Is It a Good Time to Visit Chicago in January?With temperatures ranging from 22 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, January in Chicago is the coldest month of the year. Snow-covered, along with the gusts of strong winds, makes Chicago in January pretty much murky. With an average wind speed of over 14 miles per hour, overcast almost through January, and 3-4 hours of sunshine every day, January in Chicago is an off-season month to vacation. You can be indoorsy or meander outdoors, this off-season winter month in Chi-town has a little someone for everyone. What entices visitors the most during the colder months are the impeccable deals, less crowded streets, and plenty of options to hangout!
Top 19 Things to Do While Visiting Chicago in January!
1. Ice-skating in the OutdoorsStrap on a pair of skates and glide through the curvy skating rink in Maggie Daley Park or the Rosemont's Parkway Bank Park. The Maggie Daley Park spreads across 20 acres of land, which features a playground, ribbon-shaped skating platform, and a 40-feet climbing bridge. However, the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink in Rosemont allows you to reserve a 45-minute skating session. Accessible every day (even during the holidays), it is the perfect spot for you and your family to enjoy the cold weather of January.
Maggie Daley Park: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Chicago Wolves Ice Rink: 2301 Ravine Way, Glenview, IL 60025
Best Time: November to early March
Cost: Skates available for rental for USD 8- USD 20
2. Outdoor CurlingHead up to the rooftop of the Gwen hotel, which has a custom-designed iceless curling rink. Enjoy curling while sipping the signature curling cocktail. A 45-minute session of curling along with a full food/drink menu and the fire pits decked at the rooftop will cozy up your winters. Kaiser Tigers is another spot wherein you can join-in for a round of curling during winters, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and sip your favorite cocktail.
Address: Gwen Hotel: 521 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
Kaiser Tigers: 1415 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Pricing: Admission is USD 30 per person (for a minimum of 2 people), including a choice of one cocktail.
3. Top All-season Patios That Offer an Escapade from the Chicago ColdNot many enjoy the cold weather that Chicago bears in January. Thankfully some spots keep the outdoor cruising in winters worthwhile.Stay warm and cozy in the heated rooftop snowglobes. An evening with food and drinks in these outdoor igloos have been trendy for quite some time. Ditch the indoors and enjoy a wintery night at the heated patios. Take a peek at the top-rated all-season patios that offer an escapade from the chilly weather:
Village Tap Bar
2055 W Roscoe St, Chicago, IL 60618·
2024 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614·
The Boiler Room
2210 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647·
2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647·
1865 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
4. Revisit the History with the Field MuseumThe Field Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. The museum features an exhaustive collection of the early fossils to the current cultures from around the world. Take a trip down the natural history with their collection of gems, meteorites, fossils, cultural artifacts, and more from all over the globe. Even though the museum is open throughout the year, you can visit the museum during winters to prevent meandering in the unbearable cold.
Address: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Entry Fee: USD 21-USD 26
5. Visit the Shedd AquariumShedd aquarium is another indoor space that you will fall in love with instantly. Engross in the underwater world with a diver-eye view of the aquatic mammals at the Shedd Aquarium. You'll be able to see some of the winter marine animals like beluga, penguins, otters, and many more.
Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Open hours: Non-holiday Mondays–Thursdays: 10 AM– 5 PM
Fridays: 9 AM– 5 PM
Saturdays–Sundays: 9 AM -6 PM
Entry fee: USD 40Website:www.sheddaquarium.org
6. Self-guided Hike at the North Park Village Nature CenterBring a friend along and traverse through this 46 acre-nature preserve that houses hiking trails, a birding area, and more. Stargaze, stroll, or spot the nocturnal animals during the early evening hours here.
Address: 5801 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60646
Open Hours: 9.00 AM to 6.30 PM
7. Fire and Ice pop-upBeat the chilly winters of Chicago at a massive patio at the Recess. It features ice sculptures, tons of chilly photo ops, a fire pit table, s'more that is to die for, and cocktails. There is also a small section for the kids, so do tag them along if you may.
Address: 838 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60642
Open Hours: 4.00 PM-11.00 PM
Sat-Sun: 11.00 AM-11.00 PM
8. Go for the Winter SportsIndulge in winter sports with sledding and snow trekking. If you are a winter-lover and are looking for an adrenaline rush, indulge in these winter sports at Soldier's Field and the Northerly Island. Enjoy sledding at the Soldier's Field that features a 30-foot sledding hill, or snow trekking at the Northerly Island. Sledders can also enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Michigan from the top of this hill.
