19 Ways We Can All Make It to Spring, Chicagoans

Regardless of how any Chicago winter is going, late February is almost inevitably the low point. You can pretty much skate through the end of January on the strength of holiday distractions and playoff football. It’s all too appropriate that this year’s major blizzard hit Chicago on Super Bowl Sunday, because that’s the beginning of the dark times. February is four weeks of despair, false prophet groundhogs, and grammatically dubious candy hearts.

But look at me, Chicago. LOOK. AT. ME. We’re close. We’re SO close. Stop eyeing real estate prices in Southern California and start focusing on these 19 ways everyone is going to stay strong until the warmer, happier times when you're reminded that you live in the greatest city in the world.

1. Do not fear the cold

The cold is like a wolf. It can smell fear. (Frostbite, am I RIGHT?) Okay, but for real, all you need is a solid coat, maybe a scarf, a decent pair of gloves, and a hat or maybe some of those wraparound ear thingies that kinda make you look like a tool. But it’s winter in Chicago, so no judgments.

2. Drink!

This advice also goes for making it through spring, summer, and fall, but winter is particularly conducive to hibernating with a choice beverage, whether you’re huddled with some whiskey and some friends near the fireplace at Frontier, or home on your couch wondering if there can really be this many Storage Wars spinoffs? (Spoiler alert: there can.)

3. Better yet, drink stouts!

There’s something soul-warming about a dark, heavy stout that makes it particularly adept at combating the winter madness. If you were lucky enough to stock up on some Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, bully for you. Revolution Mad Cow? Sure! A Guinness can that’s been in the back of the fridge since St. Paddy’s Day? Why the hell not?! However, drinking local does better embrace the “we’re all in this together” spirit we’re trying to cultivate here. So please, do that whenever possible.

4. Better... better yet, drink in Tiki bars

It’s like Paul McGee KNEW Chicago needed a little bit more real estate for tropics-channeling rum creations when he opened Lost Lake. Pro tip: however many orders of Benton’s ham egg rolls you were thinking of getting, double it.


5. Remember the tank tops

There’s so much excess clothing that it becomes easy to forget that hey, you’re actually quite attractive, Chicago. Soon enough there’ll be attractive women in tank tops as far as the eye can see. And attractive men in tank tops! And unattractive men in tank tops, which is never a problem in a city that appreciates comedy.

6. Know that the Cubs... might actually be good this year

Maddon. Lester. Best farm system in baseball. Laugh all you want... it has to happen eventually. Doesn’t it? It does, right? Doesn’t it?

7. The Sox might be, too!

There’s a chance Jose Abreu is actually a cyborg from a faraway land who was specifically designed to come to Earth and destroy baseballs.

8. Rejoice that you don't have to watch Jay Cutler at ALL this spring

Coming off this winter and fresh into another Bears season just might break the city.

9. Go to the beach

Yes, it’s an ice-ridden wasteland right now. But walk up there, close your eyes, and imagine what Oak Street Beach is going to look like in a few months. Then get back inside and drink more stouts.


10. Our St. Patrick's Day > all other St. Patrick's Days

The river will be green. The weather may or may not be nice. But either way it’s one of the best days of the year, and it SHOULD be nicer by the time your hangover subsides sometime around Tax Day.

11. Be excellent to each other

Rufus from Bill & Ted knew what was up. Shovel out a parking spot and... (gasp) don’t dibs it! Let someone else take the last spot on the crowded el car even though you can’t feel your face. Read a lighthearted article about how Chicagoans can make it to spring and don’t tell the author to go &%$# himself. We’re a community. The little things matter.

12. Start calling restaurants and asking about reserving patio tables way in advance

If just one says yes, that’s just more to look forward to!

13. Place one borderline irresponsible takeout order

Like, something from a place that seems WAY too expensive for takeout. Get two desserts for no reason whatsoever. Time flies when you’re in a food coma.

14. Place one borderline irresponsible spring fashion order

New sunglasses! Expensive shoes that are in no way designed to stand up to slush and salt! A tank top you will look hilariously TERRIBLE in. Get yourself something you’ll eagerly anticipate throwing on for that first legitimately nice day when everything seems right with the world again.

Sean Cooley

15. Remind yourself why deep dish was invented

There’s a reason they didn’t come up with it in Florida (other than the fact that Florida’s only export is headlines that amuse the rest of America). The kind of cheese-and-carb payload that gets Jon Stewart’s soon-to-be-retiring undies in a bunch was designed to get everyone through winter.

16. Start an insanely intense diet and workout regimen

WHY DID YOU LISTEN TO ALL THAT STUFF ABOUT STOUTS AND PIZZA AND TAKEOUT?! For real though, panicking about the extent to which you let yourself go during winter is an annual rite of passage -- as is saying “eh, who cares?” a couple of weeks later. But the two weeks you spend in between trying to remedy the situation should provide a really interesting distraction.

17. Monitor the weather reports in Minneapolis

It’s always comforting knowing someone has it worse. On that note, have you SEEN how much snow Boston has? Revel in these things, just don’t let your eyes drift too far South or West on any maps.

18. Don't let the last snow get to you

You know the one. It hits in mid-to-late March (April? Could be April...) when you’re convinced you’ve finally scraped that car for the last time. Laugh in the face of that silly spring snow! Make yourself a snowgarita knowing that it’ll likely be gone in a day or two and winter will officially be in the rear view.

19. Say it with me: "I'm a Chicagoan"

You’re here because you’re made of good stock and can brave the elements where others of weaker constitution fail. Do you know what the real estate costs here would be like if the weather was always pristine? It’d be like a fatter, friendlier San Francisco (which is still better than San Francisco), but that’s not the point. The winter is the price we all pay for living in the greatest summer city in the world. Next time you get one of those piercing gusts of wind in your face, just smile and know that it’ll all be worth it soon.

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Matt Lynch is a Senior Editor at Thrillist whose pipes were frozen for a week this January. That's not a euphemism, and it did not break him. Ask him to join you for a Tiki drink @MLynchChi.