Baby, it’s cold outside. When Boston’s winter weather first hits, residents tend to experience five stages of grief in rapid succession. Denial (it’s not that cold), anger (why is it so cold?), bargaining (I’ll shovel the sidewalk, but then I’m going to eat an entire pizza myself), depression (winter will never end), and finally, acceptance (hot chocolate and ice skating are actually pretty great).
Kidding aside, whether you’ve lived here your entire life, or moved to New England just in time for winter, Boston’s winter weather can be a real downer if you let it get to you. So with that in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind when that big snowstorm hits.
Pay Attention to the Snow, and Park Accordingly
Parking in Boston is always something of a production, but snow adds another factor altogether. If you just moved to New England from a warmer state like California or Texas, you may be surprised at just how much snow is considered “normal” here. But even if you’ve lived in a climate that gets even more snow than Boston — they exist, we promise — you’ll still want to familiarize yourself with local norms and policies.
There’s an informal tradition of residents shoveling out their usual street parking, and “saving” that spot with some kind of object. Parking is limited in the best of times, so when manual labor is required to make use of what’s there, be respectful of other people’s efforts. That said, it’s worth noting what is and is not allowed in your neighborhood. South End, for example, has a ban on “space savers,” so it’s best not to risk it.
In a declared snow emergency, the rules all change. Parking on major roads and arteries is off-limits, and you may want to move your vehicle off-street regardless. Thankfully, many parking garages offer snow emergency discounts during emergencies, check the city of Boston’s website for the current list of participating garages and lots by neighborhood.
Dress for Success
From the recent transplant to the lifetime resident who’s pretty sure they can get away with shorts in a blizzard (pro tip: never do this), Boston winter is a challenge that you’ll want to armour up for, and not just while you’re outside. Get some comfy cotton undershirts, and don’t worry too much about getting color schemes to match: most people will never see this layer. Pair these up with sweaters and hooded sweatshirts in a variety of thicknesses so you can adjust your temperature based on how cold it’s going to be.
One place that you don’t want to skimp is when it comes to your winter coat. Get something that will genuinely keep you warm, and that you appreciate the look of. You’re going to get a lot of use out of your winter coat, so this is not the place to cut corners. Also useful: raincoats for freezing rain (unfortunately a real thing, first-timers), good hats, gloves, and boots to keep your extremities toasty, and if you have a dog or other pet who’ll be exposed to the cold, consider getting them a sweater too.
Don’t Forget the Lip Balm
Whether it’s drugstore chapstick, something fancy from Sephora or Follain, or even a stick of the Boston Honey Company’s finest, do not brave Boston’s winter weather without something to keep your lips from chapping. Dry, chapped, cracked lips are a physical and metaphorical pain, so do yourself a favor and just don’t risk it. As soon as the temperatures begin to drop, make sure your stock is in good order: that means a fresh stick in your winter coat, one for your bag, backpack, purse, in the glove compartment of your car, and one by the door just in case.
Don’t Let Cold Weather Turn You Into a Lump
Plenty of Bostonians love to exercise outdoors: but when there’s a foot of snow on the ground, curling up by the fire with a hot drink and a blanket starts to look mighty tempting. While there’s nothing wrong with that, dropping exercise from your daily routine can have seriously adverse effects on your health, energy, and mood. And no, shoveling snow is not a replacement, especially if you have high blood pressure or a history of heart issues.
If Boston’s winter weather puts an end to your exercise of choice, now’s the time to pick up an active winter hobby like ice skating, or to finally take that hot yoga class you’ve been thinking about.
Remember: Spring Will Get Here Eventually
One of the great things about living in Boston is getting to experience all four seasons in depth. Though it might not seem like it in the middle of a February blizzard, our snowy holiday season is just one part of the year. Soon, flowers will be blooming, and birds will be singing. Not long after that, as the summer sun shines down, you may even find yourself wistful for a good snowfall. If so, take heart: the summer won’t last forever, and Boston’s winter weather will come around again in its turn.
While this list is by no means exclusive or exhaustive, we hope it provides a useful starting point for dealing with Boston’s winter weather for old and new residents alike. That said, we’re all in this together, Boston: so what are your top tips for handling Boston’s winter weather? Anything you’d like to add to the conversation? Any tips for surviving Boston winters that we need to know?
You know what they say: sharing is caring. So let us in on your Boston winter weather tips in the comments below!
Published December 17, 2019
Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.