Winter Events in Chicago: 2018-2019 Edition

Winter brings more than holiday cheer to Chicago. The city is vibrant and filled with life -- even during the cold months -- as the Magnificent Mile lights up and locals and visitors alike flock to skating rinks and other winter attractions.

Some of the best things to do in Chicago during the winter are just a quick walk or "L" ride away. So bundle up, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore the winter wonderland of the Windy City.

Your wintery Chicago adventure starts here.

christkindlmarket winter fair in chicago


Nothing says winter in Chicago quite like an afternoon at Chicago's iconic Christkindlmarket. Held annually at Daley Plaza, the outdoor market features dozens of German vendors, artisans, and food carts. Order a ceramic boot of mulled wine, take a walk through the market's indoor candy palace, and take in the infectious yuletide energy of the city's favorite yuletide tradition!

November 16 - December 24, 2018 | Daley Plaza | Free Admission

2018 Christkindlmarket

hotel near zoo lights at lincoln park zoo

Photo Courtesy of Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Get in the holiday spirit with at ZooLights at Lincoln Park! For 35 nights, Chicago's favorite zoo becomes a magical, glowing winter wonderland. Grab a warm cider, take in the festive energy of the twinkling zoo, and see your favorite animals in a whole new light. With the city's magnificent skyline just behind the bright, interactive displays, holiday events in Chicago don't get much better than this.

November 23, 2018 - January 6, 2018 | Lincoln Park Zoo | Free Admission

Lincoln Park ZooLights

ice skating at millennium park in chicago

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

A traditional winter pursuit gets a brilliant backdrop at the Millennium Park ice skating rink. The centerpiece of Downtown Chicago becomes an ice skating Mecca through March, as thousands of skaters of all experience levels flock to The Loop for a spin on the free rink in the shadow of the Bean and the city's towering skyscrapers.

November, 2018 - March, 2019 | Millennium Park | $12.00 for Rental Skates

Millenium Park Ice Skating

christmas carol at goodman theatre chicago

A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre

For forty years, the Goodman Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol has been a holiday mainstay in Chicago. Perfect for families exploring Chicago during the winter, A Christmas Carol strikes the perfect balance of comedy, suspense, nostalgia, and unbridled holiday joy. At the end of the show, feel free to join in as the cast leads a lively sing-along of Joy to the World.

If you're looking for dinner or a cocktail after the show, head to Petterino's for a martini and Chicago steakhouse experience, located adjacent to the Goodman. You won't even need to put on your coat.

November 17, 2018 - December 30, 2018 | Goodman Theatre | $40.00 - $110.00

Christmas Carol

chicago donut fest

Chicago Donut Fest

There's no better way to stave off the cold than enjoying sweet treats - and plenty of them. At Chicago's fourth-annual Donut Fest, heart-warming sweets are plentiful. Some of the Windy City's best-known bakeries and under-the-radar small-batch donut-makers will supply the goods, including Glazed and Infused, Stan's Donuts & Coffee, and Kinzie Street's own Doughnut Vault.

January 27, 2019 | Chop Shop in Wicker Park | $35.00 - $50.00

Chicago Donut Fest

hotel near chicago auto show events

Chicago Auto Show

Don't miss the country's largest auto show during your winter getaway! Spanning more than a million sq. ft. of floor space, the Chicago Auto Show features the latest models, interactive displays, and the world's most innovative and revolutionary concept cars. Head to McCormick Place, sit in your dream vehicle, and explore everything the Chicago Auto Show has to offer.

February 09 - 18, 2019 | McCormick Place | $7.00 - $13.00

Chicago Auto Show

2018 chicago orchid show events

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

Step out of winter's chill and into the Chicago Botanic Garden's top annual indoor exhibition, featuring colorful orchids from around the world. The show features more than 10,000 blooming orchids, offering guests the opportunity to purchase some of their favorites at the Orchid Marketplace each Saturday and Sunday. The Orchid Show takes place at the botanic garden's Regenstein Center.

February 09 - March 24, 2019 | Chicago Botanic Garden | $10.00 - $12.00

2019 Orchid Show

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20 W Kinzie St.

Chicago, IL 60654

(312) 395-9000

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