Chicago has no shortage of things to do in all seasons, from the Adler Planetarium to the Willis Tower Skydeck to the new Maggie Daley Park, visitors to Chicago can enjoy a wide variety of activities indoors and out. And this vibrant city is always improving and adding new experiences. Here are some of the newest and most popular attractions for winter fun in Chicago:
Located in the Hancock Building on Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile, 360 Chicago takes visitors 94 floors up into the air for a breathtaking panoramic view of Chicago. The observation deck is located 1,000 above Lake Michigan with awe-inspiring views of downtown Chicago as well as four nearby states.
A trip to the Hancock Tower isn’t complete without visiting Tilt, a thrilling new adventure in which visitors can experience a downward facing view of the city. Daredevils enter an enclosed, rectangular box in groups of eight or less and then lean forward to a 30-degree angle with just a glass pane separating them from the ground. Do you dare?
With a newly-rehabbed Sky Theater, the Adler Planetarium offers visitors a high-resolution virtual reality trip through space and time. The world-famous planetarium also includes public telescopes to view the sky, lectures about cosmological phenomena, and possibly the best view of the Chicago skyline in the city.
Willis Tower Skydeck
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is the second-tallest building in the country. Ride the elevator to the 103rd floor for views that stretch over fifty miles on a clear day. Feeling brave? The Ledge lets you crawl into a glass structure that extends 4.3 feet out from the Skydeck and is suspended 1,353 feet off the ground. The Skydeck offers unparalleled views of the downtown city below as well as four neighboring states, plus, it makes for an incredible photo op.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Free for everyone, the Lincoln Park Zoo is located along the lakefront and lets visitors see lions, tigers, bears, and more, plus there’s a merry-go-round and train ride for the kids. The zoo is adjacent to the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Cultural Center. During the holiday season, Lincoln Park lights up with Zoo Lights, a fun, free, family-oriented display of thousands of beautiful holiday lights paired with music that are sure to give even the biggest Grinch a sense of holiday spirit. Zoo Lights also features many seasonal activities, such as cookie decorating, holiday crafts, warm beverages, live ice carving, and of course, the chance to get your photo taken with Santa.
Speaking of holiday events, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is a can’t-miss December event in downtown Chicago. The Christmas market, located in the Daley Plaza between Washington, Clark, and Dearborn street, draws inspiration from German and European open-air Christmas markets for a combination of international tradition and local magic. Vendors in cozy stalls sell a variety of holiday-themed products, from hand-blown ornaments to classic German nutcrackers, plus wonderful gift ideas like jewelry, toys, clothes, and home décor. You can even get a taste of traditional German foods and drinks such as sauerkraut, waffles, hot spiced wine, and German chocolates. Hurry- this outdoor market only lasts from Thanksgiving week to Christmas Eve.
Maggie Daley Park
The newly opened Maggie Daley Park is the latest addition to the Chicago lakefront, that features a wonderful ice-skating ribbon that meanders for a quarter mile of nonstop skating. Skates can be rented in the park or bring along your own. The fully redeveloped park will open in spring 2015, but the rink is welcoming skaters now. Maggie Daley Park is composed of the Daley Bicentennial Plaza, the Cancer Survivors Garden, Peanut Park. Visitors can interact with many unique features, such as an ice-skating ribbon, a rock-climbing sculpture and an exciting slide center featuring a giant twisting slide; in warmer weather there will be plenty of green space to provide the perfect backdrop for a lakeside picnic.
Whether you’re in the mood for arts, culture, sightseeing, entertainment, food, or just enjoying time outside, Chicago has something new and exciting to offer you. Enjoy your time in the Second City!
Photo Source: Google Commons