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16 Things to Do on a Cold or Snowy Day

With the holiday season behind us, it’s time for the harsh realities of winter to set in. But while it might be easy to snuggle up under a blanket and decide to never leave the house until spring arrives, why not make the most of the season? Here on Chicago’s North Shore, there are plenty of ways to actually enjoy winter, from indoor sports and events to museums and theaters. So bundle up and make your way to these local spots.



  • Athletico Center in Northbrook features a field house, basketball court, party/meeting room, and outdoor patio (for the warmer months ahead). Register for the adult soccer league and classes, or try your hand at pickleball. Kids will love soccer and flag football leagues, plus camps throughout the year. You can also host your next event here.
  • Planning a birthday party or special event? Looking for camps perfect for your future athlete (or a league for yourself)? Then get to know Evanston’s Quad Indoor Sports, a “state-of-the-art” sports facility featuring a 102x56 yard indoor field that can be configured into smaller fields for leagues and rentals. Register for School’s Out Camps for a half or full day of soccer, football, lacrosse, and more, plus additional camps and clinics all year long.
  • Sometimes, you just need to make the most of the season. Spend a day ice skating at Northwestern’s Norris University Center Ice Rink. Through Feb. 25, head out to this outdoor rink from 12:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 12:30-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (weather permitting). Find more information about rates, policies, rentals, and waivers on Northwestern’s website.

Athletico Center
Athletico Center, Northbrook

Quad Indoor Sports
Quad Indoor Sports, Evanston



  • The Winnetka Park District will host its annual Winter Carnival on Jan. 13 at Skokie School. Carnival-themed games and activities will have you dreaming of hot summer days — so much so you might forget for a few hours that it’s still January.
  • Head out to Chevy Chase Country Club on Jan. 14 for the Wheeling Park District’s Winter Wonderfest. Enjoy crafts, games, face painting, and more family-friendly fun, plus winter snacks and hot chocolate. And if it snows, you’ll be able to build a snowman and paint in the snow.
  • Grab your besties and head out to Bottle and Bottega in Evanston for a few hours of wine and painting. Reserve your spot now for weekly events like Sundays are for Mimosas, Monday Funday Happy Hour, or Wine Down Wednesday, or check out new wood pallet painting days.
  • Bingo! Bundle up and head out to Winnetka Community House on Jan. 26 for Family Bingo Night. Enjoy drinks,popcorn, and prizes (and a little competitive fun).
  • Even if you can’t get away this winter, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to a tropical climate when you visit Chicago Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show, which opens Feb. 10. This favorite annual event features 10,000 orchids, plus events like Morning Music with Orchids, Evening with Orchids, and the Post-Orchid Show Plant Sale.

Bottle and Bottega
Bottle and Bottega, Evanston

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show
Orchid Show, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe



  • Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art reopened Jan. 9 with current exhibit William Blake and the Age of Aquarius, plus two new exhibits opening Jan. 13: Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt and Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella. And don’t miss upcoming programs like artist talks, performances, artmaking events, movies, and more.
  • It can be difficult to keep restless kiddos entertained during the winter months. Fortunately, Kohl Children’s Museum is a great place to stay warm while having fun and learning. Don’t miss your chance to explore the Build It! exhibit, at the museum through March 4. This exhibit gives little ones a chance to create anything their imagination can come up with using Imagination Playground blocks, or create a replica of the Willis Tower, build a structure to be tested on an earthquake platform, and more. The museum will also host Winter Wonderland on Jan. 19 with outdoor kiddie train rides, a children’s concert featuring Wendy Morgan & DB, special guests Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” and Paddington, and more fun.
  • If you haven’t yet visited the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s groundbreaking Take a Stand Center, now is the perfect time to go. This exhibit features four interactive galleries, including the holographic Survivor Stories Experience, where you can meet and talk to Holocaust survivors. You can also plan your visit around special events like International Day of Holocaust Remembrance: The New Music Studio at Terezin (Jan. 28) and Architecture Tour: Symbolic by Design (Feb. 11). And don’t miss the opening of special exhibit Speak Truth to Power, where guests will meet human rights defenders from around the world, on Feb. 4.
  • The new Halim Time & Glass Museum, which opened in Evanston this past September, featured more than 1,100 time pieces and more than 70 stained glass pieces. With five stories filled with beautiful and intricate works of art, and offerings like free Highlight Tours, you can easily spend an entire winter day here, so get ready to start exploring.

Block Museum of Art
Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie



  • In “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” at Glenview’s Oil Lamp Theater, it’s the late 1960s and Barney is ready for a change. Deciding it’s time to live and ready to join the sexual revolution, he decides to have an affair. What follows are a “series of comedic errors and miscalculations” in this hilarious comedy. The play opens Jan. 11.
  • Need a good laugh? Head out to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie Jan. 25-28 when The Capitol Steps will return to the area. This political-satire group is made up of (mostly) former Congressional staffers who are ready to take on everyone from Trump and Bannon to Pelosi and Schumer in this year’s show, “Orange is the New Barack.” As the group says, they “put the MOCK in Democracy.”
  • Northlight Theatre in Skokie will open its newest play, “Skeleton Crew,” on Jan. 25. Ron OJ Parson will direct this Midwest premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s play set at a Detroit auto plant at the beginning of the Great Recession. You won’t want to miss it — Time Magazine named this one of the 10 Best Shows of the Year.
  • Writers Theatre in Glencoe will bring Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” to life starting Feb. 7. This play, directed by William Brown, is set in the 1920s, when a farmer and his daughter work to save their rented land from being sold. Special events include The Making of…”A Moon for the Misbegotten” on March 12 and post-show conversations every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Writers Theatre
A Moon for the Misbegotten, Writers Theatre, Glencoe

This entry was posted in Events, Museums, Sports, Theater, and tagged Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago North Shore Theater, Chicago North Shore, Chicago's North Shore, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Holocaust Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum And Education Center, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Kid Friendly North Shore Chicago Winter, Kid-friendly, Museum, North Shore Center For The Performing Arts, North Shore Chicago, North Shore Plays, North Shore Theater, North Shore Theatre, Northbrook, Northlight Theatre, Northwestern University, Orchid Show, Skokie, Theater, Things To Do On The North Shore, Things To Do, Winnetka, Winter Activities, Winter Fun, Writers Theatre, on January 9, 2018.

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