Chicago Winter Festivities

People ice skating at Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier.

People ice skating at Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier.

Lauren Norman

The Chicago winter can be brutal, but that doesn’t mean you should miss the super fun activities the city has to offer! From ice skating to festivals, to zoo lights, Chicago makes sure that your winter season doesn’t just consist of hiding from the cold and shoveling snow.

If you’re really into it or even just looking for something fun to do with friends, ice skating is an extremely fun option. There are just under 20 different facilities available to those all over the city. Popular rinks and arenas include Midway Skating Rink, Skating Ribbon, and Millenium Park Skating. Also, something special about Millenium Park is that they also have different events happening like themed ice skating nights, caroling, and seeing the huge 105th City of Chicago Christmas Tree that stands 60-feet tall! So even if you’re not a huge fan of ice skating itself, you won’t find yourself bored here at all, there are many other things to do.

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier is another popular winter activity in Chicago too, with an ice skating rink, cookie decorating, and various rides, this tourist attraction is bound to get you in the winter, holiday spirit. Chasya Love ‘19 used to go when she was younger, “I used to love going to Winter Wonderfest with my family when I was a kid. I remember going ice skating, I used to feel so graceful gliding across the ice. It was a little crowded though, so I’d go to just a regular rink if you wanted to just get some good skating in.” The fest is widely renowned amongst not only Chicago residents, but tourists as well, so it can get a little tight, but it is still well worth it if you can make it!

A personal favorite of mine is the Lincoln Park Zoolights. The website describes it as “The one-of-a-kind experience offers fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebrations that feature luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities…all under the glow of 2.5 million lights,” and it is just that. Aiken Thompson ‘19 has always wanted to go, “I never can make it! I’m making a point to go this year, I really wanted to go last year but life kept getting in the way. All my friends say it’s really fun and for some, it’s even a family tradition! I can’t wait to finally see it this year.” If you’ve never been, this year is the time to go! The 2018 winter hasn’t been nearly as cold as previous years, so throw on a coat, some gloves, and a scarf and go out to see some beautiful animals and spectacular lights.

Those aren’t all the things that there are to do, just a few. If you’re curious as to what more there is to do, you can check the Ultimate Guide to Winter Festivals and Events in the Chicago Area for a list of events. Helen McKnight ‘20 does it every year, “I love going to the winter stuff every year. I just look up the different events and try to make at least one or two. They’re really fun to go with friends and family.” Don’t forget to get out of the house this summer, you can only catch most of the festivities during the December and January months, so act fast! Have fun and remember to stay warm!