Top 10 Family-Friendly Winter Activities in Chicago

4 Sep

Looking for the perfect winter activities to enjoy with your family in Chicago? Well, look no further! We’ve got you covered with our top 10 family-friendly winter activities.

Are you ready to make unforgettable memories as a family? From ice skating at Millennium Park to exploring the Museum of Science and Industry, there’s something for everyone.

So, why wait? Let’s dive into this winter wonderland and experience the magic together!

Key Takeaways

  • Ice Skating at Millennium Park
  • Visiting the Lincoln Park ZooLights
  • Sledding at the Soldier Field Winterland
  • Enjoying the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

An image capturing the magic of ice skating at Millennium Park in Chicago

You can lace up your skates and hit the ice at Millennium Park’s ice skating rink. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a day of winter fun with your family.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there’s something for everyone here. As you glide across the smooth ice, you can practice your ice skating techniques and improve your skills.

The rink is spacious and well-maintained, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all ages. If you don’t have your own skates, don’t worry! You can rent the best ice skating equipment right on site. From figure skates to hockey skates, they have everything you need to make the most of your time on the ice.

Visiting the Lincoln Park ZooLights

Don’t miss out on the magical experience of visiting the Lincoln Park ZooLights this winter! It’s a festive event that brings joy to all who attend.

Here are some must-see attractions at the event:

  1. Twinkling Lights: The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland, with millions of sparkling lights illuminating the trees and walkways. It’s truly enchanting.
  2. Animal Encounters: While most of the animals are not visible during the evening hours, you can still catch glimpses of some nocturnal creatures like owls and bats. It adds an extra element of excitement to your visit.
  3. Ice Carvings: Marvel at the intricate ice sculptures created by talented artists. From playful animals to elegant designs, these frozen masterpieces are sure to impress.
  4. Holiday Music: As you stroll through the zoo, enjoy the festive tunes playing in the background. It sets a cheerful atmosphere and adds to the overall holiday spirit.

The best time to visit is in the evening when all the lights are aglow. Bundle up, grab a hot chocolate, and immerse yourself in this delightful winter experience at Lincoln Park ZooLights!

Exploring the Museum of Science and Industry

Exploring the Museum of Science and Industry is an educational and interactive experience that captivates visitors of all ages. From the moment you step inside, you are greeted with a world of knowledge and wonder. The museum boasts numerous exhibits and interactive displays that allow visitors to learn about science and technology in a hands-on way. Kids especially will love the opportunity to engage in various activities that spark their curiosity and ignite their imagination.

One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of historical artifacts, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the past. From vintage cars to aircrafts, these relics tell stories of innovation and progress. Additionally, there are science experiments happening throughout the day, where visitors can participate and witness scientific concepts come to life.

A museum tour is highly recommended as it allows you to navigate through different areas seamlessly while learning interesting facts from knowledgeable guides. Whether you’re exploring exhibits on space exploration or delving into the world of genetics, every corner offers something new to discover.

Overall, visiting the Museum of Science and Industry promises an educational experience like no other. It’s an engaging journey filled with interactive learning opportunities that will leave you inspired by science’s wonders.

Sledding at the Soldier Field Winterland

An image showcasing a group of smiling families sledding down the snowy hills at the Soldier Field Winterland

Get ready to fly down the snowy slopes and experience the thrill of sledding at Soldier Field Winterland. This family-friendly winter wonderland offers a variety of activities that will keep everyone entertained.

Here are four reasons why you should visit Soldier Field Winterland:

  1. Sledding: Grab your sled and zoom down the exhilarating slopes, feeling the rush of wind against your face as you race to the bottom.
  2. Hot Chocolate: After an exciting day on the hills, warm up with a delicious cup of hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows and whipped cream.
  3. Ice Skating: Lace up your skates and glide across the ice at Soldier Field Winterland’s ice rink, surrounded by twinkling lights and festive decorations.
  4. Snowball fights: Engage in friendly competition with friends and family as you engage in epic snowball fights in designated areas.

Soldier Field Winterland is the perfect place to create lasting memories with loved ones while enjoying all that winter has to offer. So bundle up, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready for a day filled with laughter and fun!

Enjoying the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

When you visit Navy Pier, you’ll have a blast enjoying the Winter Wonderfest. This annual event is a winter wonderland of fun and excitement for the whole family.

One of the highlights of the Navy Pier Winterfest is ice skating at Navy Pier. Lace up your skates and glide across the ice while taking in breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. The rink is spacious and well-maintained, perfect for both beginners and experienced skaters.

Whether you’re twirling with grace or holding onto the rail for dear life, ice skating at Navy Pier is an experience that will create lasting memories. So grab your gloves, bundle up in your warmest winter gear, and get ready to hit the ice at Navy Pier Winterfest!

