I’ve heard a lot of talk from Chicagoans recently who, fed up with the bitter cold and severe weather, are threatening to move to warmer climates. As a Chicagoan who has been living in San Diego for the past six months, I understand this desire all too well—but I also recognize that there are some reasons why you shouldn’t totally hate Chicago winters. So, with the goal of taking some of the bite out of the current frost, here are a few reasons Chicago winters don’t suck.
1. Chicago is built for this stuff
Have you ever been in Dallas when the temperature dips down to 31 degrees? In coastal California when it rains? In Cincinnati when it snows? You’d think the world is ending. I went to college in Ohio, and every year for four years straight, we experienced a massive snowfall. And every year, the locals would scratch their heads, flummoxed by the less-than-convenient weather, and seem dazed at the suggestions of plowing the roads and salting the sidewalks. But Chicago can handle this stuff. Not only does the city have the natural advantage of straight roads with no inclines, but it’s also got an impressive fleet of snow plows, a subterranean pedway in the Loop, and local officials actually brag about their weather responsiveness in their campaigns. If any city in the United States is ready to tackle a huge winter storm and massive cold spell, it’s Chicago.
2. “Cold weather builds character!”
As a 12-year-old, I rolled my eyes at my dad when he said this to me while sending me off to the bus stop in pitch-darkness at 6:30am with nothing but a flashlight during a snowfall, and I still somewhat roll my eyes at the statement. But, there is some truth that cold weather does help weed out some less-than-favorable personalities. Nobody in their right mind chooses to live in Chicago unless they have a passion for their job, for their city, or for the people, and that passion creates a city full of interesting and enjoyable residents. In warmer weather climates, you encounter more frequently the type of people who are perfectly happy to do nothing all day long, as long as they can do it in a place where the weather’s nice. Those aren’t exactly the most exciting people to have dinner with, and are the reason that NFL teams like Chicago and Green Bay attract die-hard fans in all weather, whereas San Diego can’t even fill a stadium for their playoffs-bound team. (No joke. Several games this season have been blacked out because not enough tickets were sold.)
3. It’s Winter everywhere
Yes, Chicago is miserable in this stretch. But so is a good portion of the United States. Chicago is not alone in its suffering, no matter how much ignorant out-of-towners try to convince you otherwise. Sure, it might be a bit warmer in most cities on average, but that doesn’t mean that they’re experiencing tropical weather; cold is cold, whether it’s -10 degrees or 20 degrees. Even here in San Diego, where the temperatures are quite nice, I still leave work at 4:30 in near-darkness and wake up every morning to black skies. It’s not bad, but still not as good as a Chicago summer. Unless you’re willing to make a pretty drastic move, winter is a fact of life and the price we pay for the summer.
4. A Warm Christmas is no Christmas at all
It really doesn’t feel like the holidays without a dusting of snow on the ground and a nip in the air. New Year's felt more like some random Tuesday night that we happened to stay up late for. Also, some things I look forward to all year long, like hot cider and movie marathons, are only enjoyable in climates like Chicago's, so take advantage of that Netflix queue and camp out with a mug of coffee or cocoa.
Of course, these aren’t the only reasons that Chicago winters need to be tolerated, but they are a start. In the comments, let us know if there are any other reasons you are willing to put up with the harsh weather.
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