19 Things Only Chicagoans Understand About Winter

There are two things your buddies from not-Chicago will never understand: 1) how to properly consume an Italian beef, and 2) winter in Chicago. While we can't help the former, we CAN help the latter with these: the 19 things only Chicagoans understand about winter.


1. Dibs is a way of life

Just remember, if you section off the parking spot in front of your house with lawn chairs and police tape, you can’t get pissed when you’re looking for a spot and someone else is doing the same. There are rules.

2. We wake up with a lot of mysterious bruises in the morning

Thanks, Clark St black ice slip 'n falls.

3. There is a reason our shoes/jeans are perpetually covered in salt stains

And that reason is Chicago.

Flickr/Jennifer P.

4. Having a shovel in your house is not enough

You need one for the car, too.

5. Winter starts on Halloween and ends on St. Patrick's Day


6. A good parking place is more important than any social obligation

This spot > your nephew’s birthday party in Arlington Heights. Trust us.

covered windows
Flickr/Andrea R

7. We cover our drafty windows in plastic wrap so our heating bill isn't $700

You'll laugh... until your heating bill is $700, too.

8. We have to come up with a whole new tipping system for takeout during a snowstorm

And that system involves tipping the Chicago pizza guy at LEAST $5 extra in a blizzard.

9. We have to weigh the tradeoff between texting and having warm hands

And while emoji-ing waits for no man, it does wait for an L stop with a heater.

Flickr/Samuel A. Love

10. Snowplows can actually bury your car deeper in snow

There are tradeoffs for having a plowed street. Unless, of course, you're Ald. Ed Burke.

11. Our beers can freeze at outdoor events

Yes, it’s happened to us at Bears games.

12. Parking in a snowstorm is like the Wild West, if people in the Wild West had cars

... and were in a snowstorm. We're talking a complete breakdown of social order.

Flickr/Emily Orpin

13. We have to dress like burglars for much of the season

Burglars who have perpetual hat-head, thanks to winter snowcaps. Really though, even our dogs are like, "WTF?"

14. We forget what bodies of the opposite sex look like


Flickr/Avi Schwab

15. Winter potholes are so bad, our city government has its own pothole tracker

Our city government. Has. It's own pothole tracker. Let that sink in for a minute.

16. We have to strip down from our Christmas Story-caliber snowsuit every time we go indoors

It’s to the point where we have to plan our trips to take out the trash in advance.

falling ice
Flickr/Michael Nienaltowski

17. We have to worry about ice falling off skyscrapers and killing us

So maybe that’s why we’re in such a pissy mood all the time, okay?

18. We know it's completely pointless to wash our cars

Because they'll be disgusting again in, like, three minutes.

polar bear club
Flickr/John W. Iwanksi

19. And yet still, some of us make the best of it

Like these crazy bastards.

Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Jay Gentile is Thrillist’s Chicago Editor and he never leaves home without a backup shovel. Follow him @ThrillistChi.