While summer can't come fast enough for many of us, Chicago isn't so quick to rush winter out the door. For the months of January and February, the Windy City has created a slew of activities for vacationers.
From January 29 through the 31, watch as Michigan Avenue in Grant Park becomes transformed into a winter wonderland. The three-day festival, Snow Days Chicago, includes a national snow sculpting contest, dog sled demonstrations, a snowboard rail jam and activities for the kids.
Want more? Polar Adventure Days, held on Northerly Island on January 23 and February 20, also has ice sculpture demonstrations and a sled team of arctic dogs. This event also has birds of prey and other live animals.
Throughout February families can head to Millennium Park for the Chicago Winter Dance Festival. This month-long event includes free ice skating lessons from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the McCormic Tribune Ice Rink. There will also be extended public skating hours and ice dancing demonstrations on Friday and Saturday evenings.
February is also Black History Month. The Dusable Museum of African American History is hosting the multimedia exhibition, Freedom's Sisters from January 23 through April 4.
Car aficionados will flock to McCormick Place between February 12 through 21 for the Chicago Auto Show, which is in its 102nd year. It features over 1,000 domestic and imported vehicles including antiques, experimental and concept cars.
Ring in the Year of the Tiger on February 14 with the annual Chinese New Year Parade. Firecrackers and dragon and lion dances will line the streets of Chicago's Chinatown.
Both the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks play throughout January and February at the United Center.
Many of Chicago's over 40 museums are free to the public, and those that aren't are offering free days.
The Art Institute of Chicago is free on Thursday evenings from 5-8 p.m. Throughout the entire month of February, enjoy free admission daily.
The Field Museum is free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from January 13 through February 24 (except Tuesday, February 9).
The Museum of Science and Industry is free on weekdays in January and on Saturdays, February 8 and 14.
The Adler Planetarium is free on Tuesdays in January and February. There is also no admission fee from January 11 through 15 and February 8 through 12.
The Shedd Aquarium is free on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout January and February, as well as between January 16 and 21 and February 15 and 19.
Broadway in Chicago's winter season includes;
Annie, January 19-24
Dreamgirls, January 19-31
August: Osage County, February 2-14
The 101 Dalmations Musical, February 16-28