No matter what the temperature outside, Chicago in January is a great place to explore and experience all the city has to offer. From outdoor activities to museums, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in Chicago during the winter season. Whether you're a local looking for some winter fun or a visitor looking for a new adventure, here are 13 fun and exciting things to do in Chicago in January.
What You'll Learn
- Enjoy Ice Skating at Millennium Park
- Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo
- Tour the Adler Planetarium
- Take in the Views from Willis Tower Skydeck
- Explore the Art Institute of Chicago
- Attend a Show at the Chicago Theater
- Embark on a Food Tour
- Have Fun at Navy Pier
- Tour the Field Museum
- Soak in the Views from 360 Chicago
- Spend an Evening at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Peruse the Magnificent Mile
- Take a Segway Tour of Chicago
Enjoy Ice Skating at Millennium Park
Millennium Park at Chicago is one of the most popular winter attractions and is a great place to enjoy ice skating in January. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, it offers great views of the city skyline and is the perfect spot for a day of outdoor fun and entertainment.
Skating at the Millennium Park is a great way to experience winter in Chicago. The outdoor rink is open from mid-November until the end of February, and there is a variety of activities to enjoy such as ice skating, hockey and broomball. The rink is open daily from 8am to 8pm, and it is free to skate on the rink. Skate rentals are available for a nominal fee.
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience winter in Chicago, the Millennium Park Ice Rink is the perfect place to do it. The rink offers a variety of activities such as ice skating, hockey and broomball. The rink is open daily from 8am to 8pm, and it is free to skate on the rink. Skate rentals are available for a nominal fee.
In addition to ice skating, visitors can enjoy food and drinks at the Park Grill, a restaurant located at the south end of the rink. The Grill offers a variety of food and drinks, and it is a great place to relax and warm up after a day of ice skating.
For those who want to make the most of their time in Chicago, there are a variety of activities in Millennium Park during the winter months. Visitors can take a free tour of the park and explore the various sculptures and gardens, or take a stroll through the Lurie Garden, a popular attraction year-round. There are also various seasonal events such as the Winter Music Festival and the Chicago Polar Bear Plunge.
Millennium Park is a great place to experience winter in Chicago. The outdoor rink is open from mid-November until the end of February and is free to use. Skate rentals are available for a nominal fee. In addition to ice skating, there are a variety of other activities and events to enjoy, such as the Winter Music Festival and the Chicago Polar Bear Plunge. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to experience winter in Chicago or just a day of outdoor fun, Millennium Park is the perfect place to do it.
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Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo of Chicago is one of the most renowned zoos in the United States. Located in the heart of Chicago, it offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdom in one of America’s most iconic cities. A visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo in January can be a truly magical experience.
The zoo is open year-round and offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors. In January, the zoo’s winter events are in full swing. From the popular ZooLights display, a stunning light show featuring more than one million lights, to the Winter Wonderland festivities, there is plenty to see and do.
Visitors can explore the zoo’s various exhibits, like the Kovler Lion House and the Regenstein Center for African Apes. They can also witness the zoo’s special events, such as the Penguin Encounter and the Sea Lion Show. Additionally, the zoo offers educational programs and activities for children, like the ZooCamp and the ZooMobile.
The Lincoln Park Zoo is also home to a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas, and more. Visitors can observe these majestic creatures in their natural environments, learning more about their behavior and habitats.
When visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo in January, it is important to dress appropriately. Be sure to wear warm layers, as the weather can be unpredictable. Also, some of the zoo’s attractions may be closed in the winter months, so it is best to check the zoo’s website before making plans.
The Lincoln Park Zoo is a wonderful destination for a January visit. There are so many exciting things to see and do, and the beauty of the zoo is hard to match. Whether visitors are looking for a fun family outing or a romantic evening stroll, the Lincoln Park Zoo is the perfect place to explore.
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Tour the Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium in Chicago is a great place to explore during the winter months. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Adler Planetarium offers a variety of interactive experiences and is one of the oldest and largest planetariums in the world.
Visitors to the Adler Planetarium can explore a variety of exhibits, including the “Atmosphere” exhibition, which showcases the many layers of Earth’s atmosphere and how they interact with our planet. The “Space Visualization Laboratory” provides a unique look at our solar system, complete with a digital planetarium, where visitors can explore the night sky.
