If you’re in Chicago and you let the cold weather keep you inside, you’ll be missing out on some of the most classic winter activities! Brave the outdoors and experience the thrill of a Midwestern winter by checking out these Chicago activities you can’t find anywhere else.


Ice Skating at Maggie Daley or Millenium Park

Skate the quarter-mile ribbon that weaves through scenic Maggie Daley Park with a view of the Chicago skyline. You can also visit the McCormick Tribune skating rink  at  Millennium Park, where you can see the city's towering Christmas tree and take a holiday selfie at The Bean. Reserve your spot, rent some skates, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while you’re there!


This outdoor market inspired by German tradition has become a winter staple for Chicagoans. Thoughout December, stop by Christkindlmarket in the Loop to experience German food, drinks, and other holiday entertainment.

The Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry

If you’re looking to stay near Hyde Park, prepare to be amazed by the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World Exhibit. The demonstration showcases more than 50 trees and displays decorated to represent holiday traditions from cultures around the globe.

Kwanzaa Celebration at the DuSable Museum

Celebrate Kwanzaa at the DuSable Museum of African American History! The annual celebration features a drum circle, marketplace, and storytelling for children.

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

The Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Festival is a celebration that features holiday light displays throughout the zoo. You can walk through the zoo light exhibition all December and early January!

Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier

Experience the magic of Navy Pier's Light Up The Lake with interactive light displays, a whimsical skating rink, journeys through the Winter Wonderfest Forest, visits with Santa, and more.