Winter in Chicago is A LOT different than Texas, and I’ve never been to Texas. As everyone will tell you, dress in many layers when it’s cold outside. Where-a-bouts in Chicago are you going to, and when do you plan to arrive?
Thanks. I’ve always wanted to move there for some reason – been a few years since I posted on the dope regularly (life got in the way as it does) – seems strange now, but I was sitting here trying to make plans and figure things out and
I thought all the Chicago stuff I’d read here over the years. .
I grew up in Texas and live in Chicago. It’s not so bad. Snow does indeed have to be shoveled sometimes. If it starts snowing hard, give the road crews a chance to clear the road before driving anywhere if at all possible.
Chicagoan here. Get yourself a REALLY serious winter coat and insulated, waterproof boots. Layering is all well and good, but sometimes you just need to encase yourself from head to toe in down and/or Thinsulate. Let us know if you need winter gear recs.
Thanks. I bought the warmest coat I could find so far, and it’s too warm to wear down here, but probably won’t be when I get there.
I remember flying in to North Dakota for Xmas with Mrs Bdgr’s family. I stepped off the plane wearing my leather motorcycle jacket which I had found and zipped in the thinsulate liner for. My wife’s aunt asked me where my coat was – I told her I was wearing it. Then the doors opened to the airport and I couldn’t breathe. We went coat shopping.
Still finding a suitable coat in 5xlt may be a challenge. Most humans don’t come in that size, and so most coats don’t either.
The boot thing I need to work on . I’m guessing my crocs aren’t gonna cut it.
Nope, Crocs aren’t gonna cut it! I hear good things about Sorel boots, and LL Bean makes some good stuff, too. Columbia, North Face, you get the picture. I am not sure who makes hardcore winter weight 5XLT coats, though…
Oak Park and Forest Park are close-in suburbs – as you’ve likely seen if you’ve looked at maps, Oak Park is immediately west of the western border of Chicago, and Forest Park is the next suburb to the west.
We lived in Oak Park when we first got married, 25+ years ago. It’s a bit eclectic, with some very large, nice homes, and a little bit of a liberal vibe. The northern end of Oak Park is a bit more upscale. Forest Park has some of the same feel, though it’s got a lot more bars (because Oak Park long had ordinances limiting bars).
You’ll have a couple of commuting options, if you don’t want to drive into the city for work: you can take the L (essentially, the subway, though it mostly runs above ground), or you can take the Metra Union Pacific West line (more of a traditional commuter train). Metra is considerably nicer, but it also has a more limited schedule.
Another vote for good winter gear, especially as you aren’t used to Midwestern winters. We’ve had a few dustings of snow so far, but as @Folly noted, November was very mild. January is typically the coldest month, and you can expect stretches where the air temp is below zero, and the wind chill is lower still.
Columbia is what I’ve got. It’s a down coat, with a removeable fleece liner that doubles as a fleece jacket. Seems thinner than the monster coat I got in ND, but I found one (and only one) in that size and bought it.
I’ll look into boots next. Only ones I own are australian redbacks. Not gonna cut it.
Thanks for the info. Both the Blue line and the Green line have stops near my work – I plan to drive as little as possible. One of the things I’m looking forward too – Fort Worth doesn’t have much of a transit system.
This should seem like obvious advice, but a lot of people coming here for the first time don’t seem to understand the importance. Live within 6 blocks of an L stop if you plan to have any kind of a commute. It will be more expensive…you’ll think it’s unreasonably so coming from Texas…it’s worth it. The #1 thing that makes people absolutely miserable is sitting in traffic, paying through the nose for parking and/or standing at a bus stop at the ass crack of dawn. If you have an office downtown, driving should not even be something you consider doing.
Also, I disagree on the “heaviest coat you can find” advice. It gets super cold and windy here, no doubt, but in the real world you’re going to be going in and out of places constantly. Walking from your door to public transit, super cold…getting on a crowded L train or bus, super hot…getting off and walking to a store/work, super cold…rinse repeat. Also, there can be pretty extreme temperature swings from 6:30AM and 3:00PM in the winter. The point, layering is key. You need to be able to adjust. When you’re in that store, you’ll want something light enough to unzip a layer or two and not be totally miserable and bumping into everything. You don’t want to be walking around carrying the equivalent of a sleeping bag indoors.
And while it will be balls cold for say 45 days in the middle of Jan-Feb, it’ll be just annoyingly chilly for another 120 days on either side of that. You probably don’t want to own 4 coats of varying thickness for the transition. Get some layers, ideally a nice long sleeve fleece or mid-layer with a high collar that can basically be your main warmth and then a good outer shell that can stand up to the wind when you’re exposed.
Similarly, a great hat and gloves (I hate scarves, but people tell me it helps too) can go a long ways to turning a not-quite-warm-enough coat into a really solid outfit. Plus they are easy to get on/off when you’re coming and going. This is not the time to rely on a cheap $15 item with a team logo on it, get the real stuff at a real outdoor store.
You’ll find that many towns along the train lines have cute main streets that follow or are near the tracks, with restaurants and bars and shops and stuff. Away from that, Chicago 'burbs tend toward typical suburbia - undifferentiated bedroom communities with strip malls and gas stations and little culture except in patches. I grew up in the NW 'burbs and fled 31 years ago. Closer in Chicago, the Loop and north side etc are the antidote to the suburbs.
Not so obvious distinction there, the L and the Metra systems aren’t really well connected. @squeegee is referring to the Metra stops that run through many of the suburban towns on the west, northwest and north sides (the south and southwest sides have some too, but the train lines aren’t as commuter centeric there). If you know your commute will be point to point, leave home, hit the office, head home and you’re not really planning to got out in the many downtown neighborhoods, the Metra-aligned villages can be pretty terrific. But if you want to do the city thing, there’s a big difference between the L system and the Metra systems.
Oak Park is a great town. I play a lot of music there. I think it is the most diverse neighborhood I have ever encountered - which I think a good thing.
Some folk call it No Park - can be a bit of a problem. There has been A TON of residential tower development there recently, which is really increasing the central district density. Get someplace w/in walking distance of the el/train stop (In OP - the same place), and you’ll be happy. Check out the Farmer’s Market and say “Hi!” to the good looking bassist!
Of course, last summer a young man from Texas joined our golf league. He lasted 1 year, and after 1 winter, is now back in “God’s Country”!
the house I’m looking at (hoping it doesn’t sell before my financing comes through) is .3 miles from a bus stop. then from there to the train – according to google. Seems doable – doctor wants me to try to walk more.
Lived in Dallas area for thirty years (with a 7-year stretch in Austin in the middle of it) and just moved to western Michigan a few months ago, at the tail end of winter.
We’re coming from similar areas, to similar areas. So do I have advice? Hell, no, I’m a noobie here like you. But I’m in the same boat as you.
YouTube has videos explaining how to walk on ice. Penguins have the right idea - you want to waddle leaning forward, basically, to minimize slipping and falling.
Otherwise, you’ll get no shortage of fearmongering about winter weather. Lord knows I keep hearing about it.
Take it the same as if someone from Alaska was coming to Ft. Worth in mid July: you’re gonna warn them about staying hydrated, the A/C indoors is ridiculous so gotta layer, stiffle laughter when they suggest nighttime activities for when it’s cooled off as if that’s a thing that happens in summer in the metroplex.
Shall we point the OP at local cuisine? I’ll start: the only really, truly stellar thin crust pizza in the center of the country (shut up, Detroit and St. Louis) and possibly the planet. Seriously, I still dream of the local pizza three decades after I left the Chicago 'burbs for California.