13 Best Winter Activities to Do in Illinois!

Illinois has no shortage of winter activities and holiday cheer. Local communities hold family-friendly activities each year, ranging from spectacular light shows to classic holiday performances. Whether you prefer shopping at Christmas craft fairs or viewing light displays, Illinois has something for everyone during winter. The following winter activities will take your mind off the frigid winter weather and put you in good spirits.

Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon, Chicago, IL

Ice skating at the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon in downtown Chicago is like skating through hilly alpines with a city backdrop. This free ice skating experience is one of the best in the state, and it usually opens in late November. Figure and hockey skates are available, plus hot chocolate to complete the winter outing.

Christmas Walk, Geneva, IL

Be dazzled by the enchanting holiday vibes of Geneva! Take in the courthouse lawn's lights, greenery, and decorations, then join them in the streets for the annual Christmas Walk. Feel the warmth and beauty of the season as you enjoy the spectacular sight of the Great Tree, Santa Lucia, and Santa Claus.

Illumination Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL

The Morton Arboretum is known for its year-round holiday celebrations. During the winter months, visitors can stroll through the woods and view the gorgeous trees illuminated in colorful lights. This award-winning display of various tree species lit up in sparkling lights is a must-see each year.

Christmas Around the World & Holidays of Light, Chicago, IL

Unveil a marvelous winterland aglow with wonder! Encounter an array of festive decorations worldwide, including a four-story Grand Tree and fifty trees in a forest. Enjoy special moments with family and friends, or learn about customs from other cultures as you experience Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light and its traditional attractions since 1942.

Lincoln Park ZooLights, Chicago, IL

This free holiday event in Lincoln Park Zoo has been drawing in families for years. ZooLights features luminous displays, musical light shows, 3D spectacles, and other holiday activities throughout the zoo grounds. Enjoy photos with Santa, crafts, holiday snacks, ice sculpting, train rides, and the carousel.

A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theater, Chicago, IL

Experience the holiday classic "A Christmas Carol" at Goodman Theater in Chicago. This extraordinary yearly performance tells a heartwarming tale of hope and kindness. The festive music and abundance of stage magic will surely get you in the holiday spirit.

Light up the Lake at Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

If you've ever fantasized about an indoor winter wonderland with a playground, the Winter WonderFest is a must-see. This Chicago family tradition features an indoor skating rink, giant slides, train rides, ice peaks, and holiday decor galore. Kids can visit with Santa, go "snow" tubing (no gloves necessary), and other winter activities.

Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL

Unlock the botanical beauty of Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago - no passport required! Marvel at eight stunning indoor gardens and explore ten acres of vibrant outdoor landscapes, with nature play spaces for kids and a spectacular water lily pond. A sensory journey that will take your breath away!

Christmas Crossroads Craft Show, Lockport, IL

If you like shopping for homemade crafts, the Christmas Crossroads Craft Show should be on your destination list. For nearly five decades this massive Christmas craft show has been featuring homemade items created by local artisans. All the proceeds go to local charitable causes such food pantries and scholarships.

Larsen's Light Show, Pingree Grove, IL

The Larsen's Light Show in Pingree Grove is designed to create family memories. A local landscaper puts on an elaborate display each year to bring Christmas spirit to the local community. This illuminated mansion draws in thousands of sightseers each year because it's truly a sight to behold.

Bennison's Bakery, Evanston, IL

There's nothing like visiting a cozy bakery on a winter day. Bannison's Bakery has been in the family since 1938, and they have perfected holiday treats. They hand make gingerbread houses, snowman cupcakes, brandied fruit cake, pies, petit fours, Florentines, and various traditional European treats.

Grant Woods Trail, Lake Villa, IL

Explore the wonders of Grant Woods Trail. A short drive from Caboose Park in Lake Villa Township, this trail offers six miles of gravel paths perfect for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. But that's not all; snowmobilers can access 4.5 miles of trails that directly tie into adjacent snowmobile trails during winter. With a leash and some waste bags, you and your pup will have a great time.

Caroling at Cloud Gate, Chicago, IL

What better place to go caroling than beautiful Millennium Park downtown Chicago? Caroling at Cloud Gate is a festive event where hundreds of carolers join to belt out holiday tunes. Santa also joins the crowd to add holiday spirit.

This text was created by the author with the assistance of GPT-3, a large-scale language generation model developed by OpenAI. The author reviewed, edited, and revised the draft language to their satisfaction and is fully responsible for the content of this publication.

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