra work, regulations, and care.
With the Chicago winter overnight parking ban starting up, residents and visitors need to take precaution unless they’re ready to face hefty fines and the dreaded tire-boot. The Chicago winter overnight parking ban went into place December 1st and has caused, as it does every year, residents to need new places to park. Regardless of the amount of snow on the ground – whether there’s nothing at all or 10ft – you will be fined if you’re caught parked in a spot that’s included in the ban. While department officials claim this is a precautionary measure, Chicago residents often see it as an annoyance.
So what are some other things you need to know if you want to survive winter in Chicago? Keep reading to find out.
Where to Park Your Car During Chicago Winters
With a parking ban in place, we’re left with a major question: where can I park my car without getting a ticket? The obvious answer is anywhere that is not clearly marked with a “do not park” sign. There will still be available street parking, just make sure to consult with this map to ensure you’re following all of the rules.
Additionally, there is another ban that is enforced only when there are more than 2 inches of snowfall. Be careful with this, as it includes a much wider area than the map above and has no restrictions on dates and times. Always be aware when parking in Chicago… the fines aren’t cheap! The ban doesn’t end until April 1st, so being prepared is the best way to stay ahead of any problems.
Other options include garage rentals, residential garages, or investing in a storage unit like the ones at The Lock Up Self Storage to ensure that your car is kept safe for the winter. If you decide to opt for a self storage unit, be prepared to make your way around the city on foot—it’s not difficult, you’ll just need to dress appropriately. If you’re not much of a walker, there’s always Uber and Lyft.
How to Dress for Winter in Chicago
We’ve already established that it gets cold in Chicago, but the wind of Chicago is a whole different ballgame. Wind-chill in Chicago is serious, which means you need to protect yourself. While the temperature gage may read 10° F, wind chill can easily drop that into the negatives. Be prepared by dressing appropriately and in layers. Remember, you can always take something off once you leave the house, but it’s much harder to add layers—unless you enjoy spending $80 on a cap in the heart of the city.
The first thing you absolutely can’t go without is a warm coat. Don’t skimp here. In the long run, it pays to invest in something that will actually work. Find something lightweight and, if it’s your thing, stylish. If you’ve just moved to Chicago, opt for a long coat that reaches your knees or further. Your legs often get overlooked, but length makes all the difference when you’re strolling the streets in a blizzard.
In addition to a good coat, layering is your best friend during the winter months in Chicago. The good thing about layers is that once you’re safe and sound indoors, you can adjust accordingly. Wear leggings under your pants if you have to walk outside for a long period of time and pull up those long knee-high socks. During a Bears football game last winter, people showed up in leggings, 3 pairs of socks, jeans, and snow pants to protect their bottom half alone. The effects of the cold on your body are no joke; so don’t be afraid to get a little puffy. On the top half, invest in some long underwear. Wear long sleeves on top of that, then a sweater, then pull on your coat. You’ll thank yourself later.
Next, find a good hat that won’t blow off your head during a windstorm. While you may want to preserve your hairstyle, remember that winter is about staying safe more than anything. If it’s below freezing and you’re not wearing a hat, your skin will pay the price when it warms up. Speaking of skin… cover up with a large scarf! You can easily find big, warm, and fuzzy scarves that keep you warm, but make sure you’re wearing it correctly. Instead of just draping it over your shoulders, wrap your scarf around your face to trap in the heat from your breath and cover your nose to avoid an annoying stuffy nose the following day.
Finally, make sure you protect your fingers and toes! Wear gloves or mittens, whichever you prefer, and a good pair of boots to substantially cover your fingers and toes. Frostbite can happen quickly and will leave you wishing you had bundled up more.
Once spring hits, don’t worry. You can easily store all of your bulky winter clothes in a self storage unit like the ones at The Lock Up Self Storage. With a wide variety of sizes and options available, you’ll be able to de-clutter your home without breaking the bank.
It’s even more important to make sure you’re bundled up if you need to take your pets out for daily walks.
Tips for Chicago Dog Owners in the Winter
While your pup may look irresistible with a fresh haircut, keep in mind that their fur is their winter coat. Instead of shaving away their natural layer of protection, think of the winter months as their “No Shave November.” Keep their hair long and if you are going to throw on a sweater, find one that fits above their fur. However, don’t neglect grooming altogether. Extremely long and raggedy fur is the perfect place for icicles and clumps of snow to accumulate. Giving them a small trim won’t take away from their ability to warm themselves. If you want to go above and beyond, increase their fatty acid intake to help keep their scalps moisturized and healthy and find a moisturizing shampoo.
When you take your dog out for walks, make sure you keep an eye on their paws. People often think that their feet are only hypersensitive to extreme heat, but the same applies in extreme cold. Make sure watch out for any signs of irritation or infection to avoid costly vet visits and discomfort for your furry friend. Keep walks short to start and gradually lengthen them according to your dog’s stamina and comfort levels.
Important Information About Snow Removal in Chicago
Finally, since Chicago is filled with rules and regulations, we wanted to add an important bit of information about the snow removal throughout the city. Before you hire someone to shovel your sidewalk or plow your driveway – if you have one – check to see what the local laws are. A lot of public properties require that the landlord pays for snow removal, so make sure you know your properties rules before you invest your own money. If you do need to do the heavy lifting yourself, you can always store your snow removal equipment in your self storage unit during the warmer months.
After your first year of living in the city, surviving winter in Chicago will become second nature to you. You’ll start to acquire more winter toys, clothing, and shoes—which can take a toll on your living space. Luckily, The Lock Up Self Storage offers climate controlled self storage units for every budget. Additionally, all of our units are protected by 24/7 video monitoring, perimeter alarms, and individually coded access pads to make sure that your things are protected with the best security measures possible. If you’re interested in browsing our available units, head over to https://www.thelockup.com/ today or feel free to call us at our location specific phone numbers found on our website to speak with a customer service agent.