Winter months at the Adler Planetarium are filled with lots of fun activities, including outdoor planetarium shows, star parties and even a chance to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of indoors. For those looking for an educational experience, the Adler also offers a variety of special programs, such as astronomy lectures, planetarium shows and hands-on activities.
Visitors can also take a tour of the Adler's historic archives, which contains records dating back to the planetarium's opening in 1930. The archives also contain a variety of photographs, artifacts and documents that provide insight into the history of the Adler Planetarium.
When visiting the Adler Planetarium in the winter, it is important to dress appropriately. Because the planetarium is located on the lakefront, temperatures can be unpredictable and visitors should be prepared for cold weather. It is also a good idea to bring a hat, gloves and a scarf to protect against the cold.
For those looking for a unique winter experience, a visit to the Adler Planetarium is an excellent choice. Whether you're looking for educational programs, interactive experiences or a chance to explore the stars, the Adler Planetarium has something for everyone. From star parties and astronomy lectures to interactive exhibits and the chance to explore the Northern Lights indoors, a visit to the Adler Planetarium in January is sure to be a memorable experience.
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Take in the Views from Willis Tower Skydeck
Chicago is one of the most iconic cities in the United States, and Willis Tower Skydeck offers breathtaking views of its skyline. In winter, the city is blanketed in a layer of snow, making the experience of viewing the city from the Skydeck even more special.
During the winter months, visitors can explore the city from a bird’s eye view, and take in the beauty of the snow-covered skyline. The Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower and features a glass balcony that extends beyond the building’s edge, giving visitors a unique and thrilling experience. From the Skydeck, visitors can see up to four states on a clear day: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
At Willis Tower Skydeck, visitors can also experience the interactive exhibits, which include a video presentation of Chicago’s history and culture, and a live video feed of the streets below. The Skydeck also features interactive displays that allow visitors to learn more about their surroundings and explore the city from a different perspective.
Visitors to Willis Tower Skydeck should also take advantage of the unique photo opportunities offered. There are several interactive photo booths that allow visitors to take pictures of their experience, as well as create fun time-lapse videos. Additionally, the Skydeck also offers an express elevator ride to the 103rd floor, so visitors can quickly get to the top and enjoy the views.
When visiting Willis Tower Skydeck in January, visitors should make sure to dress appropriately for the cold weather. The Skydeck is open from 9am to 10pm, and visitors should plan to spend a few hours exploring the area and taking in the views.
For those who want to make the most of their visit, Willis Tower Skydeck also offers several packages that include admission, a souvenir photo and other amenities. From the 103rd floor, visitors can enjoy the city’s iconic skyline in all its winter glory, and experience the thrill of standing on the glass balcony, which is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
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Explore the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the city's most beloved cultural institutions, and for good reason. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Institute is home to an extensive collection of artwork from around the world. January is a great time to explore the Art Institute of Chicago, as the city is still in the midst of winter and the Institute is relatively quiet. Here are some tips for making the most of your visit:
- Bundle Up: Chicago winters can be cold, so be sure to dress appropriately. The Art Institute of Chicago is a large space, and you'll be doing a lot of walking, so wear a warm coat, gloves, and a hat.
- Allow Plenty of Time: The Art Institute of Chicago is an expansive museum, and it's easy to get lost in its corridors. Plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the galleries and exhibitions.
- Take a Tour: The Art Institute offers guided tours of its galleries, as well as specialized tours that focus on particular themes or genres. Signing up for a tour is a great way to get a more in-depth look at the works of art.
- Stop for a Break: The Art Institute has a number of cafes and restaurants, so if you find yourself getting hungry or needing a break, don't hesitate to pause for a bite to eat.
- Take Advantage of Free Events: The Institute often hosts free events, such as lectures, films, workshops, and performances. Check the website for details on upcoming events.
- Visit the Shop: The Art Institute has a great selection of books, prints, and other items related to the museum's collection. It's a great place to pick up a souvenir or gift.
- Take Photos: Photography is allowed in the galleries, so feel free to snap some photos of your favorite works. Just be sure to turn off your flash.
The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-see in the Windy City. Whether you're a lifelong fan of art, or just looking for something to do on a winter day, there's something for everyone at the Institute. Plan your visit today and explore the wonders of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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Attend a Show at the Chicago Theater
The best way to experience the Windy City is to attend a show at the Chicago Theatre in January. Located right in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Chicago Theatre is a historic venue that has been hosting performances since 1921. From Broadway musicals to comedy acts, the theatre has something for everyone.
