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 Park

Skate the quarter-mile ribbon that’s weaved into a multisensory landscape at Maggie Daley Park. Free of admission, this skating experience is unlike any other. Rent 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. Though November and December, stop by Christkindlmarket in the Loop to experience German food, drinks, and diverse 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 yourself to be amazed by the Museum of Science and Industry’s seasonal holiday 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 two nights of Kwanzaa at the DuSable Museum of African American History! The annual celebration features a drum circle and procession.

Zoo Lights

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

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

If you’re looking for inside activities, consider trekking to Navy Pier for the Winter Wonderfest. The festival offers several family-friendly activities like a carousel, indoor skating rink, bumper cars, and hundreds of fully decorated trees.

Hear one of the world’s largest instruments

Hear the second largest instrument in the world right on University of Chicago campus! University of Chicago student musicians give an annual Sleigh Bells concert on the carillon located in the Rockerfeller Memorial Chapel.