Buck the cold weather with these hot Chicago activities for groups large and small.

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Chicago comes alive in the winter. From the colorful, festive mosaic of our unique neighborhoods to the endless bustle of the Loop, Chicago's winter months are among its most exciting. Ripe with arts and culture, Chicago immerses you in blockbuster museum exhibits and special celebrations, such as Chicago Restaurant Week and Chicago Theatre Week. For the very best in dining, shopping, entertainment and sports, Chicago is the place to be.


Chicago Restaurant Week
January 27 - February 9, 2017

Chicago Restaurant Week is a Choose Chicago Partnership program designed to promote the restaurant industry and drive traffic to participating establishments during a typically slow time of year. For 14 days, diners can enjoy value pricing for lunch and/or dinner at dining establishments throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.

Organized by Choose Chicago, Restaurant Week gives local foodies and visitors an opportunity to enjoy prix fixe menus from more than 300 participating restaurants. The annual culinary celebration features special prix fixe menus starting at $22 for brunch (NEW for 2017!) and lunch, and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity).

Chicago Restaurant Week  

Chicago Theatre Week
February 9 - 19, 2017

Chicago Theatre Week is a celebration of Chicago's world-class theatre scene. This coming February, visitors and residents will again have the opportunity to choose from more than 100 productions and sample the extraordinary range of theatrical offerings in Chicago at a special price.  

Filament Theatre presents Pinocchio 


Art Institute of Chicago

Modern Velvet: A Sense of Luxury in the Age of Industry
October 21, 2016 - March 19, 2017

This sensory experience examines the opulent textile, velvet, as a status symbol and dissects the design and production from the 19th century to present day. View 44 velvets from the permanent collection, see how weavers recreated the look and feel of earlier velvets and much more.


The Field Museum

China's First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors

Through January 8, 2017
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

Tasked to guard Qin Shihuangdi's tomb for eternity, archers, infantrymen, and armored officers hold watch over a striking underground model of China's first empire. Explore the life of the ruler who vanquished his rivals, unified China's many warring states, constructed the first Great Wall, built roads throughout his vast territory, and standardized China's script, currency, weights, and measures. 

China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors at The Field Museum

The Field Museum


October 21, 2016 - April 30, 2017
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

The Field Museum's newest special exhibition, Tattoo, explores the global phenomenon of tattooing around the world over time. Originally developed by Paris's musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, this is the first time the exhibit will be on display in the United States.

View 170 objects telling the story of tattooing, including historical artifacts and intricate contemporary designs tattooed onto silicone models of the human body. Explore tattooing across different cultures, early methods and universal human creativity.


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Basim Magdy: The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings

December 10, 2016 - March 19, 2017
220 E. Chicago Ave.

Trained painter Basim Magdy (Egyptian, b. 1977) dubbed the process "pickling," where he applies household chemicals to analog film and photographic material. The MCA presents Magdy's first US museum survey, featuring rarely seen and new pieces.


Driehaus Museum

With a Wink and a Nod: Cartoonists of the Gilded Age

Through January 8, 2017
40 E. Erie St.

Created by well-known illustrators as well as new talent, these bold cartoons simultaneously reflected and defined the concerns of the Gilded Age, while pushing the boundaries of humor.



Chicago Auto Show

February 11 - 20, 2017

McCormick Place Complex
2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.

Showcasing over 1,000 domestic and imported vehicles, this show includes experimental and concept cars, antiques and collector cars, and numerous accessories and production debuts. As North America's largest and longest running auto exposition, this event features fun for all ages, with giveaways, interactive exhibits and live entertainment.


Chicago Flower & Garden Show

March 18 - 26, 2017 
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.

An incredible array of inspiring florals and garden designs are the "headliners" of the annual Flower & Garden Show. Explore feature gardens displaying practical ideas that even novice gardeners can use to transform their outdoor space. Large or small, front yard, back patio, raised-bed vegetable or balcony, the inspired show is a visual shopping trip of ideas for transforming any green space into one that's beautiful, enjoyable and memorable.

From activities for kids, how-to instruction for adults and a marketplace filled with garden tools and must-haves, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show offers realistic tips that every shade of green thumb can learn from, take home and use.

Chicago Flower and Garden Show


Chicago Bears

Through January
Soldier Field
1410 Museum Campus Dr.

Chicago's National Football League (NFL) team, the Chicago Bears play at Soldier Field, sporting new video boards in each end zone that are more than 300 percent larger and boast the highest picture quality in the NFL.


Chicago Blackhawks

October - April
United Center
1901 W. Madison St.

Chicago's National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Chicago Blackhawks, play at the United Center located just 10 minutes' drive from the Loop.  The Blackhawks won the NHL Championship Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Blackhawks - Celebration - Blog

Chicago Bulls   

October - April
United Center
1901 W. Madison St.

Chicago's National Basketball Association (NBA) team, the Chicago Bulls, play at the United Center located just 10 minutes' drive from the Loop.



The PrivateBank Theatre


Through September 17, 2017
The PrivateBank Theatre
18 W. Monroe St. 

This Broadway blockbuster is so popular, its Chicago run has been extended by 26 weeks. Score tickets to Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop musical at The PrivateBank Theatre and watch the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton unfold in a blended score of hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway.

Hamilton An American Musical 

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

The Burials

October 5 - 22, 2016 
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
1650 N. Halsted St.

Follow upstanding young millennial Sophie in this modern tale of civic responsibility and the gun epidemic in America.


Cadillac Palace Theatre


November 9 - 13, 2016
Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 N. Randolph St.

Take in the world's best-loved musical through a brand new lens as classics play out in songs like "It's the Hard Knock Life," "Easy Street," and "Tomorrow."


Shakespeare 400 Chicago

Through December 31, 2016
Multiple venues

The international celebration of the playwright's 400-year legacy in 2016, this yearlong festival hosted by Chicago Shakespeare Theater honors Shakespeare's spirit of inventiveness and audacity.

Othello: The Remix

The Joffrey Ballet

The Nutcracker

December 10 - 30, 2016
The Joffrey Ballet Chicago
10 E. Randolph St. 

Catch the highly anticipated world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's The Nutcracker, complete with live music by the Chicago Philharmonic. Discover the magic of Chicago's mysterious 1893 World's Fair through the eyes of a child in the Joffrey's astounding new Nutcracker and be a part of dance history with this Tony Award®-winning choreographer's take on the classic holiday tale.Chicago


International Puppet Theater Festival

January 19 - 29, 2017
Multiple venues

Advancing the art of puppetry, this 12-day, citywide festival showcases puppet styles from around the world including marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, tiny toy puppets, and innovative styles of contemporary puppetry. The 2017 festival builds upon the success of the inaugural 2015 event, featuring nearly 50 public performances across the city, a symposium and workshops.

Puppet Theater Festival 


McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

November 11, 2016 - March 6, 2017

Kick off Chicago's winter season with a fun-filled day of ice-skating at McCormick Tribune Plaza at Millennium Park. The rink draws more than 100,000 skaters annually, and is free and open to the public. Skate rental is available for $12.

Lincoln Park Zoo ice skating

Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo

November 25, 2016 - February 26, 2017 (select dates)

All winter long, you can enjoy skating at Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm-in-the-Zoo. Glide along the ice, and then take a break with refreshments in the Main Barn. Admission is $5, and skate rental is available for $5. 


Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

November 2016 - March 2017

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. Dates are weather permitting.

Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon 

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