When attending a show at the Chicago Theatre, visitors can expect a truly unique experience. This majestic building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts a unique blend of European and American architectural styles. Its impressive ceiling and grandiose lobby are just two of the features that make the Chicago Theatre one of the most beautiful theatres in the world.
Tickets for shows at the Chicago Theatre can be purchased online or at the ticket office. For those looking to save money, the best deals can usually be found on the theatre's website. Additionally, visitors should make sure to check out the various discounts and packages that the theatre offers. From group discounts to pre-show dinners, there are plenty of ways to save when attending a show at the Chicago Theatre.
When planning a trip to the Chicago Theatre, visitors should also consider the type of show they would like to attend. From classic musicals to modern comedies, there is sure to be something to suit everyone’s taste. Additionally, there are often special events such as lectures, concerts, and movie screenings that are held at the theatre.
The Chicago Theatre also offers a variety of amenities to make the show-going experience even more enjoyable. From bars and restaurants to gift shops and souvenir stands, there is something for everyone. Additionally, the theatre offers guided tours that give visitors the chance to explore the venue and learn about its history and architecture.
No visit to Chicago would be complete without attending a show at the Chicago Theatre. From the grandiose lobby to the immersive performances, the theatre provides visitors with an unforgettable experience. With discounted ticket prices and amenities to accommodate all types of visitors, the Chicago Theatre is the perfect place to experience the Windy City in all its glory.
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Embark on a Food Tour
If you are looking for a unique way to experience the Windy City, consider embarking on a food tour of Chicago in January. On this tour, you can indulge in some of the best cuisine the city has to offer while learning about its history and culture. From the world-famous deep-dish pizza to the city’s famous hot dogs, this food tour will give you a taste of Chicago like never before.
Begin your tour by exploring the iconic Navy Pier. Here, you can savor the city’s famous deep-dish pizza while taking in the sights and sounds of the pier. As you indulge in the savory flavors of the pizza, don’t forget to take in the sights of the city’s skyline, Lake Michigan and the surrounding architecture.
After you’ve had your fill at Navy Pier, head to one of the city’s renowned hot dog stands. Here, you can learn about the history of the city’s famous hot dogs and sample a few of the different varieties. Be sure to also request stories from the locals about the history of the hot dog stands and the city itself.
Next, take a tour of one of the city’s many markets, such as the Maxwell Street Market or the Green City Market. Here, you can sample a variety of local delicacies, such as Italian beef sandwiches, Greek gyros and Mexican tamales. As you explore the market, be sure to ask the vendors about their products and the history of the market.
After exploring the markets, head to Chinatown to sample some of the city’s best Chinese cuisine. Take a stroll through the vibrant streets while savoring the flavor of dumplings, noodles and other traditional Chinese delicacies. Don’t forget to take in the colorful street art and unique architecture as well.
Finally, finish your food tour with a visit to one of the city’s renowned craft breweries. Here, you can sip on some of the city’s best craft beer while learning about the history of the city’s brewing culture.
No matter what type of cuisine you’re looking for, a food tour of Chicago in January is sure to satisfy. With so many delicious options and unique experiences, a food tour of the Windy City is the perfect way to explore the city and its culture.
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Have Fun at Navy Pier
Navy Pier in Chicago is an exciting place to explore and have fun in January. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, it is the city's most popular tourist destination and offers a wide variety of activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to beat the winter blues or just want to get out and explore the city, Navy Pier has plenty to offer.
Begin your visit with a stroll along the pier. From the iconic Ferris wheel to the historic carousel, there is something for everyone to explore. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a ride on the Navy Pier Flyover, an aerial tour of the pier and its surrounding areas. With breathtaking views of the city, this is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Once you’ve finished taking in the sights from the Flyover, take some time to explore the pier’s many attractions. From the interactive Children’s Museum to the large-scale IMAX theater, there is plenty to keep you occupied. If you’re looking for something more educational, visit the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for a show or drop by the Chicago History Museum for an informative journey through the past.
If you’re looking for something more relaxing, take a seat at one of Navy Pier’s many restaurants and bars. Sample some of the city’s best seafood at Riva Crab House or grab a beer and enjoy the view at the Miller Lite Beer Garden. For a unique experience, visit the Crystal Gardens, a lush glass-enclosed oasis with exotic plants, waterfalls, and a nightly light show.
Navy Pier also offers a variety of special events throughout the year. From the weekly fireworks show to the Winter WonderFest, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The pier’s newest attraction, the Centennial Wheel, offers a thrilling ride with spectacular views of the city skyline.
