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Winter in Chicago


The city of Chicago is famous for many things such as deep dish pizza, jazz music, avid sports fans and its cold and windy winters (not for nothing it is known as “The Windy City”). Many international students, especially those coming from places with mild climates, express concerns about experiencing their first winter in Chicago, fearing that it will be rough and inhospitable. However, international students are gladly surprised to find that winter also brings a unique opportunity to discover amazing new places and partake in fun activities. In a city as vibrant and exciting as Chicago, winter is not a reason to stay inside watching TV all day.

Here are my favorite things about winter in Chicago:

  • Winter Holidays: Winter also brings with it some of the most popular holidays in the United States, such as Christmas and New Year’s. There is a magical feeling about exploring the streets of Chicago lit up with Christmas lights and covered in white snow that palm trees could never give you. Make sure to check out the famous Christmas tree at Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and do your holiday shopping at the Christkindlmarket Chicago.

Holiday market in Chicago

  • Ice-skating: My favorite winter activity by far is ice skating at the Millennium Park ice-skating rink and Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon. Admission is free and skate rentals are available for $12-$14. It is an unforgettable experience to ice skate surrounded by the iconic places and landmarks of a world renowned city that 2.7 million people call home. The Millennium Park ice rink offers views of the famous Cloud Gate (also known as The Bean), while the Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon offers a stunning view of the Chicago Skyline.

Ice-skating rink in Millennium Park

  • Performing Arts: The Windy City offers breathtaking and one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences and artistic performances. From big performance arts venues such as the Palace Theater, The Oriental Theater and the Civic Opera House, to more intimate and cozy venues such as the Broadway Playhouse, American Theater Company and Steppenwolf Theater, residents of Chicago can enjoy some of the best entertainment in the world. Winter is the perfect time to explore the theater scene in Chicago, as Chicago Theater Week in February offers students the opportunity to attend these professional productions for a more affordable price.

Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University

  • Museum Campus: Chicago has one of the most stunning skylines in the United States, with its soaring skyscrapers and breathtaking architecture. The Museum Campus offers one of the best views of the Chicago skyline. It covers 57 acres of park land alongside Lake Michigan and includes five of the city’s most remarkable attractions: Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. Although these attractions have an entrance fee, they have free admission days during the winter if you show your Roosevelt University student ID, making it the perfect time to visit.

Field Museum in Chicago

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

Adler Planetarium in Chicago

These are my three favorite things to do during the winter in Chicago. Now it’s your turn to go out and explore all the beauty and greatness of the Windy City.