Are you ready for winter? Chicago is! Whether you're hoping for snow-filled getaways or warm indoor escapes, this Chicago winter guide has all the essentials. So don't countdown until spring, celebrate the season now.
Here are a few things on our Chicago winter wish list:
Chicago's newly-dubbed downtown "Winter Campus" offers a 2-for-1 deal for those who want to lace up: the classic oval ice rink in Millennium Park and the twisting-and-turning skating ribbon at adjacent Maggie Dalely Park.
Three to try: The cocktail-focused Gold Coast speakeasy lounge Drumbar, River North restaurant Tortoise Club with its sophisticated supper-club scene and live jazz music, or the perfect morning/noon/night option The Drawing Room at Chicago Athletic Association where three historic hearths offer warmth whether you have a coffee, cocktail or laptop at hand.
From the Pozole Rojo (braised pork shoulder in a guajillo chile broth topped with cilantro, avocado and all the delicious toppings) at Dove's Luncheonette to the bubbly French Onion Soup at Mon Ami Gabi, or the Japanese noodle bowls at Ramen-San to the Egg Drop Soup at Chinatown favorite MingHin Cuisine — the soup scene is surely covered.
Take a seat for Broadway in Chicago megahits like The Lion King (catch it only through January 17) and Cabaret (February 9-21); see a soul-stirring tribute to Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Roberta Flack when Black Ensemble Theatre presents Dynamite Divas (now until January 24); or plan your trip during Chicago Theatre Week (February 11-21) for over 100 productions priced at only $15/$30.
Brash, colorful and playful, the Museum of Contemporary Art showcases the works of artists and designers (Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Charles Eames, Ed Paschke & more) with two companion exhibits — Pop Art Design, and The Street, the Store, and the Silver Screen: Pop Art from the MCA Collection (both on display through March 27). Bonus: The New Contemporary at the Art Institute of Chicago just made its debut in December with the largest gift in museum history — 44 masterpieces — making this collection the strongest of any encyclopedic art museum in the world.
Garfield Park Conservatory is a perennial winter favorite — in part because it's always FREE — but in the chilly months its also the balmy temps that beckon. The stunning art installation on display now, solarise: a sea of all colors, adds another colorful reason to head here.
Slip into a tropical mentality with sips from the underground hideaway (follow the tiki torch lamps in the alley) known as Three Dots and a Dash. Other good bets? The Broken Shaker, at the hip hostel Freehand, and Lost Lake in Logan Square.
Go the truffle route at Bull & Bear, try the Pitmaster version with Pig Powder Rub at Chicago Q, throw in some decadent lobster chunks at GT Fish & Oyster, or have it all with the Multiple Choice Mac & Cheese at Public House.