Watching a Holiday Show at the Goodman Theatre

An image featuring a cozy theatre adorned with sparkling holiday lights, filled with families wearing winter attire, captivated by a heartwarming performance at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to watch a holiday show at the Goodman Theatre. It’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the festive spirit and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Here are four reasons why watching a holiday show at the Goodman Theatre is a must-do activity for families:

  1. Captivating Performances: The talented actors and actresses will transport you into enchanting worlds filled with music, dance, and heartwarming stories.
  2. Magical Ambiance: The theater is beautifully decorated, creating a cozy and magical atmosphere that will make you feel like you’re stepping into a winter wonderland.
  3. Variety of Shows: From classic tales like ‘A Christmas Carol’ to new and exciting productions, the Goodman Theatre offers something for everyone’s taste.
  4. Shared Experience: Watching a holiday show together as a family creates cherished memories that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Going on a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride in the City

An image capturing the magical essence of a horse-drawn carriage ride through Chicago's snowy streets

Hop aboard a horse-drawn carriage and enjoy a delightful ride through the city, where you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of the bustling streets. A horse-drawn carriage is not just a historical charm but also a popular tourist attraction, giving families an opportunity to experience something unique and memorable.

As you sit back and relax on the comfortable seats, you can listen to the rhythmic clip-clop of the horse’s hooves against the pavement. The gentle sway of the carriage adds to the enchanting ambiance as you pass by iconic landmarks and architectural wonders. It’s a wonderful way for families to bond and create lasting memories together.

Children will be thrilled by this magical mode of transportation, feeling like they’ve stepped into a fairytale. So why not embrace this timeless tradition and indulge in a horse-drawn carriage ride with your loved ones?

Discovering the Indoor Exhibits at the Shedd Aquarium

An image capturing the awe-inspiring moment of a child standing in front of a massive floor-to-ceiling glass tank, mesmerized by colorful tropical fish gliding gracefully through the water at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

Step inside the Shedd Aquarium and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of underwater creatures. As you explore this incredible indoor exhibit, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with a variety of aquatic animals and learn about their unique characteristics.

Here are four reasons why visiting the Shedd Aquarium is a must-do activity:

  1. Get up close and personal: Dive into the oceanic wonders as you come face-to-face with majestic sharks, playful dolphins, and graceful sea turtles. You can even touch stingrays in the interactive Stingray Touch exhibit.
  2. Discover diverse habitats: From the Amazon rainforest to the Pacific Northwest coast, experience different ecosystems through captivating exhibits that showcase a wide range of marine life.
  3. Learn from experts: Engage with knowledgeable staff members who are passionate about marine conservation and eager to share fascinating facts about each species.
  4. Participate in educational programs: Take part in hands-on activities like animal feedings, behind-the-scenes tours, and educational presentations that offer an immersive learning experience for all ages.

Trying Out Indoor Rock Climbing at Maggie Daley Park

If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure, you’ll love trying out the indoor rock climbing at Maggie Daley Park. This exhilarating activity offers numerous benefits for both kids and adults alike. Not only does it provide an excellent full-body workout, but it also helps improve strength, coordination, and mental focus. Indoor rock climbing is a great way to challenge yourself and conquer your fears in a safe and controlled environment.

To make the most of your indoor rock climbing experience, here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, always warm up before starting your climb to prevent injuries. Secondly, be sure to wear comfortable clothing that allows for freedom of movement. Don’t forget to bring along a pair of sturdy climbing shoes as well.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance from experienced climbers or instructors if you’re new to rock climbing. They can offer valuable tips on technique and safety precautions.

Taking a Winter Architecture Boat Tour on the Chicago River

An image capturing the magical experience of a Winter Architecture Boat Tour on the Chicago River

Don’t miss out on the chance to take a winter architecture boat tour on the Chicago River! It’s an experience that combines stunning views with fascinating history. Here are four reasons why you should hop aboard:

  1. Breathtaking Architecture: Marvel at the iconic buildings that line the river, such as the Willis Tower and Wrigley Building. Learn about their design and significance from knowledgeable guides.
  2. Unique Perspective: Seeing these architectural wonders from a boat offers a fresh perspective and allows you to fully appreciate their grandeur. The river provides a tranquil setting for your adventure.
  3. Captivating Narration: Expert guides will share captivating stories and historical facts about Chicago’s rich architectural heritage. You’ll gain insights into how this city became known as the birthplace of modern skyscrapers.
  4. Winter Charm: While chilly, winter adds a magical touch to these tours. The river may be partially frozen, creating a picturesque backdrop for your journey.


In conclusion, Chicago offers a plethora of family-friendly winter activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained and in high spirits.

From gliding gracefully on ice at Millennium Park to marveling at the dazzling lights of the Lincoln Park ZooLights, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t miss out on exploring the wonders of science at the Museum of Science and Industry or taking a thrilling ride down the snowy slopes at Soldier Field Winterland.

And for a truly magical experience, don’t forget to visit Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city.

So bundle up, embrace the cold, and create lasting memories in this vibrant city by the lake!

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