Winter in Chicagoland can get pretty cold and snowy, but sometimes, you just want to get out of your apartment to enjoy some fresh air and socialize. Thankfully, there are plenty of local events and festivals throughout the winter. Here are five you're sure to love.
Head to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see it all lit up like never before. This event has been repeating throughout December, and there's one last week to attend January 1 – 7. In addition to enjoying beautiful holiday lights and the zoo's animals, you'll also get to enjoy a live ice sculpture carving, free crafts for children, and musical shows. Visit between 4:30 – 9 p.m. Admission is free for all, though there are fees for some of the special activities.
Until January 7, the Garfield Park Conservatory is offering a special show featuring poinsettias, conifers and other winter-season plants. The conservatory is open daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and they stay open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Admission is free, though donations are suggested.
Head out to Navy Pier for Winter Wonderfest, which continues daily through January 7. There will be a skating rink where you can glide around the ice with your own skates or with a rented pair. Enjoy a ride down the toboggan tunnel, ride on the carnival rides or play miniature golf in the winter weather. Admission is $27 for adults and $12 for kids if you purchase advance tickets online!
If you're addicted to America's favorite sweet, chewy breakfast food, then this festival is for you! Donut Fest is a time when all of Chicago's best restaurants and bakeries compete to see who makes the best donuts. There will be several categories, including crullers, long Johns and rings. Admission is $35 per person and includes tickets for a tasting from each participating vendor, coffee, and a goodie bag to take home. The event is scheduled for January 28, with two sessions: 10 a.m. – noon and noon – 2 p.m.
Calling all beer lovers! The Chicago Ale Fest, scheduled for January 28 this year, will feature samples of more than 200 craft beers. Food trucks will be on site, and a DJ will play the latest tunes. This year, there will be two tasting sessions: one from noon – 3 p.m. and another from 6 – 9 p.m. Tickets are for sale online starting at just $49 per person, with options for early admission.
Springs residents, have you attended any of these winter activities in past years? Have you heard of any other festivals or events in the Chicagoland area over the coming weeks? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.