5 Things To Do in Chicagoland This Winter
When life gives you lemons, make vodka lemonade, right?
Here are my top 5 things to do in the Chicagoland area this winter to embrace the season and give you an excuse to sip a Peppermint Patty by the fire later.
When I was little, we used to go to Hoyt Park in good ol' Saginaw, Michigan- it was where EVERYONE went when the snow started to fall. It would get so busy that everyone eventually just ran into each other- no helmets, no padding, we just crashed and hoped for the best (yay anti-helicopter parenting!).
My husband and I have been wondering where to go sledding in the Chicago area for the past few years. Our kids are finally old enough to not get totally crushed and truly enjoy it, so we are ready to suit up and take a run. Turns out Chicago is kinda....flat.
Luckily, the fabulous folks at Rosemont have transformed the MB Financial Park into Frozemont- a family-friendly frozen affair. The two main attractions are ice skating on the NHL-sized rink and a 2-story tubing run called Polar Peak. I managed to tie on some skates with my mom and 4 year old (yes, I had to hold BOTH of them up as we skated around the rink...but hey, we made one lap!). Polar Peak delayed opening because of the unseasonably warm temps but I hope to head back with the kids soon. Here are the details:
Polar Peak Times through 1/31; tickets are $3/run:
Wednesday – Friday: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Ice Skating Times through 2/28; admission is free, skate rental is $8:
Sundays and holidays only; check website for more info.
2. The Dells
Really? Is the Dells Chicagoland? I don't care. The drive is a quick jaunt- about as long as it takes to get downtown in crazy traffic sometimes (just over 3 hours, and yes, that has happened). I love Wilderness Resort- we go there over Valentine's Weekend every year with another couple and their kids, and it is a weekend we truly look forward to. There is something for everyone- splash pools for the littles, lazy river for the toddlers/preschoolers, waterslides varying in intensity for the elementary & high school crowd, and a whole lotta cocktails for the adults. Like, spring break yard glass type cocktails :)
We rent a massive 4 bedroom cabin for the families and have a blast with movie night after we are done with the park for the day. The park does get crowded so if you can go mid-week there are some great deals. Check out Wilderness Resort here!
3. Sleep with the Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo
I have heard of fun places to camp out during the summer, but this one takes place in the chilly months of winter! Grab your sleeping bags and prepare for an educational and exciting evening. Dinner is included, and events include a glimpse of the nighttime routines of animals, games and stories. No tent required. Check out the site for more info and registration.
February 20-21 OR March 12-13; appropriate for kids age 5-12, one adult must accompany
|Photo- Lincoln Park Zoo website|
4. The World's Largest Indoor Bar Crawl
I didn't say that you had to bring the kids to all of these events, did I? Here is something to relive that 20something period of your life. The 10 bars along Navy Pier are hosting a Mardi Gras crawl with live music, games, beads and debauchery (just assuming). The best part? You don't have to set foot outside- feel free to roam Navy Pier, drink in hand, and never expose your cheeks to the crazy weather. Oh, and from the looks of it...they have a few throwback drinking games (I say throwback, but the majority of the people who attend this event are probably in their early 20s...but who cares!)
Saturday, February 6th 2pm-8pm
Tickets: $30 + $3.60 fee (group sales available for a discount)
For more information or to purchase tickets, head on over here.
5. Frost Fest Craft Beer Festival
Yep, this one's outside!! Under a block long heated tent at Halsted & Waveland, sip samples from 41 local brewers, snack on food truck delights, and dance the cold away. Dress in your fave flanels, Stormy Kromers and snow boots. Wristband includes 15 3-oz. sample pours.
Saturday, February 27th; 1pm-4pm OR 6pm-9pm
Tickets: $35 + $4.66 fee
Grab tickets in advance here!
6. Good Food Festival
Ok, so you have had your fill of alcoholic beverages, now time to round out with a healthier option. The Good Food Festival is just that- a celebration of Good Food! "What is good food? I think Greektown Gyro is good food...pretty subjective," I thought when I first read the description. Apparently, Good Food= local, sustainable, humane and fair. Ok, I'm down with that.
|Chef Demo by Rick Bayless; photo via goodfoodoneverytable.org|
Saturday, March 26th @ UIC Pavillion
$10 + $1.49 fee for entry into Saturday's festival; check out the other options for education and networking as well