Wintertime has commenced once again in Chicago. Now, if you’re native to the area like me, you may be used to these negative degrees, blistering high winds, and what may seem like mountains of snow. However, with this polar weather come many, many activities that can only be done in this season and only in Chicago.
Let me start again in saying that winter in Chicago is unlike any other. I’ve been known to be somewhat of a homebody during winter, usually staying inside and watching movies whenever possible rather than venturing out into the snowy abyss before me. However, my winter level of activity this year has me feeling kind of triumphant, because there have just been too many pursuits that could not be ignored.
Before the holidays, my roommate Michelle was perhaps a little discouraged with the impending freezing temperatures that surrounded her birthday weekend. Were we to let it stop us? Of course not, and we decided to go ice skating in Millennium Park (right in front of the Bean). A group of us who live in the Residential Complex took a straight-shot 20-minute bus ride. Once at the park, we rented skates for a mere $10 and enjoyed unlimited ice-skating (what a steal!). I couldn’t believe it myself. As in any big city, it’s nice to find affordable activities that are also memorable ones. We skated for an hour or so, about 15 of us. The Canadians were really in their element, let me tell you. I was doing pretty well by the end, but I was definitely shown up as my classmates effortlessly glided by me as if they’d been doing it for 20 years (which many of them had been). The air was crisp and thou could feel the holiday season as the park was lit up with lights and a rosy color adorned everyone’s cheeks. Winter in Chicago really just can’t be beat.
Now, if you’re a holiday lover like myself, you’ll really love the city’s Christkindlmarket, in the Loop. Inspired by the famous, centuries-old Christmas market in the German city of Nuremberg, Chicago’s version pops up every year in Daley Plaza. You really feel like you’re in Germany; many of the vendors working the market even come fly in from Europe. Visitors can fill their bellies with Schnitzel, hot chocolate, mulled wine (YUM!), and other delicious foreign delights. My boyfriend sampled all of the yummy treats as we walked around looking at little tinker shops filled with handmade ornaments and meticulous wood clocks. Decorated with thousands of colorful lights and Christmas ornaments, the whole scene resembled the inside of a snow globe.
However, if you’re not into the “feel-good” type of activities and would rather be inside, never fear! Chicago sports can lead you there. In addition to all that is going on outside, I had the pleasure of attending my first NHL game at the United Center, affectionately known as the “Madhouse on Madison.” In addition to housing the Blackhawks, the arena is also home to the Bulls. I know what you’re probably thinking, Hawks games must be expense. Let me be the first to refute that notion, because you can get standing room “seats” for crazy-low prices, or even pay just a bit more to get an upper-level seat. Trust me, there is no bad view at the United Center. Unfortunately the Hawks lost, and the Bulls are now without Derrick Rose, but a game at the UC is still quite an experience. Give me a hotdog and a cold beer, and I’m quite the happy camper.