Fun Things to Do in Chicago in Winter

Fun Things to Do in Chicago in Winter
Tourists often choose to visit Chicago during the winter months so that they can enjoy the magic of the season. According to USA Today, Chicago hotels are booked around 60 percent during the winter months. The city tries to entice visitors by running specials at Millennium Park, various museums and hotels. Families often enjoy these discounted rates because Chicago is less crowded; they do not have to wait as long in restaurants, shops or other attractions.

McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink

Located inside Millennium Park, the McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink entices more than 100,000 skaters each year. After operating for nine years, the rink opens the third Wednesday in November and closes the second Sunday in March. Admission is free, and you may rent ice skates for $10 per pair as of 2009. After enjoying a leisurely skate around the rink, stop by the Park Cafe for some hot chocolate to warm you up.

McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink
55 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-5222
www.millenniumpark.org/artandarchitecture/mccormick_tribune.html

Villa Olivia Country Club

Villa Olivia features outdoor fun for the entire family; it's right near Chicago. It has the ability to make its own snow if needed, and it offers skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Ski lessons are also available for children. You also need a slope ticket for snowboarding, but not for tubing.

Villa Olivia Country Club
Route 20 & Naperville Road
Bartlett, IL 60103-1632
(630) 289-1000
www.villaolivia.com/skiinfo.html

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Held annually each year on the third Saturday in November, this event kicks off the holiday shopping season in Chicago. Wander down the Magnificent Mile to gaze at the Southwest Airlines mitten tree, or taste free cheesecake from Eli's Cheesecake. Visit Santa Claus in front of the 900 Shops, or take the children to visit the new American Girl Place. After starting your Christmas shopping, watch Mickey Mouse and his friends begin the lights ceremony of over 1,000,000 lights and the dazzling fireworks over the Chicago river.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
625 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 401
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 642-3570
www.magnificentmilelightsfestival.com

Winter Wonderfest

This yearly festival occurs each December at Navy pier, and it includes fun for the entire family. Navy Pier is transformed into an indoor winter carnival. There are rides, games, live entertainment and ice skating. Some guests prefer the traditional ferris wheel, while others opt to ride the Reindeer Express Train or play inflatable games. Children may also email Santa Clause their wish list in the eWish Center if he isn't there.

Navy Pier
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-PIER
www.winterwonderfest.com

Article Written By Laura Nowak

Laura Nowak is a freelance writer who combines her love of travel and research to write travel articles. She has been published in various print and online publications, including the "Western Herald," where she wrote arts and entertainment articles. Nowak earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in practical writing from Western Michigan University.

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