Thursday, August 12, 2010

Urban Hot Weather Tips

You may think that the Midwest is cool. Well, maybe compared to somewhere like Arizona it is. Still, in the Summer it can get mighty hot, especially this Summer.

From my many years working in Chicago, specifically the Downtown Loop, I’ve devised a few tips for keeping cool. These are not scientific, but they kind of work for me.

Maybe you’ll want to try one or two.

Shade – Not too many trees in Downtown Chicago, so I seek other shade. When needs be, when waiting for a light to change, I’ll stand in the shade of a street light, another person, or a building.

Cut Throughs – Speaking of buildings, when you work in a metropolitan area, there are various buildings you can cut through, such as banks, drug stores, restaurants, or just office buildings. A knowledge of their entrances and exits comes in handy. Sometimes you can not only cool off, but also save time and steps by using a cut through.

Time – Allow yourself extra time if you can. Rushing in the heat can make you hotter than ever.

Water – Bring a small water bottle with, enough for you to chug when extra thirsty, but not so heavy you’ll wish you didn’t have it with you. I’ve got a fairly new stainless steel bottle I use now. Because of another health scare I use it instead of plastic. I fill it halfway up so it doesn’t weigh me down. When I get to the office, I refill it for the trip home. While at the office, I drink pretty much water also to stay hydrated. Speaking of water, putting your hands under the faucet is a great way to cool down at work where you really can’t be taking showers or baths, unless you work at a gym.(g)

Clothing – Wear layers. I usually put on something light, but carry a sweater with me since I never know what temperature the train air conditioning will be set at. Also, the workplace temperature variations are quite iffy. I sling it over one of my shoulders, which makes that area hotter, but wearing the sweater or carrying it are worse options. At times, I’ll even tie a sweater around my waist instead.

So, those are my tips for keeping cool. What are yours, urban or otherwise?

Or, maybe you'd like to share something about a book you've written or read where hot weather or trying to keep cool plays a part in the plot.


  1. Hi Morgan,

    I do a lot of those same things. Also, I plan my day trips to avoid the heat of the day. I also wear a lightweight ventilated hat, which provides me personal shade.

    When I get wherever I need to be, if I'm overheated, I will take a moment to rest in a chair, sipping water, or if a bathroom is available, rinsng my face with cool water.

    For clothing in the heat, I dress in lightweight 100% cotton or wear some of the newer brathable fabrics that wick water away from your body. Nothing worse that walking in an air-conditioned building and having all your undergarments soaked with perspiration.

    Great topic!

    Maggie Toussaint

  2. Anonymous4:36 PM

    For those who can do it this way, my favorite is staying indoors except for trips from one air conditioned building to an air conditioned car.

    Using a paper towel, you can put water on your face in even a public restroom. It is amazing how much that can help cool you down sometimes.

    Though I resisted this idea for years, if at home, wearing a tank top and shorts really is cooler.

  3. Remember to use the shades or blinds in your house to keep it cool. Close them all up tight on the side of the house that is getting the sun, and open the windows on the side that is shaded. We haven't turned on our AC for years...keeps the electric bill more reasonable. But we have fans and keep the house dark. It's always at least 15-20 degrees cooler in our house than outside. And I live in a western suburb of Chicago. I'm just glad I'm not in Moscow right now!

  4. My son lives in Chicago, and I know what you mean, Morgan! Those are some good tips. Drinking water frequently is what helps me most. I've also dampened a scarf with cold water and wrapped it around my neck when I have to be outdoors in the heat, and that helps.

  5. Gail Hueting6:17 PM

    When I'm at home, I like to read books, usually mysteries, set in cold places. Think of A Cold Day in Paradise or In the Bleak Midwinter. Other suggestions, anyone? I need one for right now! Save the hot-weather books for next winter, which will also be gold in the Midwest (that Chicago wind).


Your Comment Is Welcome