Family fun in the Midwest is all about embracing the seasons. In the winter, that means welcoming the snow, but also knowing when to get out of the house for indoor fun that lets kids stretch their legs (or bounce off energy).
We’ve rounded up winter activities for keeping the memories warm even as the weather drops and the nights grow long. Here, you’ll find the best sledding hills, new tubing adventures, outdoor ice rinks for breaking out the skates… as well as spots for bowling, bouncing, and other indoor fun.
We hope it inspires your family to bundle up and spend some quality time together this winter!
This guide is sponsored by Sparkle Light Festival.
Discover the ultimate holiday destination with Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field in Rosemont! Open November 17 through December 31, immerse yourself in millions of sparkling lights as you stroll through illuminated villages with custom holiday features. Visit Santa Claus, ice-skate with friends, enjoy free train rides on the “Holly Trolly” train, go tubing down the Alpine Slide, and more! Bundle up and indulge in festive food and drink as you experience the area’s premier outdoor light festival. For tickets and more information visit SparkleRosemont.com!
Bundle Up for Outdoor Fun
Snow will be here before you know it, so start scoping out places now! Here is a comprehensive list of places to sled in the west suburbs. Don’t forget to check on your gear ahead of time. Sleds are hard to come by once the snow hits the ground, so make sure you’re ready for the first snowfall.
With higher peaks, bumps along the course, and some that even have a convenient belt to bring your tube back to the top, your family won’t want to leave these local and destination tubing and toboggan spots.
Family-friendly indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks with skate rental information, admission fees, and how to find out if the outdoor rinks are ready.
Where to go skiing with descriptions, pricing, and rental information to help you plan a fun adventure with your family.
Explore your favorite summertime trails while they’re covered in a layer of fresh snow. We also have info on rentals and the best scenic spots.
Find fabulous ways to spend quality time at home with your family, as well as ways to mix it up with adventures on the go. This guide also includes winter break camps with sports, games, crafts, gymnastics, field trips, art, science, math and more.
Kidlist is your secret for finding holiday fun! Find Christmas activities, where to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids, the best Christmas lights, and more.
Celebrate and honor the life of the incredible Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with these engaging events and resources.
Valentine’s day is all about spending time with the one’s you love. So soak up the love with these in-person, virtual, and at-home events and ideas!
Food and Where to Eat
Winter does not stop Chicagoans from dining outdoors anymore! We have all the info on where to find igloo dining, group sizes, and details.
Visit one of these restaurants for a delicious, one-of-a-kind, extreme milkshake or hot chocolate.
Feeding a family can be expensive, especially when dining out. Enjoy a family-friendly meal with a family-friendly price tag at these local spots.
Stay Warm with Indoor Winter Activities
Lace up those skates and enjoy some retro fun with the whole family.
Our play area guide encompasses indoor play gyms, indoor inflatables, indoor playgrounds, and even restaurants with indoor play spaces.
Burn off all of the extra energy at these places to jump and bounce!
If kids are scaling the walls anyway, they may as well learn how to boulder and belay. These rock climbing gyms range from casual spots to climb to places that offer lessons for more serious climbing.
Treat yourselves to an afternoon of pampering at these local kid-friendly nail salons.
Our list of escape rooms includes details about difficulty and scariness to help you find one that’s right for you and your family.
Create a masterpiece at one a local pottery studio. If you’re gifting your work of art, don’t forget that you’ll need extra time to fire it.
All of the kid-friendly theater for families in the west and southwest suburbs of Chicago. Find performances in this comprehensive guide to theater for kids.
Winter Day Trips and Travel
Get inside information about the ice castles at Lake Geneva so you can get tips to plan your trip.
Winter Activities at Home
Don’t forget about adding at-home activities to your winter bucket list! Build a snowman with this adorable kit, have a snowball fight, make an igloo, bake cookies together (this is our favorite cookie recipe lately), snuggle up and watch a movie together (check out this list of 50 movies all kids should watch before they are 12 from Common Sense Media!), try a new soup recipe, or sit by the fire and play a game.