The Kidlist Winter Activities Guide: Ideas to Make This the Best Winter Ever!

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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.

Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field, Rosemont

Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field, Rosemont
November 17 – December 31, 2023
Website | Facebook | Instagram

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!

Grab Your Sled and Head for These Sledding Hills

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.

Where to Go Snow Tubing and Tobogganing

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.

Ice Skating in Chicagoland: Outdoor, Indoor, and Refrigerated Rinks

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.

Locations, Details, Pricing for Skiing and Snowboarding Near Chicago

Where to go skiing with descriptions, pricing, and rental information to help you plan a fun adventure with your family.

Winter Hikes, Snowshoe Rentals, and Cross-Country Skiing

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.

baby in a tube showing snow tubing as one of the most fun winter activities

Winter Break Camps and Activities in Chicago’s Western Suburbs

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.

Holiday Fun Guide: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, 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.

How to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Kids

Celebrate and honor the life of the incredible Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with these engaging events and resources.

Making Valentine’s Day Special for Kids: Local Events and Activity Ideas

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!

Igloos and Dome Dining

Winter does not stop Chicagoans from dining outdoors anymore! We have all the info on where to find igloo dining, group sizes, and details.

Over the Top Milkshakes and Hot Chocolates

Visit one of these restaurants for a delicious, one-of-a-kind, extreme milkshake or hot chocolate.

Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

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.

Arcades, Laser Tag, and Game Rooms

We’ve rounded up the best local arcades, laser tag and game rooms for kids (or kids at heart) in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Local Roller Skating Rinks

Lace up those skates and enjoy some retro fun with the whole family.

Kid-Friendly Bowling Alleys

Get the list of local bowling alleys with helpful info about ramps and bumpers.

Indoor Play Areas

Our play area guide encompasses indoor play gyms, indoor inflatables, indoor playgrounds, and even restaurants with indoor play spaces.

Indoor Pools with Family Swim Times

If these long, cold and dreary days have you and your crew dreaming of summer sunshine, treat your kids to an indoor pool.

Trampoline Parks and Inflatables

Burn off all of the extra energy at these places to jump and bounce!

Rock Climbing for Kids in Chicagoland

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.

Kid-Friendly Nail Salons

Treat yourselves to an afternoon of pampering at these local kid-friendly nail salons.

Escape Rooms

Our list of escape rooms includes details about difficulty and scariness to help you find one that’s right for you and your family.

Paint-Your-Own Pottery Studios

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.

Chicagoland Kids Theater Guide: Fall – Winter

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.

School Closings in Chicagoland and Ideas for a Snow Day

A comprehensive and up-to-date list of school closings, plus creative ways to enjoy a snow day.

Local Hotels with Pools and Kid-Friendly Chicago Hotel Deals

Take advantage of these awesome packages and beat the winter blues with a mini getaway.

A Visit to the Ice Castles in Lake Geneva and Tips for Your Day Trip

Get inside information about the ice castles at Lake Geneva so you can get tips to plan your trip.

Escape to These Indoor Water Parks Near Chicagoland

We’ve researched all the best options for indoor water parks in and around Chicago for you!

Photo courtesy of local mom and Kidlist reader Priscilla M. in Oak Park, IL

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.

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