By Marty Rosenbaum

The winter brings plenty of hot concerts to Chicago. Unfortunately, it forgets to bring the warm temperatures as well. No one schedules outdoor concerts during this time and for good reason. That being said, it’s easy to lose sight of how to properly ready yourself for traveling in zero degree temperatures to being packed in a room of 2,000 people in a matter of minutes. Here’s an insider’s guide to surviving a winter concert in Chicago without going completely crazy.

Direct Transportation

This one should be a given for anything you do in Chicago, but is especially imperative when you don’t have the luxury of walking outside for a couple of extra blocks since warm weather won’t be returning for a while. Plan your route ahead of time and if you’re taking public transportation, utilize the CTA’s Train Tracker & Bus Tracker so you know exactly when they’re coming. The less you have to wait outside, the better.

Dress For The Commute

In Chicago, there’s two outfits you need to have for winter. Your outdoor outfit and your indoor one. During this time of the year, they’ll never be the same. It’s easy to layer a bunch of clothes, but do you really want to be sweating and/or holding on to several layers during a show? Obviously you’ll want a hat, gloves, and a thick jacket. Some underrated items you should wear during your commute that also won’t get in your way inside the venue are a pair of waterproof boots, wool socks, and a scarf. Dressing for the cold is the easy part, the hard part comes next.

Dress For The Inside

Now that you’ve gotten inside the venue and gotten the frost to melt off your eyebrows, you have a dilemma. What to do with these extra materials during the show? Most venues will have a coat check for a small charge. Stuff as much as you can inside your coat (hat, gloves, scarf, etc.) that you don’t want to be holding on to you during the show. A solid indoor clothing combination should consist of a sweat/water resistant long sleeve shirt as your first layer with a long sleeve shirt/flannel/sweater/cardigan/whatever on top of that.

Top that off with your jacket and you have a perfect indoor/outdoor outfit combo for attending shows.

Hand & Feet Warmers Are Your Friend

These cheap little accessories are extremely underrated. Anyone that’s spent time skiing in the winter has used these at one point and knows they are a life saver. If your favorite band is in town and you want to grab that spot right up against the rail, chances are you’ll be arriving to the venue early and having to wait outside. If you find yourself in this scenario, or in a scenario where there is a long line to get in, pop some of these in your gloves and shoes.

Stay A While

Rule #1, never leave a concert early unless you have a legitimate reason. Now that that’s been established, here’s a good reason to not leave the venue early after the show. If you took a cab or an Uber to the show, many people will likely be trying to grab one at the same time. Let the initial wave pass and you’ll find yourself with less time spent outside. Also, factor in the length of people getting their coats from the coat check. If you don’t have to rush anywhere afterwards, you’ll be thankful you spent the extra 20 minutes inside the venue after the show. After all, that’s 20 less minutes you have to spend outside.

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