Consider this a cognitive therapy session to help you feel better about the season that several of your friends and family have moved away from. If you still live here after the past two winters, congratulations…you’re a midwesterner. You grew up with 4 seasons, strapped on your snow pants, found creative ways to de-ice your windshield because you forgot your scraper, and you haven’t been stomped by AT-ATs on State Street…yet.
I personally like snow and I know I’m not alone. I also don’t mind a trip somewhere warm in order to endure it with a tan, but I take pride in where I’m from and love that I can appreciate the other 3 seasons because of Winters here. You also get an awesome and natural excuse to stay in and binge watch Netflix shows with a glass of some-something.
So before posting your super cliche “ugh, Chicago Winter. Get me out of here” Facebook status, turn up 93.9 on your radio for 24/7 holiday tunes and consider some proactive options that you can’t get most places.
Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
Lions, Tigers, and beers…oh my!
You read that right. Along with a whole calendar of events, you can peruse the zoo with beers (and maybe Bears) or other adult beverages as the whole place gets lit up like you’ve never seen before. It’s free to enter, as always, and there’s a number of activities to partake in including rides, crafts, and seeing Santa. There are a few dates to mark on the calendar as well.
12/10 Adults Night Out
12/14, 12/21, 12/28 Family Nights
1/3 Last Day
Want to know a great way to stay warm in Chicago? Laughing. Where better to do that than in a tiny cramped venue, brushing shoulders with the table next to you, sipping on a rum and something, and then forgetting it all with belly laugh after belly laugh.
Dave Chappelle is in the middle of a 6 day residency at Thalia Hall, Dec. 1 – 6, but good luck getting tickets for that. All 12 shows were sold out, but MAYBE a ticket or 2 will show up on StubHub. Meanwhile, you and your rowdy friends can check out any of the following clubs for standup shows:
Chicago Improv (in Schaumburg)
Laugh Factory (on Broadway)
Zanies (Chicago, St. Charles and Rosemont)
Beat Kitchen (on Belmont)
Or you can get literally spontaneous comedy at any of the improv institutions that helped put Chicago on the map in show business like Second City, iO or Comedy Sportz.
Last, but not least, John Oliver is performing at the Chicago Theater December 30th and 31st. Maybe don’t miss that.
I’m sure you’ve heard of it but in case you’ve never been, head over to Daley Plaza at Clark and Washington to see for yourself. The tradition began in Nuremberg, Germany in 1545 and was brought to Chicago in 1996. It’s considered the largest open-air Christmas festival in the city, but my favorite part is the mug of hot wine that I can mosey about with.
It’s open till Dec. 24th, so get over as soon as you can.
(Nobody wants to call it Macy’s this time of year)
This is Christmas nostalgia at it’s finest for most of us who grew up around Chicago. Winter break from school, Mom and Dad have some last minute shopping and your family from New York is in town…where do you head to? State Street, that great street, to see the windows at Marshall Fields.
Every year there’s a different story being told around the building, and people of all ages can’t wait to see what’s next. Inside, on the 7th floor is another sight to behold. The Walnut Room has been a Chicago tradition since 1907.
Star Wars (Chicago Style)
If the pre-sale numbers and the marketing haven’t already told you, people are excited for Star Wars. So how can you best celebrate the release of Episode 7?
The Whistler in Logan Square will be transforming their bar into the Mos Eisley Cantina on December 16th. There will be local musicians on hand as the house band from A New Hope and the cocktail menu will be overhauled with galactic themed beverages.
Then there’s Adler After Dark the next evening, December 17th, as the Adler Planetarium will be hosting a Force Awakens party unlike any.
- Star Wars Trivia
- A screening of Space Balls
- Star Wars-inspired beer from Empirical Brewing
- Lightsaber Combat Workshop!
- human-robot interactives from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
The Force is strong, yes?
Sauced Night Market
It’s a roving night market, self-described as being “dedicated to emerging culinarians, artists and that guy from high school who’s a DJ now – an evening of food, art and debauchery set to the tune of “Hypnotize”. Intrigued? Sure you are.
December 15th, SAUCED will be at Emporium Arcade Bar in Logan Square for your not-yet-last-minute holiday shopping, great food from Chicago vendors, and craft beer. It sounds way too interesting to pass up.
One Of A Kind Show
Love art or just any alternative to retail? This is for you. From December 3rd – 6th, 600 artists from across North America will be at the Merchandise Mart on Orleans with every kind of handmade creation you can think of.
Accessories, ceramics, sculptures, furniture, photography, paintings, glass, jewelry, fashion, etc. And here’s the show schedule:
Thursday, December 3 11am-8pm
Friday, December 4 11am-8pm
Saturday, December 5 10am-7pm
Sunday, December 6 10am-5pm
All the One Of A Kind Show info is here.
I find it funny that there are still people around Chicago who haven’t caught on to Topgolf. It’s the grownup version of Chuck E. Cheese, Enchanted Castle, Leaps & Bounds, or whatever kids amusement place you used to frequent when you were younger.
It’s golf meets bowling, where each individual ball you hit has a chip inside and you aim for targets to score points against your friends. Full bar, great food, multiple monitors to watch sports, parties every night…and you it’s open year round with plenty of heat.
I actually went with my dad on the coldest of year and it was an absolute blast. Here’s proof.
If you have anymore recommendations to make December better, please pass them along on Facebook or Twitter.