Tips on Commuting in the Wintertime

If you work, attend classes, or have other commitments in downtown Indianapolis during the winter, you know how the euphoria brought on by that first glistening snowfall quickly changes to woe upon the realization that you still have to get where you’re going. 

But you don’t have to arrive sopping wet and miserable! Dressing for the commute, planning ahead, and knowing what your alternatives are will help you get around the city and arrive on time, warm and dry.


Bundle up with wind and icy, wet sidewalks in mind. A base layer plus a knit or wool pullover will help keep you insulated, and you can drop those extra layers when you arrive. A long wool coat or insulated waterproof parka will also help keep you warm and dry. 

Next, don’t neglect your feet! Moisture-wicking wool socks will help protect your feet, and if you walk around downtown a lot, it’s a good idea to invest in some sturdy, waterproof snow boats. Many of the current styles transition well from outdoors to more professional indoor settings so you’re not shuffling around all day in a pair of big, chunky boots.

Some boots are woven with Gore-Tex to lock out all moisture; others are treated with a water-resistant coating. You’ll also want to look at the amount of traction and insulation the boots have. Determine the boot that’s best for you according to how much you’ll be walking in them.

It’s also helpful to carry a sturdy, waterproof backpack that will fit everything you need. That way, if you’re walking, cycling, or taking public transit, you don’t have to worry about shuffling multiple bags around or accidentally leaving one behind! 

City life hack: keep an extra pair of shoes at work! If you do happen to step in a large puddle, you’re going to appreciate a dry pair of shoes when you arrive. If you’re not going somewhere you can stash a pair of shoes ahead of time, you can carry them in your backpack. 


One of the great things about living in downtown Indianapolis is that it’s possible to get around without needing your own vehicle. If you do drive in the winter time, remember to allow a little extra time for your commute, and make sure you have a small emergency kit in your car that includes gloves, a snow brush and scraper, a flashlight, phone charger, and depending on how far you’re driving, maybe even a first aid kit, a blanket, and some snacks and bottled water.


REI has some terrific guidance for commuting by bike in the wintertime, which includes selecting the right lighting and tires, adding a fender to protect against tire-sprayed snow and muck, and cleaning and covering your bike to protect your chain and drivetrain from snow and road grit.

You’ll also want to consider cycling gear that’s warm and insulated but doesn’t have bulk, belts, or straps that can get caught. A sturdy pair of textured cycling gloves can also help keep you safe and warm on your commute. A cycling cap or skullcap underneath your helmet can add warmth, and you might even consider a mask and goggles to protect your eyes and face on freezing days. 

Other downtown transit options 

Some folks will cycle all year long and don’t mind the bitter cold or occasionally having to walk their bicycle around a pile of snow or slush. But no matter your first choice of transportation, it’s always smart to have a backup plan. If you live at River West Flats, you can take advantage of shuttle service to downtown destinations, and Indianapolis has a few other options for commuting, including ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft which are available on short notice, and the IndyGo bus lines. (Keep a copy of the bus routes handy so you can find it in a pinch!)

Downtown Indianapolis is a great place to live in any season. The location of River West Flats offers proximity to IUPUI, the Eskenazi Health downtown campus, White River State Park, and professional locations like the Tech 16 Innovation district. There are also many options for transportation on those days when you don’t feel like walking or cycling. Call us at 463-218-6451 to schedule a tour and explore this vibrant community today.

Share on
Nov 14

Ready to Take a Tour?

Contact Us


 Contact our office for details.