Winter Activities in Chicago
As you may or may not know, winters in Chicago can be pretty brutal. There’s freezing rain/sleet/snow, darkness before work, darkness after work, slippery sidewalks, falling icicles, you name it. It’s a dangerous, frozen tundra (Chiberia, anyone?), but there are ways we Chicagoans find silver linings to the cold weather.
Winter activities in Chicago range from the adventurous to the cozy and everywhere in between. There’s something for everyone in this beautiful city, especially during the holidays and that problematic time between New Year’s and springtime. So, without further ado, here are my personal favorite winter activities in Chicago:
- Skating at Maggie Daley Park: There are many places to go ice skating in Chicago, but Maggie Daley Park is probably the most unique. The shape of this rink is a ribbon set in a wavy circle with peaks and valleys set into the ice. Admission is free and skate rentals are $12 during the week and $14 on the weekends. This attraction has already opened for the year.
- ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo: Every year, Lincoln Park Zoo puts on a free event where guests can enjoy the zoo at night in all its twinkly light glory. They have winter activities for families, warm spiced wine and ice sculpture carving, along with all the normal zoo activities. ZooLights starts today actually, and is open select dates through January 7.
- Walk Down Michigan Avenue: Michigan Avenue can be one of the most magical, albeit crowded, places in the city during the holidays. Every space imaginable is decorated in twinkly lights and holiday ornamentation. Plus, it’s mostly free, unless you decide to partake in the many, many stores that line the Magnificent Mile.
- Christkindlmarket: This outdoor Christmas market is located in Daley Plaza downtown and his home to a ton of small markets selling holiday fare. Nestled in between the stores are vendors selling traditional German fare, hot chocolate and mulled wine. Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, this market is super fun to walk around while you sip your hot wine. It’s open now through Christmas Eve.
- Grab a Drink in a Cozy Bar: There are number of cozy places in Chicago to obtain a booze blanket to fight the cold. The best ones have a fireplace and comfy chairs for that extra homey warmth. My favorite bars for winter are Drumbar in the Raffaello Hotel (Gold Coast), The Broken Shaker in the Freehand (River North), and Scofflaw (Logan Square), all of which have excellent cocktails and cozy ambiance.
What are your favorite winter activities in Chicago?