By Meredith Lyons

Most of us wish there was a seasonal fast-forward button for the winter temperatures, but like it or not, there are a few things that are fun to experience during the colder days, especially when you know spring is just around the corner. Take advantage of the last days of winter with a few fun winter activities.

Millennium Park's McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (Credit: Mason Johnson)

Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (Credit: Mason Johnson)

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Millennium Park
Michigan Ave. and Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 742-1168

If you haven’t yet been down to Millennium Park to experience ice skating amid the amazing view of the Chicago skyline, the rink remains open until mid-March, weather permitting, so don’t miss out. The rink itself is free and open to the public. Skate rental is offered for only $10 and locker rental is also available should you need it, although your shoes will be cubbied if you rent skates. It’s one of Chicago’s most popular skating destinations. Be sure to grab some hot chocolate at the cafe when you take breaks to watch the other skaters or enjoy the view.

Related: Best Places to Go Ice Skating in Chicago

The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 968-0074

Although winter is normally the time of year when most Chicagoans try to minimize their time spent outdoors, with the temperatures starting to climb, another fun activity could be to take in the changing of the seasons themselves. Take a quick drive down to the Morton Arboretum for a springtime hike and see the first blooms of the season. If you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll catch some crocuses pushing their way up through the snow. Click here for the Arboretum’s suggested winter trails and podcasts.

Cricket Hill
660 W. Montrose Drive
Chicago, IL 60640

Don’t forget to try some family fun as the season winds down. If there’s enough snow left on your favorite sledding hill, take a day and bring the sled out for one last family outing in the snow. Make it a winter picnic event with a thermos of hot chocolate and some ginger cookies. If it’s warm enough, you could even bring a brightly colored frisbee to begin the transition into the warmer season. Bring the camera along to capture the last little bit of fun in the snow. For a list of other notable sledding spots in Chicago, click here.

The Chopping Block
4747 N Lincoln
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 472-670

Eating and drinking are two of mankind’s favorite ways to pass the winter months. Why not learn to create your own warm and soothing soup by taking a cooking class? You’ll feel productive and get to stay warm indoors. One of the favorite spots is the Chopping Block, but there are several places around town that offer classes of varying prices. A cooking class is also a great date night idea as well as a fun girls night out activity.



Four Lakes
5790 Lakeside Drive
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 964-255o

Spring skiing, or nearly spring skiing, can be the best if there is enough snow. Not only are you likely to avoid horridly low temperatures and possible snow storms, but generally you avoid the large crowds and lift tickets can even be cheaper than during the regular season. Go out with the family for an afternoon or on a day trip with a date or a group of friends to Four Lakes in Lisle, right in the Chicago suburbs. Get your last winter fix in before the slopes close for another year and get a jump start on some exercise to gear up for the coming warm months.

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at