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Beat the cold in line for shows this winter with these helpful tips

Winters in the PNW are beautifully green, there’s no doubt about it. But when temperatures hover around freezing, it can make for an extremely uncomfortable wait in lines for shows. Even more so since the start of the pandemic, where increased security can increase wait times.

Thankfully, although you may be more limited in what you can bring into a venue, there’s still a lot you can do to plan ahead. With a ton of great shows coming up, read below for some DMNW tips on defending yourself from the elements this winter.

Choose smart clothing

First, most obvious: dress warmly. It’s important to pay attention to the fabric (and coverage) of your outfit, even if the show is indoors. Avoid cotton if possible, because if it gets wet (whether it’s rain, sweat, or someone’s spilled vodka soda), it’ll stay wet and stick to your skin. Opt for synthetic fabrics, or wool if that’s your vibe, which will wick away moisture more effectively. Things that can tied around your waist offer the ability to remove items inside if you get too warm.

You don’t have to sacrifice your style, either. Accessories like pashminas can be added to any outfit and offer a little more warmth and won’t make you overheat once inside. Even before the pandemic, face masks offered an easy way to keep your face and neck covered. Although they’re (as of now) required to be worn inside, it’s not a bad idea to pop it on waiting outside even if only for warmth.

Wearing shoes with thick soles and socks can prevent body heat escaping through your feet. It’s important especially if you’re standing on cold surfaces like asphalt. Just make sure your shoes are well broken in so they don’t hurt your feet while dancing.

Avoid getting wet if possible

It’s not a great secret that rain is abundant in the PNW. For the most part, we’re acclimated enough to it that it won’t interfere with the day-to-day. But when waiting outside in cold temperatures, rain becomes more of an obstacle. If you can, bring a waterproof jacket to avoid moisture on your base layer entirely. Many venues offer a coat check, and while it may mean standing in an extra line, you can bring a bulkier layer and keep your body warm.

If you don’t have access to a waterproof layer or coat check, other things will work in a pinch. Reflective emergency blankets that fold up to smaller than a deck of playing cards are available at most outdoor stores. Plastic ponchos also work the same way, but lack the reflective heat-trapping film that emergency blankets do. At the end of the day, whatever you can do to keep your body from getting wet will keep you warmer.

Move around and keep your hands warm

You can bring some other things to help you keep warm in line. Consider stocking up on some hand warmers, which are inexpensive and last for a long stretch of time. You could also bring a disposable cup of a warm beverage to keep both your hands and your core warm.

While standing around, shift around and move if you can. Keeping your blood circulating to your extremities raises your body temperature (and may keep your mind off of waiting). Facilitating a group hug with some conversational questions can also distract and warm you.

The biggest takeaway to keeping warm is to keep spots that lose heat quickly covered up. Your feet, hands, head, and core are the most important.

Plan for timing of entering

There’s going to be a flux of entry to almost every show for the headlining artist. Consider minimizing your time waiting in line by entering earlier. As you experience more venues in the region, you’ll start learning more about what the security and ticketing procedures are like. There may be only one line, metal detectors, or limited staff to check ID’s and vaccine cards which can all increase your wait time.

There’s an additional advantage to arriving to shows early, too: you might discover a new favorite smaller artist. The PNW has some pretty great local talent, and you paid for a ticket to the show anyways: enjoy the music, dance, and grab a drink if you want while the venue fills up.

Tips for safety

When temperatures drop, it’s even more important to remember to charge your phone as full as possible before a show. Cold weather zaps phone batteries, so preserve it by keeping it in a warm spot close to your core and consider switching it to airplane mode. More often than not you’ll need it to get into the show, but it’s important to have it in case of an emergency.

This should also go without saying, but it’s even more important to leave the show with everyone you came with, or come up with a plan beforehand. Don’t leave your friends to fend for themselves late at night in the city in the cold.

It’s also important to be aware of the effects alcohol and substances can have, if you take them. Although it’s tempting to drink to raise your body temperature, you can lower your immune system. Make sure to drink plenty of water too, especially if you’re drinking alcohol.

Stay warm after the show, too

Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the trickiest part of keeping warm can be getting home. Shows run late, rideshare transportation gets spendy and sparse, all while temperatures continue to drop.

Often by the end of shows, venues ask patrons to leave so they can begin shutting things down. If you find yourself waiting for an Uber that never shows, try to plan ahead by scheduling a ride.

If you’re stuck waiting in the cold, try to dry off your body before putting on your outer layers. Sweat will dry and stick to your body which can significantly chill you. Even if it’s just wiping your arms with paper towels, wick off the moisture on your skin before leaving.

After everyone gets home, jump in a hot shower and snuggle up with some comfortable loose-fitting clothes to encourage circulation.

Keep warm and safe this winter

Waiting in lines can be frustrating. Remember that ultimately, venues want you to make it in safely as quickly as they can. Cultivate patience and spend time getting to know people near you excited to see the same artist, too. Plan ahead and stay warm this winter waiting in line.


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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!

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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!