Winter is a magical time to visit Millennium Park. This iconic lakefront park in the heart of the city is home to some of Chicago’s most beloved holiday events and winter activities, like the city’s official Christmas tree and free ice skating beside The Bean. And it’s so much more than just a park — the Millennium Park campus is home to a variety of cultural gems, like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Harris Theater.

Here’s our guide on the best things to see and do at Millennium Park this winter.

Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”

People around Chicago’s Cloud Gate, The Bean, in the snow

One of Chicago’s most iconic pieces of art, The Bean is the crown jewel of Millennium Park. And one of the best times to see it is in winter, when the silvery sculpture is dusted with snow and shining with the surrounding holiday lights. Snap a snowy selfie before exploring the rest of the Millennium Park campus.

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Chicago Christmas Tree

Crowd watching the Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting in Millennium Park

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McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

 People skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in the show in Chicago

Grab some skates and hit the ice in the heart of downtown Chicago. Twirl and glide under the iconic The Bean sculpture within view of the snow-covered skyline. Located just off Michigan Avenue, the rink offers free admission for all. Skate rentals are available for $13 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and holidays. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is open from Nov. 15 through March 2020, weather permitting.

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Art Institute of Chicago

Snow-covered Lion statue with red bow at the Art Institute

The renowned Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. Located directly south from Millennium Park, the Art Institute is the perfect place to warm up in the winter. Take the floating walkway from Millennium park to the Modern Wing, or head to the main entrance on Michigan Avenue to see the iconic lion statues. Once inside, explore exhibits filled with some of the world’s most famous masterpieces, with works from Monet, Picasso, O’Keefe, Warhol, Renoir, and beyond.

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Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park

People ice skating along the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park in Chicago

Maggie Daley Park, which neighbors Millennium Park, is a winter wonderland of all-ages fun. The centerpiece of the award-winning park is the Skating Ribbon, a winding pathway of ice that twists and turns through soaring pines and whimsical play equipment. The Skating Ribbon is open from mid-November 2019 through March 2020, weather permitting. Admission is free, skate rentals are available for $13 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and holidays.

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Harris Theater for Music and Dance

View of the stage of Harris Theater in Chicago

The Harris Theater is Millennium Park’s hub for dance, music, and the performing arts. The stunning, intimate venue brings in a diverse array of performers from around the world, and hosts several of Chicago’s most beloved holiday shows. The theatre is also home to several resident companies, like the Chicago Philharmonic and Hubbard Street Dance. Harris Street Theater is located at 205 E. Randolph St. on the northern edge of Millennium Park.

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Chicago Cultural Center

View of the ceiling in the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is jam-packed with art exhibits, family-friendly events, and classical concerts – all for free. Take a break from the cold and come explore this cultural gem, housed in a gorgeous landmark building that’s home to the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome. Catch a free tour or wander around on your own. The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington St., just across the street from Millennium Park.

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