As the days get shorter and the weather colder, many of us search for activities to do in our free time. Illinois winters are notoriously cold, so it’s tempting to hibernate until the weather warms in the spring. However you choose to spend the holiday season and the first few months of the new year, it’s helpful to have a choice of things to do to keep you entertained. We’ve compiled this list to give you some ideas of what to do during this frigid time of year.
While Illinois has many fun winter activities for you to participate in, sometimes you’ll just want to stay at home and keep warm. If you’re a sports fan, fantasy sports are a great indoor pastime. With fantasy sports, you get to build your own fantasy team or join a fantasy league to compete against players worldwide. Draftkings is the biggest fantasy sports website in the US, making it a great place to get started. New players can use the Draftkings promo code to take advantage of a substantial sign-up bonus. There’s a lot of fun to be had playing fantasy sports in the winter or any time of the year.
Ice Skating at Millennium Park
If you’re in Chicago, you won’t want to miss out on ice skating at Millennium Park, located under the world-famous Cloud Gate sculpture. You’ll skate the night away, surrounded by the beautiful Chicago backdrop of buildings sparkling in the night lights. It’s a great activity for family and friends, and you’ll find tourists and locals frequent this spot. Best of all, admission is free. However, you’ll need to make reservations online before you go. If you haven’t perfected your skating or hockey technique, you can take free lessons from 8 am to 9 am on most Saturdays and Sundays from November 20 through March 6, 2022.
Go Snow Tubing
While you may be tempted to play games on Facebook on a cold winter day, sometimes it’s a good idea to go out into the great outdoors. Tubing is the perfect activity for days when there is a lot of snow on the ground. The best thing about tubing is just about anyone can do it without any training, and it’s a fun activity for the family and friends alike. There are several places you can go snow tubing in Illinois, with Snowstar Winter Park, in Quad City, being one of the best. It features 11 snow tubing trails, 15 hiking trails, a freestyle zone, in addition to 40-foot jumps for snowboarders and skiers. If you’re not close to Quad City there are many alternatives such as Mount Hoy in Warrenville, DuPage County, Villa Olivia in Bartlett, northwest Cook County, and Raging Buffalo in downtown Chicago.
Check Out a Frozen Waterfall
Illinois has several stunning waterfalls dotted about the state. While most people explore these natural wonders in the summer months, they’re worth checking out when the temperatures drop and the water freezes. These frozen waterfalls are a sight to behold. You’ll get to see long ice columns seemingly magically suspended in the air. The longest icy columns are up to 80-feet long. It’s a sight worth seeing, but be sure to bundle up!
Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum
From November 20, 2021 to January 2, 2022 you can enjoy the annual Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum. The mile-long winter light spectacular features LED lights and music that will undoubtedly put you in the holiday spirit. You’ll get to enjoy multiple light displays across 50-acres of land. This season will feature a new light-up display of “Hallow” by artist Daniel Popper, with statues that were featured in the Arboretum’s “Human+Nature” exhibition. There’s also an enchanted gateway with glowing lights that leads the way to Meadow Lake, where upon arrival you’ll be greeted by 150 colorful lanterns. Old favorites such as Enchanted Hill, Symphony Woods, and Ornament Hill will return this year. You can stop to roast marshmallows and warm up in front of bonfires along the path, or pick up some snacks at various stalls along the way.