Chicago: Winter Bucket List 2017

December 6, 2017 0 Comments
Morton Arboretum Illumination

The winter season is mostly known for the holidays, but there are tons of fun winter activities beyond the holiday-themed ones. I’m definitely guilty of succumbing to just a Netflix and Chill night in and ordering way too much delivery. So while most of us go into full-on hibernation mode during Chiberia’s harshest cold months, there are plenty of indoor winter activities to enjoy for outings with friends, family festivities or date nights with your significant other!


So if you’re looking for a little inspiration to ensure you don’t go stir crazy at home, feel free to check out the below winter activities.


  1. Christkindlmarket: Potato pancakes and German mulled wine spells holiday cheer at this German and European tradition brought to Chicago! This free market is now open until December 24 in three locations, which is exactly the number of times I went last year (3!). They have the cutest homemade ornaments and other goods available if you’re searching for a gift, otherwise it’s just a perfect short activity to get outside and munch on some delicious food.

  2. Holiday Lights: There are at least five attractions around the Chicagoland area offering spectacular holiday lights events. The free option is ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo unless you choose to upgrade to one of their more customized events. I was able to make it to the Morton Arboretum’s Illumination event this year already and it was breathtakingly beautiful!

  3. Make this recipe for red wine hot cocoa from Imma Eat That! It’s two of my all-time favorite things combined (wine + chocolate). Perfect for a night in… now all I’m missing is the fireplace to sip this by.
  4. Visit a Conservatory: When the landscape outdoors is barren in the winter, there’s nothing more luxurious than having a tropical experience indoors seeing lush greenery. I’ve never been to the Lincoln Park Conservatory yet, so I can’t wait to check out the Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House!

  5. Chicago Restaurant Week: During this annual foodie tradition, you get top fare at value pricing at restaurants throughout the city. From January 26, 2018 – February 8, 2018, be sure to make your reservation. Perfect for a dinner date or a lunch outing with your co-workers!

  6. During Chi-bera, I definitely go into hibernation mode (don’t we all?!) So for a night out winter activity that is still indoors and affordable, I’ll definitely plan to go to the Brew & View. For $5, enjoy a movie at the Vic Theatre! There’s even a winter cocktail special, the Peppermint Patty that consists of your choice of coffee or hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint schnapps and a shot of creme de cacao.

  7. Be a tourist in my own city and explore one of the museums. We’re so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing institutions in Chicago and there’s tons of Illinois Resident Free Days that you can take advantage of.

Follow along on my adventures this winter on Instagram and Twitter. What are you looking forward to this winter?

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, find more ideas for fun Chicago activities in my fall bucket list!