HUGHES: 7 Reasons to love living in Milwaukee during winter

As I finish the last of the discount Halloween candy that I bought in bulk the day after Halloween and receive calls from parents asking to make sure my winter jacket from last year is still suitable for the temperature in the middle of November, I begin to wonder why I decided to make a four-year commitment to a college in the Midwest.

Of course, I have a lot of reasons why I chose to attend Marquette, but all of those reasons escape me when I’m walking to the AMU at 7 a.m. with a numb face and tired legs from fighting against the wind.

This seasonal affliction of doubt and regret is shared by many fellow warm-blooded humans. But since abandoning our responsibilities and catching the next flight to sunny Sonoma, Cal. is not an option, we have to look on the bright side and realize that we still live in an excellent place even if the weather makes us crazy.

There are a bunch of reasons to love Milwaukee, or the Midwest in general, during winter, but here are seven of the things I tell myself when I’m urged to jump ship and bail out of the frozen tundra:

  1. Love it or hate it, waking up and looking out your window to see an untouched, white blanket of snow is a spiritual experience – or maybe it’s just pretty, but still.
  1. Speaking of snow, have you ever taken a $5 plastic sled to one of the parks in Milwaukee? My favorite sledding hill is at Mitchell Park, only a few streets south of campus. On the topic of fun things to do with snow: make a snowman and have a snowball fight. Or, pretend you’re in fourth grade again, sitting in front of the television, watching the morning news and waiting for your school’s name to pop up on the snowday list.
  1. For those who don’t like the idea of playing with frozen water, play on top of it instead – go ice skating. The Petit National Ice Center and Red Arrow Park offer public skating hours. Bring your own skates, or rent them for under $10. Located on Water Street, Red Arrow is a bus ride away from campus and connected to a Starbucks; so you actually have zero excuses not to go.
  1. I love winter clothes. I love bundling up in 15 layers and looking like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man. The best thing about winter wear is that if you have a particularly skilled grandma or friend with grandma-like tendencies, you can have a scarf or a hat made 100% uniquely for you.
  1. The Milwaukee domes have awesome winter programming. They hold a floral show, a winter farmer’s market and a Chinese New Year’s celebration that are all worth checking out.
  1. Cheese tastes good all year-round. Yep, Wisconsin has the best cheese, and that’s all I have to say about that.
  1. Finally, winter can be an awesome time to find some peace. When it’s too cold to step out your door for two seconds and you’re stranded inside, read a book or guiltlessly binge Netflix because you have an actual excuse not to leave your bed all day long.

Despite bitter cold mornings and dangerous tip-toeing across icy sidewalks, the Midwest, and Milwaukee specifically, is still an amazing place – even when Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow and promises six more weeks of winter.