5 Surprising Winter Activities
From ice skating in the center of the city to sampling fine foods from more than 200 restaurants, Chicago's cool-weather events will have your groups more than happy to hop out of hibernation.
Active Winter Fun
When the crisp winter air settles in to the city, Chicagoans bundle up and bound into the sparkling snow with these two fun seasonal festivities.
1. Ice skating: Let visitors lace up some skates and skate around the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink amid a beautiful backdrop of Millennium Park. Or, set the expectations even "higher" with a group visit to Skating in the Sky, the synthetic ice skating rink more than 1,000 feet in the air at the John Hancock Observatory.
2. Cross-country skiing: Who says you can't ski in the middle of a city? Send your visitors to Chicago's Northerly Island to strap on some skis (or snowshoes!) and glide around the 91-acre peninsula — there's winter bird-watching, easy terrain for trekking and, of course, the city's stunning skyline. It's not just fun, it's also free. Open on select dates.
Whether you've got groups coming to Chicago this month or two years from now, these three winter events will be here for them to enjoy.
3. Chicago Auto Show: With nearly 1,000 vehicles on display — including experimental and concept cars — the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America. What will your visitors find on the showroom floors? Find out now. Feb. 10–19
4. Chicago Restaurant Week: Chicago's hugely popular Restaurant Week returns each February. Ten days. More than 200 restaurants. Tons to taste. Whether your groups want to revisit old favorites or scope out new spots, don't miss this gastronomic event. Get the details. Feb. 17–26
5. Chicago Flower & Garden Show: Let your groups see the worlds of fashion and horticulture collide, creating an experience that rivals the hottest runway show or A-list after party. Inside the event. March 10–18
New Dates for Taste of Chicago: July 11–15
The popular festival of food and fun is back for its 32nd year, but with new dates to note.
The Taste of Chicago
moves later in the calendar this summer — to July 11–15
— while remaining in its longtime home in Grant Park on Chicago's lakefront. Stop by to taste local Chicago favorites (like deep-dish pizza), ethnic assortments and innovative dishes from Chicago-area restaurants. Plus, indulge in entertainment such as cooking demonstrations from noted chefs (last year included a demo by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis), and local and national musical acts. It's the perfect way to explore the city’s cutting-edge culinary scene: one bite at a time.
This year, Chicago will turn how old?
A) 100 B) 150 C) 175 D) 200
C) Chicago turns 175 years old on March 4, 2012.
Correction: Last month's trivia correctly cited that there are 580 parks in Chicago, but incorrectly attributed the answer to letter C (250–500) rather than letter D (500+). Thanks to our hawk-eyed readers who pointed out the error.
Where to Find Choose Chicago
From now through the summer, Choose Chicago will be at four conferences for receptive operators — if you'll be attending too, be sure to request us for an appointment!
Receptive Services Association of America Summit
North American Journeys Summit West
Active America China
North American Journeys Summit East
New York City
More places to meet Choose Chicago
May 26, 2012 – Jan. 13, 2013
The Field Museum
Explore the surprising world of earth's most extreme extinct and living mammals. Featuring spectacular fossils, vivid reconstructions and, yes, live creatures, the show examines the ancestry and evolution of numerous species, ranging from huge to tiny, from speedy to sloth-like. Send your groups to see animals both tiny and huge who sport such weird features as over-sized claws, massive fangs, bizarre snouts and amazing horns; plus, what might be the most extreme mammals of all: humans. Plan a group visit
May 19 – Sept. 3
The Brookfield Zoo will literally be crawling with bugs as it presents the first ever animatronic exhibit – of epic proportion! Buzz over for this limited-engagement exhibit featuring more than 1,100 real bugs and 25 gigantically large moveable models. Learn about some of the most valuable creatures in our ecosystems. More at the Brookfield Zoo
Chicago Events Calendar