Things to do in Chicago in Winter 2024

Chicago is a huge city and there are so many great things to do in Chicago in Winter 2024. Of course, summer is amazing with Lake Michigan right here, but winter is magical. (When it’s not below freezing). Below are a few ideas of things to check out that are indoor to keep you warm, but one thing you have to do that is outside is the Christkindlmarket! I hope you are here during the right days as it is seasonal.

Candle making

Candle making things to do in Chicago in Winter 2024
Aura Candle Bar

Candle making at Aura Candle Bar is the perfect cozy activity. You can go with friends, significant others, parents, siblings, whoever! The process is easy and only takes 30-45 minutes. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about the scents and which kinds to put with that. The thing is, it takes 2 hours to harden so you either have to go back in 2 hours or go back during the week to pick it up. It’s on Southport Ave which has restaurants and clothing stores to wander into to spend some time. While we waited for ours, we went to The Little Goat Diner which is right across the street and had delicious food.

You can take CTA to this location using the CTA Brown Line. Download Ventra App for times and tickets, or use a credit card to tap on.

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium things to do in Chicago in winter 2024
Shedd Aquarium- exit side

Visiting Shedd Aquarium is super fun! There’s a variety of animals to see along with different shows including dolphins, sea lions, or beluga whales. It is smaller than I thought so you can see the whole thing in about an hour. Obviously the more time you spend at each exhibit, you can spend a couple hours here. During the summer, they have special exhibits open like stingrays where you can touch and look up close.

The Shedd Aquarium is easy to access using CTA buses by hopping on the 146. Use the Ventra App or credit card to tap on the bus and pay.

Field Museum

Field Museum

Field Museum is a huge and fascinating museum. We spent about 5-6 hours here and only saw half the exhibit. You can spend a day or two here going through everything. I suggest getting there early to see a good chunk of it, eat lunch, and continue on. If you have multiple days to spend here, that would be even better so you are not rushed and ensure you see everything. You can even re-enter using same day tickets, but that may not be the case for parking. Accessing the museum through public transit is super easy using CTA buses. If you are coming from downtown, you can use the 146 that will take you right there. 

Download the Ventra app to buy tickets and use your phone to tap on. Otherwise, you can use a credit card that has tapping abilities to tap on.

If you are a resident or Illinois, check out the discounts you receive!


If you are looking for holiday activities, the Christkindlmarket is a perfect place to go. This is outdoors so be sure to bundle up. I suggest going during the week so it is less crowded downtown. There are multiple locations across Illinois, but downtown is the heart of the city where you are close to ice skating, shopping, and more!

You will find a variety of German influenced foods and shops to buy gifts or souvenirs. The pierogis, gluwhein, and bratwurst are my go-to! It is only open from November 17- December 24 in 2023, but when the dates for 2024 come out, this will be updated as soon as possible.

Activities for Winter 2024

These are great ideas to start your trip in downtown Chicago! Keep these ideas in mind for things to do in Chicago in Winter 2024.

Be sure to bundle up and walk Michigan Ave to look at the Christmas lights and Christmas trees along the street and in the malls. If you want to eat your way through Chicago, check this blog out!

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