Winter may be frigid in the Windy City, but there’s still plenty to keep locals and visitors alike out and about and entertained. From museum exhibits to festivals celebrating the season, there’s lot of fun to be had.
Here are our suggestions for some of fall and winter’s best activities. Bundle up, brave the cold and prepare to have a good time.
Halloween in the Parks
Get the spirit of the spooky season with several, city-sponsored events for families courtesy of the Chicago Park District. During October, parks across the city host tons of events geared toward family fun, such as pumpkin patches, Halloween parties and fall festivals, creepy drive-in movies and haunted houses – even an annual Pumpkins 5K Run & Kids Spooky Sprint. For a full lineup of listings, click here.
There may be a chill in the air, but don’t let that stop you from heading outdoors and watching some of the city’s best parades of the season. With events honoring Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be no shortage of eye candy on the streets of the city. For a full schedule, click here.
McCormick-Tribune Ice Rink/Maggie Daley Park Ice Ribbon
Glide gracefully into the season by renting skates (or bring your own) and taking a spin at one of the city’s downtown ice rinks. With a view of Millennium Park’s famous Bean in the backdrop, the rink is open daily Nov. 13, 2116 through March 6, 2017 at 201 E. Randolph St. More information can be found here. For a different skating experience, slide over to the new Maggie Daley Park. The ribbon opened two years ago and offers an Alpine experience by following a path twice the length of a traditional skating rink. For more information, go here. A full list of the city’s ice rinks can be found here.
The holiday tradition in Daley Plaza returns from Nov. 18 to Dec 24. During the holidays, the plaza is transformed into a traditional, German-style holiday market. There are vendors selling gifts and crafts and German food such as pretzels and potato pancakes. Don’t forget to stop by the site’s heated, indoor bar area and enjoy a cup of warm, mulled wine served in a commemorative, boot-shaped mug.
Don’t limit your visits to the Lincoln Park Zoo to the summer. From Nov 25–Jan. 1, the zoo will come alive on weekends (and weekdays in late December) for its annual Zoo Lights event. The zoo will be filled with light displays, and there’s also ice-sculpting demos, stations offering warm cocoa and visits with Santa. Best of all, the whole event is free!
When the weather gets too cold to venture outdoors, embark on a little indoor exploration at one of the city’s famous museums. The Museum of Science and Industry, for one, has holiday-themed events such asChristmas Around the World and Holidays of Light with displays of decorated trees and a showcase of ethnic culture. Outside the holidays, take a look at one exhibits at the Art Institute or the Field Museum.