Top 10 Winter Activities to Do in the Chicago Area with Age Recommendations and Pricing

Top 10 Chicago Winter Activities

The city of Chicago embraces the magic of winter in a way that no other city in the US can match. With a wide array of activities to enjoy during the colder months, you can enjoy activities such as ice skating and exploring holiday markets. Chicago has something for everyone when it comes to winter fun. In this article, we’ll explore the top ten winter activities to do in the Chicago area, including recommended age groups, whether children are allowed, and approximate pricing.

1. Ice Skating at Millennium Park:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Free admission, skate rentals around $13-$15
Ticket Information: Skate rentals and tickets can be purchased in person at the rink or online through the Millennium Park website.

When winter arrives in Chicago, one of the most iconic activities is ice skating at Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. Nestled in the heart of downtown Chicago, this outdoor rink provides a magical experience with the city’s stunning skyline as your backdrop. Admission is free, and skate rentals are available for a reasonable fee. Glide across the ice for a quintessential Chicago winter experience.

2. Visit the Lincoln Park ZooLights:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Free admission, parking fees may apply
Ticket Information: Admission is free, and tickets are not required. Parking can be paid for at the entrance or online in advance for convenience.

During the holiday season, the Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with its annual ZooLights event. Stroll through the zoo as it dazzles with millions of twinkling lights, festive displays, and seasonal music. It’s a family-friendly activity that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit. The best part is that admission is free, making it an affordable way to enjoy the magic of the season.

3. Winter Wonderland at Maggie Daley Park:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Free admission, skate rentals around $16-$20
Ticket Information: Admission to the park and ice skating is free. Skate rentals can be arranged in person at the park.

Maggie Daley Park, located just east of Millennium Park, offers a wide range of winter activities. From November through March, the park’s Winter Wonderland features an ice skating ribbon that winds its way through a beautifully landscaped park. The ribbon offers a unique skating experience as you glide through curves and enjoy scenic views. In addition to ice skating, the park has a cozy warming center and a variety of food and beverage options to keep you warm and energized during your visit. Additional activities at Maggie Daley Park include A Climbing Wall, Fieldhouse, Mini Golf, Play Garden, Picnic Groves, Roller Blades, Micro Scooters & Bungee, Ice Skating Ribbon (November 17th Opening Day), Tennis Courts, and the Cancer Survivors’ Garden.

4. Chicago’s Holiday Markets:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Varies; food and gift prices vary at markets
Ticket Information: Most holiday markets do not require tickets for entry. You can purchase food, beverages, and gifts directly from vendors at the markets.

Chicago’s holiday markets are a great way to get into the festive spirit while enjoying the city’s diverse culinary scene. The Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza is a German-inspired market that features traditional food, drinks, and artisanal gifts. Another popular option is the Randolph Street Market’s Holiday Market, which offers a curated selection of vintage and handmade items, perfect for finding unique gifts for your loved ones.

5. Winter Sports at Northerly Island:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Free admission; bring your equipment or rent snowshoes/skis
Ticket Information: There are no tickets required for winter sports at Northerly Island. You can bring your equipment or rent it on-site.

For those seeking outdoor adventure, Northerly Island offers opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and bird watching. This urban oasis provides a serene escape from the bustling city, surrounded by the beauty of Lake Michigan. It’s a hidden gem for winter enthusiasts.

6. Architecture River Tour:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes, but may be more suitable for older children
Approximate Pricing: Varies, typically between $30-$50 per person
Ticket Information: Tickets for the Architecture River Tour can be purchased online through tour companies’ websites or in person at designated ticket booths.

Discover the architectural marvels of Chicago in a unique way by taking an Architecture River Tour. Even in winter, these boat tours offer stunning views of the city’s iconic skyscrapers along the Chicago River. Learn about the rich history and architectural significance of the city’s buildings while staying cozy and warm on the boat.

7. Gangsters and Ghosts Tour:

Recommended Age Group: Older teens and adults
Children Allowed: Typically not recommended for young children
Approximate Pricing: Varies, typically between $30-$40 per person
Ticket Information: Reservations for the Gangsters and Ghosts Tour can be made online through tour providers’ websites. Some tours also offer ticket purchase on-site, but it’s advisable to book in advance.

Delve into Chicago’s intriguing history with a Gangsters and Ghosts Tour. Explore the city’s notorious past, including the era of gangsters like Al Capone, and uncover tales of haunted locations. This chilling tour is a blend of history and mystery, perfect for those who love a good ghost story.

8. Navy Pier and Centennial Wheel:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Centennial Wheel tickets range from $13-$18 per person
Ticket Information: Tickets for the Centennial Wheel can be purchased online through the Navy Pier website or in person at the pier.

Navy Pier is a year-round attraction, and during winter, it offers a unique charm. Take a ride on the Centennial Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel offering breathtaking views of the city and Lake Michigan. The pier also hosts seasonal events and activities, making it a vibrant winter destination.

9. Skyline Lake Tour:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Varies, typically between $30-$50 per person
Ticket Information: Tickets for Skyline Lake Tours can be booked online through tour operators’ websites or purchased in person at the departure point.

Embark on a Skyline Lake Tour to witness Chicago’s skyline from a different perspective. These boat tours take you out on Lake Michigan, providing stunning views of the city’s towering skyscrapers against the backdrop of the lake. It’s a picturesque experience that’s equally enchanting in winter.

10. Skydeck Chicago:

Recommended Age Group: All ages
Children Allowed: Yes
Approximate Pricing: Tickets range from $27-$40 per person
Ticket Information: Tickets for Skydeck Chicago can be purchased online through the Skydeck’s official website or at the ticket counter upon arrival at Willis Tower.

For the ultimate winter thrill, visit Skydeck Chicago. Located in the iconic Willis Tower, Skydeck offers breathtaking views from the 103rd floor. Step out onto “The Ledge,” a glass balcony that extends from the building, providing a spine-tingling view of the city below, even in the winter chill.

Chicago winters are not to be missed, as the city comes alive with a wealth of activities and attractions suitable for all ages. Whether you’re gliding across the ice, exploring the architectural wonders, or braving ghostly tales, there’s no shortage of winter adventures to be had in the Windy City.Make your plans, and get ready to bundle up and create amazing and unforgettable memories touring beautiful Chicago this winter season.

Take advantage and discover the beautiful wintry side of charming Chicago? Book your limousine or party bus today and indulge in all that it has to offer!

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