Things to do in the Winter in Chicago

Where to Go When the Weather Gets Cold in Chicago

Chicago is a city with a very long winter, so it's nice to know there are plenty of activities that take advantage of the weather, or are located indoors so you can escape the frigid air. From outdoor ice skating rinks, to indoor museums and shopping venues, below are some of the best activities to enjoy when the weather is cold in Chicago.
Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium
This planetarium and museum focuses on the study of astronomy and astrophysics. It was established in 1930, making it the first planetarium in the country. It is also part of Chicago's Museum Campus. From outside of the museum you can enjoy a skyline view of the city, and when the weather is calm you might even catch it's reflection in the water.
1300 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Bronzeville Children’s Museum
Bronzeville Children’s Museum is the first African American children’s museum in the United States. This unique museum takes visitors on a guided tour through a number of hands-on, interactive exhibits. There are a variety of kid-friendly exhibits including "You Are What You Eat", and the African American Inventors tour. This museum is great for kids between the ages of 3 and 9.
9301 S Stony Island Ave, Bronzeville, Chicago, IL, 60617
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out Things to Do In Chicago on a Rainy Day and Things to Do Just Outside of Chicago.
Chicago Children’s Museum
The Chicago Children's Museum is a world class kid's museum located at Navy Pier. With a Tinkering Lab, WaterWay playground, and the Treehouse Trails, kids can play, build, explore and immerse themselves in a world of imagination. These exhibits are perfect for young kids whose imagination guides their play, and exploration is how they learn.
700 E Grand Ave, Streeterville, Chicago, IL, 60611
Christkindlmarket
This huge German-themed Christmas market is set up in Chicago every holiday season and draws a large crowd. It takes place in both Daley Plaza in central downtown Chicago as well as in Wrigleyville which is a bit to the north of downtown. It's full of vendors selling everything from gifts to holiday-themed food to artwork. Also around is ice skating, more food, kids activities, music, and more.
Daley Plaza, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
Civic Opera House
The Civic Opera House is the second largest opera auditorium in the North America. It is the permanent home of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
20 North Upper Wacker Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60606
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
"The Bean" is a 110 ton stainless steel sculpture that was designed by Anish Kapoor. It's surface is a mirror and the shape of the structure was inspired by a drop of liquid mercury. During the winter months, there is a public ice skating rink surrounding The Bean.
201 E Randolph St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60602
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is an impressive park with a 1/4 mile long ice skating/roller skating ribbon. There's also a 40 ft tall climbing wall and a play garden for kids. The playground includes a pirate ship play structure with slides, rope bridges, and climbing areas. There's also a 18 hole mini golf course in the park.
337 E Randolph St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60601
Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is one of the most famous shopping neighborhoods in the world. It's lined with brand name retail shops, boutique designers, historic hotels, luxury brands, large shopping centers, one-of-a-kind stores, and unique attractions. This neighborhood also has the original American Girl Place, Water Tower Place, and The Drake Hotel where you can enjoy high tea at the historic Palm Court.
Chicago, IL
Chicago has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: A Train Lover's Guide to Chicago and The Best Art Museums in Chicago.
Santa's Village Azoosment and Water Park
Located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, this Christmas themed amusement park includes popular rides such as The Blizzard and the Tri-Nado. There are rides for kids and adults of all ages including a carousel and bumper cars for the young kids. There's also an attached water park with water slides, pools, and an interactive water playground. Animal lovers will appreciate the petting zoo.
601 Dundee Ave, East Dundee, IL, 60118
Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium is Chicago's indoor aquarium with more than 32,000 animals. It's located on Museum Campus and has a number of exhibits that include fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and more.
1200 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Symphony Center
This music complex is home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Institute for Learning, Access, and Training.
220 South Michigan Avenue, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60604
The Chicago Cultural Center
Located in Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center opened in 1897 to house the first Chicago Public Library and to serve as the headquarters for the Grand Army of the Republic. Today it is a free cultural center that hosts a number of free concerts, art exhibits and other activities that are open to the public.
78 E Washington St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60602
The Chicago Theatre
The Chicago Theatre
This famous theatre resides in the heart of Chicago. Visitors will be greeted at the entry with the large and frequently photographed "Chicago" sign out front, and then mesmerized by the gorgeous and historic interior with murals on the ceilings and sculptures throughout. The venue puts on a large number of shows from concerts to theatre productions and plays and musicals throughout the year. If you're in town, grab a ticket to any event and you won't be dissapointed.
175 N State Street, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum is one of the largest national history museums in the world. It has impressive exhibits and educational programs as well as a large collection of specimen and artifacts. The exhibits are diverse and show fossils, cultures, and interactive programming that the whole family can enjoy.
1400 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out Things to Do In Chicago on a Rainy Day.
TheMART
25 stories high and spanning two city blocks, this unique marketplace sits at the intersection of the North, South, and Main branches of the Chicago River. The architects sought to bring together the concept of a warehouse, a department store, and an office building. Within the building you'll find a number of home furnishing showrooms and a large number of tech companies.
222 N. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Near North Side, Chicago, IL
Wrigleyville
Wrigleyville is where you'll find the famous Wrigley Field, which is the second oldest ballpark in the country and home to the Chicago Cubs. Near the stadium you'll find a number of sports bars, souvenir stall, and restaurants. Clark Street is the main drag where you'll find locals and Cubs fans. Also outside of the stadium is Gallagher Way, which is a popular meeting spot for fans, locals, and tourists. There are often farmers markets, outdoor concerts, film screenings, and even a holiday winter wonderland here.
Chicago, IL

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