Chicago may not be the first winter travel destination that comes to mind for most tourists, but there are a lot of amazing things to see and do in the city if you are willing to brave the cold. Here is a look at some of the best winter attractions in Chicago.
1. Ice Skating at Millennium Park
Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations year-round. In the winter it is home to an outdoor ice-skating rink that boasts a view of the city’s famous Michigan Avenue. Skating season begins in November, just in time for the holidays. If you are looking for a spectacular view, go skating after sundown. The lights of downtown create a breathtaking backdrop for skaters at night.
2. The CTA Holiday Train
Photo: cta web
If you plan to travel to Chicago between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a ride on the CTA Holiday Train is a must. The specially decorated train makes its way through the famous Chicago “Loop” at pre-scheduled times throughout the season. Santa Claus rides the train to the delight of both children and adults on the train. Be sure to check the Chicago Transit Authority website for dates and times for the train, or you can have your hotel’s concierge give you all of the details.
Set in historic Daley Plaza, Christkindlmart is an outdoor market open from the end of November through Christmas Eve every year. It is a German American celebration for the holiday season. Visitors can find handcrafted gifts including candles, ornaments, and gloves, or they can sample some delicious foods from the market’s numerous vendors. Schnitzels, Stollen, marzipan candies, and beer are all for sale at Christkindlmart. The market gets crowded at lunchtime with local office workers looking for a good meal, so plan your visit between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. if you are looking to avoid crowds.
4. The Magnificent Mile
Nothing says winter in Chicago like shopping along the city’s famed Magnificent Mile. The shops along Michigan Avenue include some of the biggest names in retail, including Macy’s, Tiffany’s, Coach, and Chanel. A stop at the Water Tower Place, a high-rise shopping mall, can provide a break from walking in the cold from one store to the next. You can also grab a hot meal at Gino’s East Pizza, which serves some of Chicago’s finest deep-dish pizza.
Chicago may not be a tropical destination for your winter travels, but a trip there during the holidays will create memories that you and your family will treasure for a lifetime.