Things to do in Chicago over winter break


Photo Courtesy of Douglas Rahden

Daley Plaza during Christkindlmarket in Chicago.

By Ashley Rayan, Staff Writer

If your hometown friends are anything like mine, it’s bound to include more than a few trips downtown to see Cloud Gate (The Bean) and to go ice skating at Millennium Park.

Whether you’re going home and tired of seeing the same things every time, or it’s your first time visiting the city, try some of these exciting winter activities.


This open-air market, conveniently located in Daley Plaza, is a must-see for visitors and locals.

It’s based off the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, and is the perfect place to stop to try some authentic and affordable German cuisine, as well as to get some holiday shopping done early at the gift vendors. And if you aren’t one for crowds, try stopping at the newest Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville.

Ice skating at Maggie Daley Park

Rather than ice skating at Millennium Park, opt to skate at Maggie Daley Park. The ribbon shape of the rink is a less crowded alternative to the oval Millennium rink.

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    Admission into the rink is free — just pay for your skate rental or bring your own. This is the perfect daytime activity for your friends and family during your trip to Chicago.

    Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

    The ZooLights are a time-old tradition at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and is a great place to make a full-day trip with friends and family.

    Admission is free, and there are carousels, trains and a Ferris wheel to ride. They also have special themed nights on certain days of the week, especially for adults.

    Chicago Architecture Biennial

    Although this isn’t restricted to only the winter, it is definitely a sight that should be seen before the exhibit leaves Chicago in January.

    The program celebrates and showcases contemporary architecture in Chicago, and it aims to spark an interest in the next generation of architects and designers.

    The main venue is located downtown at the Chicago Cultural Center, but there are also six anchor locations and many other program partners showing parts of the exhibit outside the city.

    “The Nutcracker” ballet

    Chicago is home to one of the best preforming arts scenes in the country. Every year the Joffrey Ballet brings “The Nutcracker” to Chicago.

    If Joffrey is out of your budget, try the Chicago Ballet, which also performs “The Nutcracker.” Discount balcony seats can be as low as $10.

    Christmas Around the World

    The Museum of Science and Industry’s famous Christmas Around the World exhibit has just turned 75. On the weekends, there are different cultural dance performances for the celebration. Also, check out the Brick by Brick and Robot Revolution exhibits.

    Ashley is a freshman in LAS.

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