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Enjoy these things to do in winter in Chicago and don't let the weather get you down.
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Things to Do in Chicago During Winter

Dec 19th, 2016

The Windy City is known for several things. Mild, pleasant winters are not one of them. In spite of the biting wind, bitter chill, and lengthy snow season, there are several ways to enjoy yourself and your beloved Chicago this winter. Some of them would hardly even be possible were it not for Chicago’s infamous winter season. The next time Mother Nature’s got you in the throes of the winteblues, cheer yourself up with one of these fun activities.

Ice skate in Millennium Park

There are several places to ice skate outdoors in the Chicago area. McCormick Tribune Rink in Millenium Park, conveniently located between AMLI Lofts and AMLI River North, is a favorite. One perk of skating at this rink is the opportunity to admire downtown Chicago’s finest architecture while gliding on ice. Another is free admission (if you have skates). Pay only one dollar for a locker to store valuables and 2 to rent skates if you need them. McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is open through March 5, 2017, weather permitting. Another spectacular ice rink is the ice ribbon in Maggie Daley Park, just a short walk across Millennium Park from this one.

Get wowed by Lincoln Park ZooLights

Lincoln Park Zoo offers free admission all year long and prides itself on accessibility. ZooLights is also free. Expect the zoo to be decked out in more than two million holiday lights. The zoo also features ice carving demonstrations and 3D light displays, all without charge, and runs through New Year’s Day 2017.

Go for a carriage ride

You may associate the horse-drawn carriage rides you see downtown with tourism. But when holiday lights illuminate building exteriors and snow is falling, a carriage ride along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile can be a treat for even a seasoned Chicago resident. You can catch a ride on Michigan Ave. between Chicago and Pearson, a 15-minute walk from AMLI River North’s downtown Chicago apartments.

Experience Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

Chicago’s iconic lakeside attraction Navy Pier transforms into a winter wonderland for five weeks every holiday season. Winter WonderFest features more than a dozen attractions, ranging from cookie decorating at the Create-a-Cookie Cottage to a festive obstacle course called Polar Extreme. Attendees can also glide on a Chicago Blackhawks-themed skating rink.

Attend a Bulls game

The Chicago Bulls’ season coincides almost perfectly with Chicago’s coldest months. If you’re a basketball fan, escape the chilly air for a couple of hours to watch an action-packed basketball game at United Center. If the Bulls lose, your winter blues may not be cured. But at least you’ll have a few hours of energy-packed excitement and no wind or snow to deal with. The Blackhawks’ season more or less parallels that of the Bulls. And, if you’re able to stand the cold, the Bears have one home game left against the Washington Redskins on December 24.

Lose yourself in a museum exhibit

The highly esteemed Art Institute of Chicago is great to visit during winter for a few reasons. Hints of festive decor pay homage to the season, and the works on display can temporarily transport you to the European countryside or a sunny day on the island of La Grande Jatte in Paris. Other museums offering educational and scintillating exhibits that can help you forget about winter for a while include Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Shedd Aquarium.

Warm up with a Chicago pie

Does piping hot comfort food, served fresh out of the oven, make you happy? If so, dig into a Chicago-style deep dish pizza from Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, Bartoli’s, The Art of Pizza, or your favorite local pizza parlor. This is a great way to warm up following a fun outdoor winter activity.

Feature photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Allan Scott Walker

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