I was born and raised in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean these brutal winter months don’t impact me. If you talk to Leo (my bf), he’ll tell you that I wake up every morning, check the weather, and start complaining & sulking, asking that we move to a warmer climate (LA, I’m coming for you). That’s me from December-April. Some days are worse than others – there are times when a brisk morning feels right, and others when every gust of wind makes me want to curl up in bed and never come out again.

Summer in Chicago is so unbelievable that once it rolls around, I forget about the days that I couldn’t feel my feet after walking outside for 5 minutes, or the times I had to shovel my car out from the previous night’s snowstorm. The key is getting through the winter. Make the most of every day, even if the weather is against you. Here are a few things I do (I like to call it my get-through-the-winter strategy) to make the most of the winter months.

Schedule dates during the week

I try not to rush home after work and sulk. I’ll schedule dates with old coworkers, friends, Leo – basically, I need to have something to look forward to outside of the weekend. There are tons of bars in Chicago with cozy ambiances that are perfect for winter (i.e. RM Champagne, The Betty, California Clipper, Watershed…the list goes on). Seeing people I care about instantly makes me happy, and I sometimes forget it’s 15 degrees out.

Getting Through the Winter

Have a cooking contest

Leo and I have done this in the past, and it’s been a hit with our friends. We’ll host a cook-off for a selected food item (last time we did pizza), and we’ll have a cooking contest to see who makes the best version. It’s a win/win – we get to hang with friends, and eat delicious food (most of the time).

Explore new shows & movies

I rarely am one to sit in front of the TV all day, but sometimes it’s nice to spend a Saturday afternoon binge watching a new show (if you need new shows to watch, read last week’s post). It’s also the time of year when the best movies are out, so I’ll get my Oscar list ready and start watching. There’s no better time to do this than now.

Host game night

No no, not in relation to sports…I mean board games. Remember those? They’re still super fun, even as an adult. Leo and I will get a group of people together, and play a game or two. Some of my favorites include Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride, and Tokaido. For those of you that don’t own a board game, look up bars in your area that do. My go-to spot in Chicago is Geek Bar in Wicker Park.

Visit local museums

The only time I would ever go to museums in the past was if I had visitors. I’ve recently learned that it’s okay to go to museums as a non-tourist. People do it all of the time. There is ALWAYS an amazing exhibit to see somewhere in the city. I have a handful of exhibits I plan on checking out over the next couple of months, including Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, The New Contemporary, and The Greeks.

Getting Through the Winter

We have a few more months of winter to get through – we can do this! What’s your get-through-the-winter strategy?