This Popular Midwest Tourist Destination Is A Great Spot For A Winter Getaway

Many people will take winter vacations in tropical and warm beachside climates to escape the cold. If this is your goal, visiting a Midwestern city like Chicago, Illinois, might be the last option on your list. However, we encourage you to reconsider. Despite the short days and frigid temperatures, winter can paint a city with a unique charm you can't get any other time of the year. While Chicago is known for its chilly weather, these conditions lend themselves to an air of magic throughout the city.

The third largest city in the U.S., Chicago, is a world-famous attraction. Known worldwide for its rich arts and culture scene, you'll never run out of things to do in the windy city. The birthplace of deep-dish pizza and Chicago dogs, you know you can expect nothing but great things from Chi-Town. If you want to embrace the magic of winter, Chicago offers it all — ice skating, holiday festivities, hot cocoa, and more.

Winter activities in the windy city

Unlike most outdoor activities, sledding and ice skating are only plausible in the yearly window of snowy, below-freezing weather. Chicago does an incredible job at seizing this seasonal opportunity and making the most of it. Probably one of the most spectacular ice skating experiences in the country lies at the heart of the city. Every year, Millennium Park props up one of the city's largest ice skating rinks. Open to the public from November to March, over 100,000 visitors glide through the arena. The location is unbeatable, with Chicago's awe-inspiring skyscrapers towering over skaters. Entrance onto the rink is free with a reservation, and skate rentals are available on-site.

If you're with kiddos or consider yourself a kid at heart, you will not want to miss out on the city's sledding opportunities. Scattered throughout the city are a variety of hills designated for snowy thrill rides. Perhaps the most famous selection is the hill at Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center. This 200-foot hill boasts a beautiful view of Downtown Chicago. It is well-lit and staffed through the evenings. However, before you head there, call the center and ensure it is open for sledding.

Special winter events

Of course, with the winter comes a lineup of holiday festivities. A bustling metropolitan city, every month in Chicago, offers up a long list of exhibitions, shows, and other events to attend. The Chicago Theatre District is always hosting a variety of top-notch productions. Check out the show calendars at Chicago's Broadway theatres like CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, and Cadillac Palace Theatre. See seasonal productions like "The Snow Queen" or "A Christmas Carol." A night at the theatre is a perfect way to evade the snowy weather.

If you want to get in the holiday spirit, Chicago offers a handful of spectacular light displays. The Chicago Zoo decorates its park with a multitude of gorgeous light designs and opens its gates in the evening for visitors to walk through in amazement. This can be seen at any point from November to January. However, one light event you won't want to miss only happens once a year — The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Hosted by The Walt Disney World Resort, this holiday light parade goes above and beyond, offering live music, magical parade floats, and a whopping 1 million light installations along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. If you want the quintessential winter experience, bundle up and book your trip to Chicago.