Soldier's Field: 1410 Museum Campus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Cost for Snow trekking: USD 5 for two hours
9. Meet the Cold-weather Zoo Animals at Lincoln Park ZooLocated just a few minutes from downtown Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo is free and open 365 days for its visitors. When in Chicago during the colder months, don't forget to head down to the Zoo to see Polar Bears and snow monkeys.
Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Open Hours: 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM
10. Admire the Frozen LakeOne of the best things about Chicago in January is the frozen Michigan Lake. Head to the Lakefront trail and enjoy an up-close and spectacular vista of the frozen lake.
11. Selfie at the Bean AKA Cloud GatePopularly known as the Cloud Gate, the Bean is the most visited and a famous sight in Chicago. Situated at Millennium Park, this masterpiece reflects the city's skyline and the surrounding spaces. Head down to Millenium Park and snap a memorable snowy selfie with the Bean.
Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
12. Art Institute of Chicago for the Art-LoversThe Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the USA. It houses a collection of more than 1,00,000 pieces of artwork, including Pablo Picasso, Grant Wood, and more. It's an art-lovers pit shop, so make sure you add this to your must-visit list. If you are not a fan of the outdoors during winter, head straight to the museum and admire the art here. It is one of the major takeaways from the city.
Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Entry fee: USD 19-25
13. Enjoy a Breathtaking View of the Windy City from the Willis TowerNothing beats Chicago's view from the top of the Willis Tower. A 1450-foot tall, 108-story skyscraper makes Willis tower one of the most famous spots in the city. It adorns Chicago's skyline. Take a lift to the top of the Willis Tower to enjoy a breathtaking view of Windy City.
Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Entry Fee: Adult – Ages 12 up – USD 26.00, Youth – Ages 3 to 11 – USD 18.00
14. Visit the Film LocationsRemember these? Christopher Nolan's Dark Night, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Home Alone, etc., were all shot at the Windy City. Willis Tower, Trump International Hotel, and Tower, Skydeck Chicago are some of the locations that have featured Chicago on the Silver screen. Don't forget to explore these spots.
15. Attend the Chicago Bulls GameReady for a basketball game? Get the real taste of Chicago by attending one of their basketball games at the United Center. It is the best winter activity for your trip to Chicago in January. Don't mind the chilly weather, support and cheer with the rest of the fans.
Address: 1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612
Check the match schedules here: www.nba.com
16. Winter WonderFestAre you looking for fun things to do in Chicago in January? If Yes, Head to the Navy Pier. Every year Chicago hosts the biggest and best winter playground, with slides, rides, and an ice skating rink at the Navy Pier.
Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
17. Black Creativity Art ExhibitionHosted every year is this longest-running juried art exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry. This exhibition features the artwork of, more than 100 professional and amateur African-American artists from all over the country. Displayed here are the drawings, painting, sculpture, photography, and more.
Address: 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637
Buy Tickets at www.msichicago.org
18. Chicago Restaurant WeekFrom late January to February, restaurants from all over the city and nearby suburbs allow diners to indulge in the special prix-fixe meals. Explore the list of participating restaurants to view their menus and reserve seats at your favorite restaurants.
Cost: USD 25 for brunch or lunch, and USD 39 and/or USD 55 for dinner
Travel Tips For Visiting Chicago in JanuaryWhat To Pack:
January in Chicago might be unbearable at times, hence you must pack a good amount of layers. To survive the bone-chilling weather, carry all the essentials like your sweater, Coats, gloves, thermal wear, scarves, caps, winter boots are all essentials.
You get the best deals and offers during an off-season visit. Visitors can enjoy their stay at the revered properties in Chicago like Soho House, Conrad Chicago, W- Chicago Lakeshore, all at affordable and discounted prices. You can also book accommodation in some friendly neighborhoods like West Loop, Logan Square, Bucktown, Andersonville, and Wicker Park. You can easily access public transportation from these neighborhoods and explore the restaurants, shopping stops, and more.
December, January and February are the cheapest months to fly to Chicago. Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Midway both have non-stop flights from many cities in the USA and other destination cities.
Best Time to Visit Chicago:
Although Spring and Fall seasons are the best times to visit Chicago, winters are undoubtedly not bad. With visitors retracting after the Christmas and New Year's celebrations and Chicagions settling back to their everyday routine makes Chicago less crowded during winters. Also, there are lower fare-rates on everything, hundreds of indoor opportunities that will make you forget the cold weather.
The Windy City has a lot to offer, even during the colder months of the year. Chicago in January is ideal for the winter-lovers. Less crowded streets, cheap accommodations, lower flight fares, etc., makes traveling during this month all the more enjoyable.