Rumor has it that this winter is supposed to be one of the worst yet. But resist the urge to hibernate because there are so many fun events and activities going on this winter that you won’t want to miss. And I’m not just talking ice skating at Millennium Park. Time flies when you’re having fun, so get through the next few months (and maybe even enjoy them!) by checking out these fun going-ons in Chicago this winter.

1) Drop by German-American Holiday Market, Christkindlmarket. 

If you’ve been anywhere near the Loop since Thanksgiving, you’ve probably seen the Christkindlemarket set-up in Daley Plaza. Enjoy glögg (mulled wine) and German food while you peruse vendors selling sweets and lots of trinkets that are perfect for stuffing stockings. Christkindlemarket is ongoing each night until December 24th.

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2) Be dazzled by Zoolights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Bundle up, grab the family, and head to ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo from 4:30 to 9 each evening to enjoy spiced wine, snacks, and musical light shows. While it’s free most nights, don’t miss out on speciality nights like BrewLights and Adults Night Out that are 21+ and require tickets.

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3) Shop at Renegade Craft Fair & Randolph Street Holiday Market

Looking for unique and creative holiday gifts? Look no further than the Renegade Craft Fair and Randolph Street Market. Catch Renegade at the Bridgeport Art Center on December 3rd and 4th and choose between the handmade creations of over 250 makers, enjoy DIY workshops, and indulge in delicious food and drink. The following weekend, hit up the Holiday Market, which will feature 125 vendors with antique, vintage, or modern goods. Just don’t forget to get tickets beforehand!

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Snowstorm Music Festival

4) Dance to EDM tunes at Snowstorm Music Festival

Missing those summer music festivals? Luckily, Chicagoans no longer need to wait for Pitchfork and Lollapalooza, since the indoor Snowstorm will return for its second year in March. Expect iconic electronic artists at a cost far lower than Lolla.

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5) Laugh your hearts out at Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

With world-renown improv like Second City, iO and Laugh Factory, it’s no surprise that Chicago holds a Sketch Comedy Festival. This January, head to Stage 773 for one (or many) of the 180 shows by 154 groups going on over an 8-day stretch. Grab tickets beginning December 1st.

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6) Relieve your sweet cravings at DonutFest

When it’s too cold to travel from donut shop to donut shop, DonutFest brings them all to you so that you can decide who makes the best donut in Chicago. Will Gurnee Donuts (judge pick), Chemsaw and Stan’s (crowd picks) maintain their titles from 2016? Find out on January 28th and 29th.

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Know of other fun things to do in Chicago this winter? Don’t keep that intel all to yourself — share in the comments below!


Make a bowl of warm soup, take an improv workshop, or make your own holiday gifts – Discover all unique experiences in Chicago this winter on!

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