The Becovic Blog

Family-Friendly Winter Fun on the North Side of Chicago

Posted March 6, 2024

Navy PierWith perfect weather this winter season, the city of Chicago is your oyster when it comes to family fun activities for the whole family. With the North Side being a hub for entertainment, outdoor events, and family fun, the hardest decision is where to start. Check out our list of the best family-friendly activities that can brighten your family’s day and bring them some much-needed time in the fresh, brisk air and sun. 

Lincoln Park Zoo

A summer favorite that you may be surprised to find out is also open during the wintertime – the Lincoln Park Zoo is open 365 days a year. It is an iconic spot in the winter to spend some time taking a brisk walk and seeing the winter animals in their habitats outdoors. Choosechicago.com says, “In the colder months, you can watch polar bears, penguins, and snow monkeys play outside. Many of the animals move indoors during the winter, so warm up inside the animal houses, where you can watch penguins, gorillas, and more.” 

Playing Along the Lakefront

The public beaches and lakefronts are as ‘hot’ of a spot in winter months as in summer. Especially with unseasonably warm days, the lakefronts provide relief for families who have been working all day and in school, utilizing that 1 hour after work between sunlight and darkness. And when the snow hits (and it always does!), the lakefronts are also a hub for sledding, building snowmen, and enjoying the snow day provided. You can also stroll along the shore, choosing the sidewalks or the beach to remind you that warmer days are ahead. 

Adventures in Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley has a plethora of fun activities for the whole family. The ice skating rink is an incredible way to spend an afternoon with your kids when it’s colder out. But since it’s been so warm, other activities have become more popular at the park. One of the most popular activities is attending events at the Fieldhouse, which was built in 2014. Their website states that it is the “central hub for the indoor and outdoor programming of the park throughout the seasons. The park’s core programs, such as day camp, play school, and fitness classes, are offered at this location along with additional program activities that support the new park features, including the climbing wall and skating rentals”. 

Swedish American Museum

An underrated spot on the north side is the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. If your family wants to delve into history and culture, this museum focuses on an immersive experience that is fun for every age. Families can explore exhibits with Swedish art, traditions, artifacts, and more. There are also restaurants, stores, and more that are dedicated to Sweeden and its people. The museum’s website says that “the “Little Sweden” of Chicago is one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the United States, with Swedish roots dating back to the 19th century. Tourists visit the area continually to sample Swedish food, buy gifts, visit the Museum, and partake in traditional Swedish holidays such as Midsommar and Julmiddag”.

Lincoln Park Conservatory 

When seeking shelter from the colder days in Chicago, the conservatory can be a respite for those looking to breathe in some fresh, tropical air. Filled with exotic plants and flowers, ferns, trees, and more – the visuals of the conservatory can bring joy to anyone’s day. Families can wander through the lush landscapes and vibrant rooms and bring peace to city life’s chaos. The conservatory is “designed both to showcase exotic plants and grow the thousands of plants needed for use in the parks; the Conservatory offers visitors a tropical experience within its four display houses: Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House, and Show House, which is home to the annual flower shows. This historic facility continues to provide an escape to nature to the millions that live in and visit Chicago. No matter the time of year, Lincoln Park Conservatory is always green and lush”. 

Navy Pier Events 

With different activities every weekend, Navy Pier is a popular destination for those looking to book a weekend day of family fun and exploring. Their calendar is booked out through the winter with events like Flyover Chicago, an immersive art installation, plays, museums, and other attractions that will run all winter long. The Pier “offers a diverse and eclectic range of activities and experiences that ignite the imagination, stimulate the senses, and allow your spirit to soar. It’s no surprise it’s a place that continues to inspire discovery and wonder after more than a century”. 

The winter is a time of togetherness and family time, best spent in Chicago exploring the indoor and outdoor adventures at your fingertips. Whether visiting a museum, walking through a conservatory, or enjoying the brisk lakeside air – there is something for everyone, big and small. 

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