A new year means new things to do in Chicago. January brings a packed calendar of things to do, so you can get your fix of outdoor adventures and indoor wonders all month long. Catch an improv show, take a culinary tour of Chinatown, ice skate in the shadow of The Bean, and so much more.

Check out our list of favorite Chicago activities and events to enjoy this January 2022. Please note that all events are subject to change. Contact event organizers or ticket vendors for the latest information.

Top events this January

Illumination: Tree Lights
Illumination: Tree Lights

Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier(through Jan. 2): Light sculptures, a skating rink, holiday beer garden, kiddie train, and more take over Navy Pier.

ZooLights(through Jan. 2): Head to Lincoln Park Zoo for a celebratory winter tradition beloved by many, and explore the hundreds of lights scattered across the zoo.

Christmas Around the World (through Jan. 3): The holidays are still here at the Museum of Science & Industry for a special exhibit featuring a four-story, floor-to-dome grand Christmas tree. 

Illumination Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum (through Jan. 8): The ninth-annual event includes fifty acres of the arboretum to explore, filled with a spectacle of light, sound, and color. 

Millennium Park ice skating(through January): Skate with a city view at this iconic downtown ice rink. Admission is free, but online reservations are required.

Serenity Winter Flower Show(through Jan. 9): The Garfield Park Conservatory has a new flower show focused on calming foliage, featuring poinsettias, hyacinth, salvias, and more. 

More things to do this month

People sharing dumplings in Chinatown
Head to Chinatown for some of the city’s best dumplings.

Chinatown Lunch Tour (Saturdays in January): Taste your way around one of Chicago’s best culinary neighborhoods, from Hong Kong dim sum to spicy Szechuan.

Handmade Market at Empty Bottle (Jan. 8): Shop with a mimosa in hand at this market for makers in Ukrainian Village.

Ray Bradbury: Inextinguishable (various dates): Explore the enduring impact of one of the country’s most celebrated writers at the American Writers Museum.

Together at Last at The Second City (various dates): Live shows are back at this iconic comedy club, so come check out their all-new medley of improv and sketches.

Beluga Encounter at Shedd Aquarium (various dates): Get in the water and meet the Shedd’s friendly belugas during this one-of-a-kind experience.

Guided Tour the Historic Former Wabash YMCA (various dates): Take a free tour of this Bronzeville building, known as the birthplace of Black History Month.

Curling at the Gwen Hotel(through January): Enjoy cocktails and curling on the rooftop terrace of the Gwen Hotel on Michigan Avenue.

Mercado Del Pueblo (weekends in January): This Humboldt Park market features local makers and artisans selling honey, baked goods, macrame, accessories, and more.

Learn to Skate and Learn to Curl (various dates): Gallagher Way’s annual Winterland will host lessons on skating and curling next to Wrigley Field.

Plant Chicago Indoor Market (Jan. 29): This innovative space in the Back of the Yards neighborhood will offer a curated selection of locally made goods with a self-care focus.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra (various dates): Get your fix of classical favorites like Beethoven, Swan Lake, Vivaldi, and more performed by this world-renowned group.

Chicago Cultural Center tours (various dates): Step inside one of Chicago’s most stunning landmarks during this free guided tour.

Guests at the Chicago Magic Lounge
Photo by James Murphy Trainman Photography

Chicago Magic Lounge(through January): Andersonville’s Chicago Magic Lounge is part speakeasy, part magic lounge, and perfect for anyone looking to escape the everyday with a fun night of food, drink, and of course, magic.

Concerts at Old Town School of Folk Music (various dates): A local fixture since 1957, this school and venue offers a broad array of public concerts. 

Disney’s Frozen at the Cadillac Palace Theatre(through January): Kids and adults alike will love Disney’s latest musical, Frozen, which is playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre all month long.

January Giallo 2022 at Music Box Theatre (various dates): See a curated selection of the best Italian mysteries and thrillers, including rare 35mm screenings.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit(through January): With over 500,000 cubic feet of immersive projections, there’s a lot to see (and love) if you’re a Vincent Van Gogh fan.   

The Office Experience(various dates): If you’re a fan of The Office, you’ll want to check out the immersive experience that recreates the office of Dunder Mifflin and all its famed characters.

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park (through January): Ice skate through the ribbon rink at Maggie Daley Park and enjoy the incredible skyline views as your backdrop.

WNDR Museum(through January): This interactive West Loop museum is meant to ignite curiosity through its variety of different exhibits, including light floor, the forever machine, infinity room, and more.

Laws of Confusion at The Renaissance Society (through Jan. 30): This innovative gallery in Hyde Park transforms into a mystical environment made of found and gathered objects.

The Great Chicago Fire in Focus (through January): More than 150 years after the Great Chicago Fire, this exhibit presents rescued images that show the disaster’s aftermath in startling clarity.

Chicago: Where Comics Come to Life (through Jan. 9): The Chicago Cultural Center is home to a new exhibit highlighting the origins of comics in popular publishing throughout Chicago. 

Recipe for Disaster(various dates): Created in part by Chef Rick Bayless, this live theatre experience takes place inside a restaurant, and includes food and drinks as well.

Teatro ZinZanni(various dates): Cabaret, music, circus, and a four-course dinner? This show is a feast for both your eyes and stomach.

Clarke House Museum tours (various dates): Tour Chicago’s oldest home, a stunning Greek Revival-style house, that was built pre-Civil War.