Whether you’re looking for a fun day out or just want to explore the city, Navy Pier is the perfect place to start. With its stunning lakefront views and abundance of attractions and activities, it’s an ideal destination for a winter getaway.
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Tour the Field Museum
The Field Museum of Chicago is a great place to visit in January. Located in the heart of the city, the Field Museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from all over the world, from ancient cultures to modern times. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for something to do this winter, the Field Museum has something for everyone.
Visitors to the Field Museum in January can enjoy a variety of activities and exhibits. From the expansive dinosaur exhibit to the interactive hands-on exhibits, there is something for everyone. In the main hall, visitors can explore the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and learn about their unique histories. The cultural exhibits include artifacts from ancient Egypt to modern times, such as coins, jewelry, and pottery.
The Field Museum also offers a variety of educational programs throughout the year. In January, visitors can attend lectures on topics such as paleontology, archaeology, and anthropology. These lectures are designed to provide visitors with a greater understanding of the history and culture of the cultures represented in the museum. Additionally, the museum also offers a variety of special events, such as family days, guided tours, and interactive activities.
The Field Museum is also home to a number of engaging storytelling experiences. From the storytelling project to the Storytelling in the Field program, visitors can learn about different cultures and traditions through stories. These stories provide visitors with a unique way to explore the museum and its artifacts. Additionally, visitors can participate in a variety of workshops, such as “Storytelling in the Field”, which teaches storytelling techniques and provides hands-on activities.
Visitors can also enjoy the beauty of the Field Museum’s grounds. The museum is located in the heart of Chicago’s Museum Campus, surrounded by lush green space. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the park, take a stroll through the gardens, or explore the many sculptures and monuments located throughout the grounds.
The Field Museum is open year-round, and visitors can tour the museum in January. For more information, visitors can visit the museum’s website, where they can find information on hours, admission prices, and special events. Furthermore, visitors can also call the museum directly to inquire about tours and special events. With so much to offer all year round, the Field Museum of Chicago is the perfect place to explore in January.
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Soak in the Views from 360 Chicago
When the cold winter air of January blankets Chicago, a visit to 360 Chicago will help you soak in the breathtaking views of the city. Located in the John Hancock Building, the observatory stands 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile and offers a scenic view of the city as far as the eye can see.
The observatory gives visitors a unique opportunity to experience the city from a different perspective. On a clear day, you can see four different states - Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan - as well as the iconic Chicago skyline. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the Willis Tower or the John Hancock Building.
The observatory also offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From interactive exhibits and educational programs to high-powered telescopes and digital displays, there is something for everyone to enjoy at 360 Chicago.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider taking a guided tour of the observatory. A knowledgeable guide will provide interesting insight into the history and culture of the city while you take in the stunning views.
On chilly January days, a warm cup of hot cocoa is a must. At the café in the observatory, you can enjoy a variety of hot drinks as well as light snacks. The café also offers a selection of souvenirs, making it a great spot to pick up a memento of your visit.
Visiting the observatory in January is the perfect way to experience the beauty of the city without braving the cold. From the interactive exhibits to the breathtaking views, 360 Chicago is sure to impress. In the words of author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” At 360 Chicago, you can do just that.
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Spend an Evening at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
For music lovers looking for a unique experience, an evening at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is an ideal choice. Located in downtown Chicago, the CSO is one of the world's most renowned symphony orchestras and offers a variety of performances throughout the year, including special events during the colder months.
A night at the CSO can be a magical experience. The Orchestra Hall, the venue for most performances, is a grand and majestic space, with its ornate balconies, gilded walls, and state-of-the-art acoustics. As soon as you step in, you can feel the atmosphere of the hall, which is filled with the sound of music and the anticipation of the audience.
When visiting the CSO in January, there are a number of events to choose from. From the opening of the Beethoven Festival in mid-January, to the annual Chinese New Year Concert, to the holiday concert series in late January, there is something for everyone.
If you are looking for a more intimate experience, consider attending one of the CSO's chamber music concerts. These concerts feature smaller ensembles of musicians, playing a variety of classical pieces in a more intimate setting.
It is also worth noting that the CSO offers a variety of special events throughout the year. These events, such as the Symphony Ball, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Gala, and the CSO's annual summer concert series, are perfect for those looking for a unique and memorable evening.
