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If you’re headed to the hometown of the First Family of the United States for the holidays, be ready for “the hawk,” the feisty wind that blows off Lake Michigan and sweeps across the city. Despite the cold, the city is festive and aglow in lights and filled with the holiday spirit. Be sure to check out dazzling holiday lights along the storied Magnificent Mile while shopping and taking in the sights. Check out ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, which features luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. Additionally, NewsOne provides a list of 5 things to take with you for your trip.

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1. A Weather App:

As discussed, Chicago winters can be unpredictable. So if your Smartphone, like the iPhone, isn’t armed with a weather app, you may just want to add one before you leave. Check out the Weather App index for possible downloads.

2. Warm Clothing

Unfortunately, there is not an app for warm clothes unless you are shopping online and packing things to take with you. Hint: If you are already in Chicago, it’s too late. Get to an airport store quick.

Seriously, here is a list of things to pack: jeans, sweaters, heavy pants, long underwear, socks, etc. For your outerwear, you should make sure you have a down coat along with the very necessary hat, earmuffs, scarf, and boots.

Be aware that if you pack your coat, you may be chilly as you exit the plane on to the jet way because of the air gusts that blow through the gaps. Also, if you decide to wear boots, be mindful of those with laces. They take extra time to take on and off during security checks.  Additionally, make sure your boots are comfortable for walking. A lot of sightseeing in Chicago involves walking, including visits to the John Hancock Tower and Willis Tower, the global icon formerly known as the Sears Tower and tracking down the best deep dish pizza and Chicago Polish sausage.

3. A Restaurant List

Chicago has long been known as a gourmand’s dreams with a plethora of restaurants to choose from. Check out a list of offerings at Zagat. Some selections off the beaten path include Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles, Alice’s Bar-B-Que, and Sweet Maple Café.

4. A Chicago Map App

Of course you will need a map to help navigate your way around the sprawling city. Depending on the maker of your Smartphone, you might be able to find an app at iTunes. Not sure of the status of the app that guides users away from, ahem, high-crime areas, but you might want to use a map that helps guide you to Bronzeville, one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in the nation that was once home to Louis Armstrong, civil rights leaders Ida B. Wells, and Bessie Coleman. Another stop could be a visit to the Hyde Park neighborhood of the Obamas. While the home is heavily guarded, it might be worth catching a glimpse of the modest, yet well-appointed grounds.

5. A Subway and Bus App

Make your way to ExploreChicago to download a subway or bus map so that you can make your way to the storied theater district to take in a play at the Goodman Theatre or to Solider Field to watch a Bears game or to the United Center to see the Bulls play. The Art Institute of Chicago and the John G. Shedd Aquarium are just two other great indoor sights to take in to avoid the cold!

Finally, Chicago has gotten a bad rap for it’s high-crime rate, which is a problem. But if you are careful, you can relax and enjoy yourself over the holidays!

5 Things To Take With You To Chicago For The Holidays  was originally published on