Chicago in the winter is a sight to behold. From its towering skyscrapers lighting the nighttime sky to the ever-vibrant mosaic of unique neighborhoods that form the city, Chicago buzzes with energy and excitement all season long.
No visit to Chicago is complete without a whirlwind tour of our culinary scene, including about two dozen Michelin-star-laden restaurants. Remarkably talented and collaborative chefs have made Chicago a worldwide dining mecca, and have contributed to bringing the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards Gala here the last three years. Want a taste of our more than 4,700 restaurants that line the culinary landscape? The annual Chicago Restaurant Week gives diners 14 belt-busting days of eating bliss at more than 250 participating restaurants, whether at a neighborhood hotspot or a five-star stalwart. The world eats here. Chicago Restaurant Week will take place January 27 – February 9 during the RCMA Emerge Conference so check out the participating restaurants and make your reservations early.
Stay an extra day or two to take advantage of Chicago Theatre Week – an annual celebration of the rich tradition of theatre-going in Chicago. It is taking place February 9 – 19. Tickets to more than 100 productions will be available for $15 or $30.
After you explore our vast culinary scene, you may feel the need to get out and burn some calories. We have you covered with the Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon. In the heart of downtown Chicago, with the City’s skyline as a backdrop, a ribbon of ice winds through a rolling landscape providing an ice skating experience unlike any other. Skaters can experience “alpine in the city” as they lace up their ice skates and follow a path twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink. If a traditional rink is your liking, then Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is the place for you. Set against the magnificent backdrop of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) sculpture, one can skate in the heart of Chicago’s Loop day and night for free while enjoying hot chocolate and snacks from the Park Grill Café.
Culture takes center stage in Chicago during the winter months with endless opportunities to explore some of Chicago’s 50+ museums. Through February of 2017 the Museum of Science & Industry will host Brick by Brick, featuring more than a dozen giant constructions by LEGO® Certified Professional and Chicago native Adam Reed Tucker, including a 60-foot Golden Gate Bridge, the International Space Station and Roman Colosseum. These marvels of engineering will inspire the builder within you in this world-premiere exhibit.
Chicago’s architectural legacy can be experienced through numerous walking and bus tours offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. For a birds-eye view of the city, visit Skydeck Chicago located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. Once there be sure to visit Ledge and step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck. Another amazing view is at 360 Chicago, located on the 94th floor of the historic John Hancock Center. 360 Chicago offers breathtaking views of the city and Lake Michigan from over 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile. Enjoy a cocktail or coffee at the brand new bar while watching the sunset, explore interactive panoramic touchscreens in seven languages, and don't forget to try TILT, an exhilarating one-of-a-kind attraction that literally TILTs visitors to a 30° angle over Michigan Avenue.
Immerse yourself in Chicago’s vibrant theater scene at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre or Broadway In Chicago, and enjoy Chicago Theatre Week which showcases more than 100 productions at a special price. As the birthplace of Improv comedy, be sure to head over to the Old Town neighborhood to see a show at The Second City. This famous comedy club, theatre and school of improvisation, with live shows every night in Chicago, has been a launching pad for comedians, actors, and directors including Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, John Belushi, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, and Bill Murray among many others.
Any shopping adventure in Chicago should begin with the most famous stretch of all Chicago retail: The Magnificent Mile. This cosmopolitan section of Michigan Avenue teems with shopping, dining and entertainment making an unforgettable addition to any vacation. Chicago's Loop has been a shopper's paradise for more than a century. Score big finds at the legendary Macy's on State Street or cross the street to peruse the various shops inside Block 37. Dive deeper into the chic boutiques that line the streets of Chicago's Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lakeview neighborhoods. We suggest bringing a bigger suitcase.
No matter your style of exploration, Chicago has you covered. We warmly welcome all RCMA Emerge 2017 attendees to Chicago, we hope you enjoy your stay, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.