When attending an event at the CSO, visitors should plan ahead and arrive early. The doors to the Orchestra Hall typically open two hours before a performance, allowing for a leisurely walk around the venue and a chance to explore the lobby, which features artwork from some of the most renowned classical composers.
No matter the performance, an evening at the CSO is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Whether you're looking for a romantic evening, a chance to explore the beauty of classical music, or simply a night of entertainment, the CSO has something for everyone. With its world-class musicians, stunning venue, and a wide range of performances, an evening at the CSO is sure to be a night to remember.
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Peruse the Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile in Chicago is a prime destination for those who want to experience the beauty and culture of the Windy City. During the winter months, the Mile is even more of a draw with its sparkling holiday lights, festive decorations, and a variety of events and activities. January is a great time to explore the Magnificent Mile and all it has to offer.
One of the best things about the Magnificent Mile in January is the holiday decorations. The lights, garland, and twinkling stars that adorn the buildings and shops turn the area into a winter wonderland. Take a stroll along the Mile and let the holiday spirit take hold.
When visiting the Magnificent Mile in January, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Check out the shops and restaurants that line the street and browse the unique boutiques and galleries. For a more exhilarating experience, ice skate at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park or take a ride on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel.
For those who are looking for something a little different, January is the perfect time to explore the many museums in the Magnificent Mile area. From the Art Institute of Chicago to the Museum of Contemporary Art, you can learn about the history and culture of the city in an engaging and educational way.
If you're looking for a more relaxed experience, take advantage of the outdoor cafes and restaurants that line the Magnificent Mile. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while you people watch and take in the sights and sounds of the city.
No matter what kind of experience you're looking for, the Magnificent Mile in January is sure to provide it. Whether you're looking for a fun and festive evening or a relaxing evening, the Mile has something for everyone.
For those looking for a unique way to explore the Magnificent Mile, consider taking a guided tour. These tours provide an insider's look at the area, with interesting stories and anecdotes about the history and culture of the city. Plus, you'll get a chance to explore the Mile at your own pace.
Whether you're visiting for a few days or just for the day, the Magnificent Mile in January is sure to provide you with a wonderful experience. With its festive decorations, unique shops and museums, and plenty of activities to keep you busy, the Mile is sure to become one of your favorite spots in Chicago.
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Take a Segway Tour of Chicago
The tour begins at the iconic Navy Pier and takes you through the city's most iconic landmarks. You'll get to see the John Hancock Center, the Adler Planetarium, the Willis Tower, and the Bean, just to name a few. You'll also get to experience the unique architecture of the city, from the iconic Wrigley Building to the majestic Millennium Park.
Along the way, your tour guide will provide you with interesting facts about the city and its history. You'll learn about its many museums, theaters, and cultural institutions, as well as its diverse cultural heritage. Your tour guide will also tell you stories of the city's famous inhabitants, from Al Capone to President Barack Obama.
Your tour guide will also provide you with helpful tips on how to make the most of your visit. You'll get insider tips on where to find the best restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as advice on how to navigate the city's public transportation system. Additionally, your tour guide can provide you with information about local attractions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.
A Segway tour of Chicago in January is a great way to experience the city's winter beauty. You'll get to enjoy the city's snow-covered streets, frozen lakes, and picturesque views of the skyline. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to explore some of Chicago's hidden gems, such as the Garfield Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
A Segway tour of Chicago in January is an unforgettable experience. Whether you're visiting for the first time or revisiting your favorite sites, you'll be sure to have a great time. From the historic landmarks to the unique architecture, you'll get to see the city in all its glory. Plus, you'll get to hear fascinating stories, gain helpful tips, and explore some of Chicago's hidden gems. So, take a Segway tour of Chicago in January and make memories that will last a lifetime.
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Frequently asked questions
Chicagoans are lucky to have a lot of outdoor activities available during the winter months. January is a great time to go ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Yes! Chicago is full of great indoor activities in the winter. You can visit the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Adler Planetarium. Other popular indoor activities include shopping, bowling, and dining at one of the city’s many amazing restaurants.
In January, many of Chicago’s most popular music venues are still open and offering live music. The Metro, the House of Blues, and the Aragon Ballroom are all popular places to catch a show.
Chicago has many great shopping locations, including the Magnificent Mile and the State Street shopping district. You can also find unique boutiques in neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and Logan Square.
Yes! Chicago has several winter festivals and events happening in January, including the Chicago Auto Show, the Chicago Restaurant Week, and the Chicago Winter Dance Festival.