Swing From The Trees At North Americas Largest Aerial Adventure Course
From outdoor adventure courses and trail-running to laser tag and escape rooms, The Forge: Lemont Quarries certainly isnt lacking when it comes to fall-centric outdoor entertainment. If thats not enough, you can also fill up on cheffy cuisine paired with scenic views at the Forgefire experience. Suddenly, a trip to the burbs isnt such a terrible idea.
Weather In Chicago In Winter
If youre wondering about the Chicago winter temperature, yes it will be cold. The Chicago weather in winter gets pretty cold, and may sometimes even go into the minus degree, so be prepared for it, and there are very few chances of a winter storm in Chicago. All in all, its the perfect weather for some warm beverages, cuddling up with your loved one, and exploring right from the churches to the amazing casinos in Chicago that happens to be the most beautiful city in the USA.
A few people may be wondering whats so special about travelling to Chicago in winter and why you should pick this season to visit, over any other time of the year. We have some of the top reasons why Chicago should you be your next winter vacation destination:
- It is less crowded in the winters
- The festive Christmas spirit is surely a sight to see
- The city is all lit up during December
- The hotels and airfares are much cheaper during this time since its not peak season
- The beautiful snow-capped city skylines makes for a breathtaking view during Chicago winter travel
Monumental Arts And Culture
Chicago is renowned for its cultural offerings with more than 60 museums and a dedicated Museum Campus, home to , and Adler Planetarium. Don’t miss the , containing 300,000 works in its permanent collection, and Museum of Science and Industry, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
As the only U.S. city with five regional Tony Award-winning theaters Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Lookingglass, Victory Gardens and Steppenwolf Chicagos theater scene takes center stage. You can catch shows at more than 200 venues in addition to performances from esteemed companies such as Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
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Stroll Across Navy Pier
Stretching out onto Lake Michigan, with its iconic Ferris wheel, is Chicagos Navy Pier. Here, youll be able to enjoy plenty of little boutique shops, yummy restaurants, gardens, seasonal exhibitions, and age-old attractions as you make your way along the whole pier.
Just over 100 years old, its one of the best things to do in Chicago if you want some time to chill. Plus, over the summer months, the Navy Pier has some epic fireworks to watch and are totally amazing. Check out their schedule for their fireworks nights, here.
Also, for a yummy and totally iconic place to eat, reserve a table at 3 Arts Club Cafe. Its stunning and the food is so delicious.
Night Activities Included In Tourist Passes
As we mentioned above in the FREE section, getting a tourist attraction discount pass can save you considerable money, especially when it comes to night activities.
Be sure to read our post comparing the different tourist discount passes.
All passes include night attractions and activities, though some passes have more than others.
In general, tourist passes include at least a few, if not nearly all, of these Top Ten nighttime attractions that stay open daily until at least 9 or 10 pm, if not later.
- Navy Pier Centennial Wheel & Ride
- The Escape Game Chicago
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Stony Island Arts Bank
- An old bank that was converted into an art gallery and media archive.
- It has free art exhibitions on the ground floor showcasing some of the best parts of the citys media history.
- A great place to experience a slice of Chicagos past.
Why its so awesome: Sometimes we forget that the internet and CDs and online music havent always existed. In reality, these things are fairly new, and not so long ago there were other ways for artists to share their work with the world. And this is the place where you can experience that slice of the past and gain an appreciation for the changes and how lucky we are to live in an age driven by technology.
What to do there: Firstly, spend some time on the bottom floor and take in the art, which often showcases some of the best artists in the US. And when youre done with that, go upstairs to see the permanent collections. Youll see record collections, slides from Chicago University, and other ways that people showed off their work in times gone by.
Best Neighborhood For Restaurants
The three neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown and Ukrainian Village in the larger area of West Town are trendy, hot property. Hip record stores, thrift shops and cocktail lounges have shot up, though vintage Eastern European dive bars linger on many side-street corners. Wicker Park is the more commercial heart it’s flanked by Bucktown , Ukrainian Village and East Village , and smaller Noble Square. The restaurant and rock-club scene around here is unparalleled in the city.
There aren’t many traditional sights here, though art galleries, onion-domed churches, a couple of national/ethnic museums and writer Nelson Algren’s house keep it interesting. Walking or cycling the 606 trail is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.
For hostels, B& Bs and apartment rentals away from the tourist masses, this is your neighborhood. Everything is near buzzy nightlife and trendy shops, plus it’s only a 15-minute L ride to get downtown. Trendy restaurants open almost every day, with many serving nouveau takes on classic comfort food. Division Street is a bountiful vein of snazzy bistros and pubs, many of which have sidewalk seating.
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Spot Constellations At The Adler Planetarium
Boasting the title of the first of its kind in North America, the Adler Planetarium is an unrivaled insight into the worlds of space and astronomy.
Old telescopes, moon rocks, a Gemini Capsule, and even a section on the moon landing rover cap off an extensive list of artifacts. Likewise, the interactive exhibits and live stargazing shows are second to none.
The planetarium sits on the northeast tip of Northerly Island, a location that offers arguably the best land-based panoramic view of the citys skyline.
Window Shop Along The Magnificent Mile
When shoppers visit Chicago, they make a bee line to the Magnificent Mile. The shopping mecca of the Midwest is located on Michigan Avenue between Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River. On the mile, you can browse in luxury retail outlets such as Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. While you make your way along the shops and restaurants, take a look up. You will be amazed when you see the spectacular architecture that Chicago is known for including Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building and the Historic Water Tower.
