A Transplant’s Guide to Winter in Milwaukee


People said that we were crazy when we chose to move here and there was always the same response.

It’s so cold there. 

winter in milwaukeeAs I write this post, it is currently 9 degrees but feels like -7, and it’s not getting much warmer anytime soon. The last thing I want to do is get the kids ready and out the door to run errands, hit up a playdate, or drive through the drop off line at school. But as much as I want to hunker down and stay in, mama’s got things she has to do.

I am a living example that a winter move is doable, but not without a steep learning curve. We had some friends that helped us along the way but there were some things I found helpful or wished I would have known during our first winter. 

A Transplant’s Guide to Winter in Milwaukee

  1. Snow day? Being from the south, if there is a rumor of snow, people get nervous. But have no fear, Milwaukee and its residents are well-prepared to handle the weather. Keep salt and a good snow shovel on hand and know your neighborhood’s snow removal policy.
  2. Try some winter activities. Sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating… and the list goes on!  Create your own Winter Bucket List and spend the winter checking some things off.
  3. Enjoy the break. There will be days when it’s above freezing, so bundle up and take advantage of the break in weather by taking a walk. Check out the Urban Ecology Center, the Domes, or Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.
  4. Function > Fashion. Invest in a good pair of warm winter boots and wear them.  Also, an appropriate winter coat…a cute peacoat won’t get you too far here.
  5. Leggings, flannel, and wool socks are life. If you are looking for a specific brand of socks, Bambas or Smartwool fit the bill.
  6. Beware of the weather apps. I know it can be difficult to comprehend single digits temperatures or the chance of snow everyday for weeks, but don’t focus too much on it. It’s cold and the chances of it warming up are very slim. Accept it and move on.  
  7. Make friends. Fight the urge to hibernate at home in your snuggie! If you need a place to plug in, attend an area mom group, or sign up for one of our events!  
  8. Have fun indoors. It’s day whatever of low temps and you’re so over yelling STOP RUNNING IN THE HOUSE constantly. Milwaukee has great indoor play options, so pick one and turn ‘em loose! You can also sign up for a free account with Go Noodle and have the kids dance some energy out!
  9. What about the baby? Winter with a baby does not have to be scary or isolating… just bundle them up and get out as much as you can handle. Remember, puffy coats in car seats are a safety no-no! Opt for light layers, hats, and swaddles. If it’s really cold, add a car seat cover to keep them toasty.
  10. We have to shovel again?!  Shoveling is hard work so have a warm dish (we like baked oatmeal!) ready to to go when the shoveling is done.
  11. Invest in a drying rack and a boot tray. These two items will save your carpets and keep the puddles on your kitchen floor at bay.  
  12. Learn to knit or crochet! Studies show that fiber crafts contribute to good mental health (which we all need in the winter) so check out a class at your neighborhood craft store, learn from a friend, or check out youtube. 
  13. It’s all about the layers. Put those scarves you make to good use. Capes and ponchos also work well for nursing mamas.
  14. Add (at least) 15 minutes.  You’ll need the extra time for helping your littles get bundled up. You can also let your car warm up while you’re wrangling the kiddos. 
  15. Binge watch a favorite show. Netflix and Hulu are well-known for being binge-worthy. Need a starting point? Work your way through Gilmore Girls, Call the Midwife, or West Wing during naptime. Kids won’t sleep? We suggest Daniel Tiger, Magic School Bus, or Little Einsteins. 
  16. Schedule play dates. Make a pot of coffee and invite some moms over with their kids or plan to meet up at an indoor play area
  17. Head to the library. The library is a good break because 1) it’s free, 2) quiet voices are utilized and 3) there are many locations with a great kids’ room and programs!  
  18. Sweat it out. It’s proven that working out releases good vibes and we need all we can get when we are battling the winter blues. Need some suggestions? We’ve got a guide for that, too! 
  19. Humidify. Dry air is impossible to avoid so find a good skin moisturizer, take lukewarm showers, and put a humidifier in your bedrooms.
  20. Break up your errands. Instead of trying to do all of your errands in one day, break them up throughout the week. This keeps you busy but also helps you to get outside more often.

Winter in Milwaukee can feel daunting and the snow annoying but we truly live in a beautiful city. Fight the urge to isolate and learn all you can about enjoying winter in Milwaukee! 


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