The Luxury Living Lifestyle | Things to do in Chicago During the Winter

December 12, 2013 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

This may be my first Chicago winter and I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but I’m not scared. I was born and raised in Northern Michigan, where people not only enjoy the colder seasons, they embrace them.

It’s tempting (especially in Chicago, when it gets dark so early) to come home after work, snuggle up on the couch, and go to bed nice and early. Even on the weekend, it’s hard to find the motivation to venture outside. But there are tons of wonderful things to do in the Windy City all year-long, you just have to wear more layers this season.

Here are a few things to do this winter in Chicago:

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
If you haven’t ventured to Millennium Park for an ice skating adventure yet, you must! Conveniently, the rink offers free ice skating lessons before it opens on Friday through Sunday for those who need a little extra boost of confidence before hitting the ice. Ice skating is free and skate rentals are only $10.

Lincoln Park Conservatory
If you can’t make it to the tropics this year, I recommend visiting the conservatory. This is a great escape from the snow and wind. The conservatory is beautiful and peaceful; it’s a perfect place to sit on a bench to read or finish a crossword puzzle. Plus the Lincoln Park Zoo sits right next door, so you can stop by to see ZooLights.

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Navy Pier is most popular in the summer, but don’t forget about it during the winter. Winter WonderFest is an indoor winter extravaganza that spans 170,000 square feet. Visitors can ride the Ferris wheel, cruise down the zipline, and take a spin in the giant spinning hot cocoa cups. Here’s a tip – you can buy your tickets online ahead of time and avoid the lines.

Chicago French Market
I love Chicago’s farmer’s markets, but it’s way too cold for them to remain open during the winter months. The Chicago French Market lies beneath the Ogilvie Train Station in the West Loop and is the only year-round indoor marketplace allowing you to shop fresh and local. The market features over 30 specialty vendors offering fresh produce and ingredients and delicious dining options. For a real French experience, grab a crepe at FLIP or a macaroon at one of the little bakeries.

While the view of Lake Michigan is a bit different here than at home, I won’t let the cold stop me from enjoying it and neither should you. Bundle up and get back out on the Lakefront Trail or take a walk down Michigan Avenue for some window shopping.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago during the winter?

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