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Go See Some Live Music
Music venues around town have reopened for live events, with heavy hitters City Winery, Carols, , Rosas, Reggies, Green Mill, Montrose Saloon, Uncommon Ground, FitzGeralds, Kingston Mines, and Empty Bottle leading the charge. So what the hell are you waiting for? If youre looking for something with a more romantic vibe, check out the candlelight concert series from Fever and catch classical music in unique outposts like Stan Mansion and Salvage One. Pretty hard to screw up that date night.
See A Broadway Show At James M Nederlander Theatre
Once a movie palace and vaudeville venue, the James M. Nederlander Theatre was recommissioned and restored to its original purpose: musical theatre!
Now, the decadent venue hosts a slew of Broadway shows, each more entertaining than the last.
Thanks to its central location near restaurants, bars, shops, and Millenium Park, its easy to spend a whole day without walking too far.
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Mob And Crime Bus Tour
Now their misdeeds are in the distant past, theres no denying the fascination evoked by Chicagos prohibition-era mobsters.
Names like Al Capone, Bugs Moran and Dion Johnny Torrio remain household names.
The city has changed so much in the last century that youd never guess that benign looking neighbourhoods witnessed a bitter war that claimed scores of lives in the 1920s and 30s.
So you have to turn to local historians, and GetYourGuide.com offers a 90-minute Mob and Crime Bus Tour.
This uncovers the dark past of the Windy City, profiling notorious men like Capone and John Dillinger.
Youll visit the site of the Valentines Day Massacre and the Biograph Theatre, where Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents.
Ride The Ferris Wheel On Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a hub of fun for all ages in downtown Chicago. The pier is a big city amusement park that extends out onto Lake Michigan. See the world famous Chicago skyline from the top of the 196 foot tall Ferris wheel. You can also play 18 holes of miniature golf right on the pier. The kids will love the Chicago Childrens Museum, which has many hands on exhibits such as firetrucks and treehouses. For adults, Navy Pier has the Miller Lite Beer Garden and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for entertainment.
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Watch The Chicago Bulls Play At The United Center
With the legacy of Michael Jordan etched into NBA and sporting folklore, the Chicago locals absolutely adore their Bulls.
The teams regular home games are played at the United Center and run from October to April presenting a fantastic opportunity to escape the wind and the cold.
In terms of getting there, the Blue Line which stretches through Downtown drops you off within walking distance.
Joy Yee’s Noodle Shop
Address: 2139 S China PlacePhone: 328-0001Website
Joy Yee’s Noodle Shop has perhaps the most expansive menu of noodles in Chicago. The restaurant has three locations, one in Chicago’s Chinatown and two suburban outposts in Evanston and Naperville. Joy Yee’s was among the first places in Chicago where patrons could get Taiwanese-style bubble tee.
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Fashion Outlets Of Chicago
If you’re looking for a deal, head to the suburb of Rosemont where you’ll find retailers including Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, Gucci, and Saks Fifth Avenue’s Off 5th of Rosemont where you’ll find the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. It’s only a half-mile from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, making it perfect for a long layover shopping spree.
The Signature Lounge A Great Place To Visit In Chicago At Night
- An iconic bar.
- Panoramic views of the city at night that you can take in through the floor to ceiling windows.
- A long popular bar with great cocktails.
Why its so awesome: Taking in the lights of a city at night is amazing and its even better when you can do it with a drink in your hand. This bar, located at 875 N Michigan Avenue, has been the place to look at the lights with a drink in hand for years. Locals never get sick of that view, and neither will you once you relax and take it in.
What to do there: This is a place to relax, order your favorite drink, and take in the lights. Its located on the 96th floor above the Hancock Observatory. So, rather than paying the entrance fee to the Observatory, just pay for your drink and take in the view from a comfortable chair.
Heading to Chicago just for a weekend? Check out our Weekend in Chicago Guide!
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Enjoy Dinner And A Show At Tommy Guns Garage
So long as you recall the entry password, a night of glamour, history, laughs, and intrigue awaits at Tommy Guns Garage.
As soon as you step through that front door, youll be transported back to the roaring 20s, a time when gangsters, flappers, and jazz ruled the streets.
While the dinner is delicious, the selling point is undoubtedly the entertainment. Song, dance, comedy, and even audience participation ring through the evening.
Jackson Park Quite The Quirky Place In Chicago
- Home to one of Yoko Onos quirky creations.
- A very photogenic place where you can take a more unusual picture of your travels.
- Great for art lovers.
Why its so awesome: Yoko Ono is a controversial figure even today, and most people dont even know that she was also an artist in her own right. This display of her work in the Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park is an indication of her talent and her vision. its become a major draw for tourists in recent years, so make sure you check out what all the hype is about.
What to do there: Take a photo next to one of the quirky, slightly strange looking installations before you move on to explore other parts of the garden. Theres actually a beautiful Japanese garden known as the Osaka Japanese Garden in the park as well. Its laid out in a traditional style and is a relaxing, restorative place to spend some time.
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Embrace Winter In Chicago By Exploring These Vibrant Neighborhoods
With steely skyscrapers, lakefront beaches and world-class museums, Chicago will blow you away with its low-key yet highly cultured awesomeness. The city center is an architectural wonder, but its Chicagos mural-splashed neighborhoods full of inventive restaurants, fringe theaters and sociable dive bars that will create lasting memories of your time in the Windy City.
Here are the best neighborhoods to explore on your trip to Chicago this winter where you’ll have one of the crowds and you’ll see the city in whole different light.
Back In Time On A Prohibition Tour
The Windy City has always been known for its ties to the mob.
With a lively guide dressed as a Chicago gangster, visitors will zoom around town on a private bus, stopping into around 10 relevant sites like the Biograph Theater, Holy Name Cathedral, and St. Valentines Day Massacre.
Throughout the two-hour tour, youll hear all the stories of the decorated mobsters that ruled the town in the Prohibition Era .
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