We knew it was coming... freezing cold temperatures in Chicago. Facebook and Twitter fill up with tons of posts of how much the winter sucks. Well, I understand that. I'm not exactly the most thrilled about freezing my booty off when I step outside to potty my puppy, but I also know that we needn't focus on the downsides of winter. A few years ago I made a pact with myself. I decided that I wasn't going to let myself complain about winter, and I was, instead, going to find things to do to take my mind off it and enjoy my winter months here in Chicago. So, I'm going to share with you some of the things you can get out and try this winter. Stop complaining, start doing. When you are active and having fun, you'll naturally be more positive throughout the winter. You may end up having a blast over the next few months!
1.) Enjoy free days at the museums.
Chicago area museums offer free days throughout the winter months for Illinois residents. When is the last time you played tourist in your own city? Check out this blog for a full list of when free days are happening at the museums (and check the museum websites for even more info): http://www.christinetrevino.com/2015/01/02/free-chicago-museum-days-2015/
2.) Get food/drink with friends.
Chicago has tons of ways to head out with friends. Have you even see the selection of food and beverage places that we have? Try out a new neighborhood, or try a place in your own neighborhood you haven't even tried yet! A few of my recommendations are as follows (feel free to leave yours in the comments below):
Pekish Pig - Evanston, IL
694 Wine & Spirits - Chicago, IL (River West)
Marty's Martini Bar - Chicago, IL (Andersonville)
Geek Bar Chicago - Chicago, IL
Farmhouse - Evanston, IL
3.) You can sky dive... indoors!
In case you were unaware, iFly indoor skydiving has a location that's opened up in Rosemont. If you haven't tried indoor skydiving... do it! It's a blast!
4.) Relax a bit.
When is the last time you treated yourself to a nice spa day? I'm actually surprised by how many of my friends tell me that they've NEVER had a massage. What? Try it out! You can find Groupon and LivingSocial deals all the time for these. I generally go to Egea up in Evanston (I enjoy taking a steam shower after my massage). I am, however, curious if there is anywhere in Chicago that offers a full-on spa day package (similar to the spas I visited out in Arizona)... so, if you know of one, please comment and tell me! :-)
5.) Be a kid again.
Growing up is overrated, so why not play some good old-fashioned arcade games! Chicago has a few places to do this, but these are some of my favorites...
Headquarters Beercade (Chicago, IL) - all machines set to free play! Drink & play!
Galloping Ghost (Brookfield, IL) - all machine set to free play, $15 entry fee. Largest selection.
Emporium Arcade Bar (Chicago, IL) - tolkien-style gaming in a bar.
6.) Stay in to cuddle and/or play.
Enjoying time at home is underrated. Why not stay home with your sweetie, OR have some friends over. You can rent a good ol' RedBox movie and order pizza... or, cook together! Another thing that a lot of people seem to forget about is good old fashioned board games. Gather some friends and play! If you are looking for new and innovative games to try out, check out Dice Dojo or the new Aw Yeah! Games (opening up in a few weeks). I should also note that these places have community events you can partake in too. My friends and I will often gather and have home cooked foods while playing games, or we'll get some delivery from GrubHub.
7.) Try out a class.
When is the last time you tried something new? Why not give a new class a go! You can find all sorts of deals for classes on Groupon and LivingSocial for fitness, dance, adventure sports, etc. A few winters ago I got certified in indoor rock climbing at Evanston Athletic Club, and before that I took aerials classes at the Actor's Gymnasium in Evanston! You can also try out flying trapeze at TSNY Chicago. If you want some fitness adventure check out aerial yoga at AIR Aerial Fitness and/or acro yoga (also at TSNY Chicago). If you are feeling extra adventurous you can give stunt work a try at Asylum Stunts in Chicago. I'm also a big fan of martial arts, because you can just get your winter aggression out.
8.) Start a new book.
When is the last time you actually read a book... I mean a book book? There is something extra comforting about reading in the "old fashioned" sense. So, head over to your local book store and pick out a new book to read. I think we need to keep supporting books before bookshops become a distant memory (I'll cry!).
9.) Take a weekend getaway.
There are lots of ways to get away for quick little weekend jaunts. One of my favorite places to go is up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It's about an hour and a half and you can stay at the Grand Geneva resort, or pick a resort in town. Sure, you can't do many lake activities in the winter time... but you can enjoy resort activities, indoor pools, local shops and restaurants... or you can go skiing or snowboarding or check out other winter activities. I haven't tried them yet, but I'm also super curious about Sybaris pool suites. A suite with a pool in the room sounds great to me!
10.) Catch some local entertainment.
Have you ever checked out the website Goldstar.com? Were you aware that Chicago has hundreds of theatre groups and there's always a large selection of performances happening around town? Well, get to Goldstar and pick out some show tickets! Goldstar offers discounted tickets for tons of events. Who cares if you've heard of it or not. Live on the side of adventure and give something new a try, because why not? There's also a marvelous music scene in Chicago, so check out a concert. One of my favorite places is SPACE in Evanston. You don't even necessarily have to go to a music venue for music, because lots of bars and restaurants in Chicago have live music nights. I think it's fun just to get tickets for an act I've never heard of and have a night out hearing some new music. Chicago also has a great comedy scene where you can catch stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy. In fact, the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival kicks off on January 8th! I also really love Zanie's for stand-up... the Rosemont location is a little more swanky than the one in the city.
So, it's time... pick out at least three new things you can try this winter and make winter time FUN and not a bore!
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