Can’t get enough of the snow-dusted city scene? Then Chicago should be your next winter destination. Make the most of your cold-weather visit with this winter guide to all the best snowy sights and activities in Chicago.
A snowy selfie with The Bean
Millennium Park is even more magical in the winter. This is where you’ll find one of Chicago’s most iconic sights: Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”. Take off your gloves to snap a selfie in its reflective surface, then head down the steps to skate on the park’s free ice skating rink.
A play date with a polar bear
Meet Siku, the 1,000-lb polar bear who’s a resident of the Arctic Tundra, one of several habitats at Lincoln Park Zoo. The free year-round zoo is home to plenty of creatures that thrive in the winter, like snow-loving Macaque monkeys and a colony of endangered African penguins. During the holidays, half a million visitors flock to the zoo for the dazzling ZooLights display.
Admire the frozen lake
One of the best thing about the chilly weather? When Lake Michigan freezes over and makes for some epic views. Head to the Lakefront Trail for an up-close look and a picture-perfect angle of the skyline.
Ice skate a ribbon in the park
Lace up your skates and glide through the whimsical Maggie Daley Park on the meandering Skating Ribbon. Admission to the rink is free! Just bring your own skates or rent a pair at the park. The Ribbon, twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink, offers a scenic view of the snow-dusted cityscape.
Snowshoe across an urban island
Try out this fun winter activity with the Chicago skyline as your backdrop. Explore scenic Northerly Island on snowshoes during the free Polar Adventure Days on select Saturdays throughout the winter. You can also meet Siberian huskies and wolves, make winter crafts, sip cocoa, and more.
Relax in a snow globe
Look out across the city from within a glass-enclosed rooftop bar like J. Parker, IO Godfrey, ROOF on theWit, or Offshore at Navy Pier. If heights aren’t your thing, peer out at the wintery world from the City Winery‘s heated domes along the Riverwalk. What better place to watch the snow fall?