Chicagoans share tips for newcomers experiencing their first Chicago winter

Chicago was greeted with 70-degree weather this weekend, giving many hope that fall still has some life. However, with temperatures dropping back into the 50s, it may be time to begin winter preparations. 

With 39.99% of DePaul students from out of state, and 0.16% from outside the country, it is likely that many with their first taste of the Midwest. With DePaul having students from all over the globe, Chicagoans shared their winter survival tips and essentials for those preparing for their first winter in the city.

Danny Owen, 40, from Chicago’s South Side, recommends anyone who is about to experience their first Chicago winter to go shopping as soon as possible.

Buy a coat, a bunch of thermals, boots, gloves, beanies or anything else that will keep you warm and wrapped up,” Owen said. 

According to the National Weather Service, during the winter, average daily highs in the Chicagoland area range from 30 to 38 degrees, with an annual snowfall of 37 inches. While many long-time Midwesterners may be accustomed to it, temperatures still drop to extremely low levels.

“Don’t try to be the cool kid by throwing on a sweatshirt and thinking you’ll be fine,” Owen said. “It gets cold out here, so wear a coat.”

Chicagoans are used to harsh winters with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, but they are also used to the city’s weather being unpredictable.

“Be prepared to never be prepared for what any day in Chicago has in store for you, especially in the winter,” said Catherine Vasquez, 37, of Bucktown.

The unpredictability of Chicago’s weather is often attributed to Lake Michigan, the city’s next-door neighbor. Lake Michigan extends across the entire northern region of Illinois, creating its own microclimate and causing temperature fluctuations throughout the city.

“I was born and raised in Chicago, and winter in Chicago is unpredictable,” Vasquez said. “Being outside in the cold can be extremely painful here, but then on other days, it will be 55 degrees and sunny, so you just never know what to expect.”

Even if you have never experienced a winter in the Midwest or have yet to buy a winter wardrobe, it does not mean you won’t be able to enjoy the winter.

Jason Hopper, 45, of North Side Chicago, believes that if you have a positive attitude toward the weather, it will be bearable and enjoyable.

“Don’t be afraid to do things outside in the winter; you just need to dress according to the boss man [Chicago],” Hopper said. 

Weather forecasts play an important role in people’s lives. They help them decide what to wear, when to do something and even whether or not to leave their homes.

“Get ready to be cold, but don’t worry, you can be cold in style,” Hopper said.