Illinois December 10, 2016
11 Perfect Things To Add To Your Illinois Winter Bucket List
As a state that spends many months out of the year with snow on the ground, Illinois has a lot to offer when it comes to winter activities. So, instead of going into hibernation again this winter, learn to embrace those below-freezing temperatures and discover something new. Your couch, and the
Saved by the Bell marathon you’ve recorded, will be waiting for you when you get back. Now, get out there and explore!
1. Hop on a snow tube at Snowstar Winter Park in Andalusa.
Ever a crowd-pleaser during the snowy season, tubing is the perfect winter activity for any group. Whether gliding down Snowstar's Shooting Star Tube Hill makes your heart race with excitement or just brings you back to childhood, it simply must be checked off your list.
Location: 9500 126th Street West in Andalusia, IL
2. Brave the icy waters for the Polar Plunge in Chicago.
Get your friends together to charge into a frigid Lake Michigan during the annual Polar Plunge benefitting Special Olympics athletes. It'll all feel worth it when you're sipping spiked cider with your comrades at the Post-Plunge Party.
3. Search for bald eagles at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby.
Bundle up and head out early for the best chance of viewing the majestic eagles as they hunt for fish in the Illinois River. Hike up to the top of Starved Rock for an incredible view, or take one of Starved Rock Lodge's Eagle Trolley Tours for a more laid-back experience.
Location: 2668 E. 873 Road in Oglesby, IL
4. Grab a snowboard and make your mark on the mountain at Raging Buffalo Snowboard & Ski Park in Algonquin.
Land a spin in the halfpipe, ride a rail, or simply try to stay upright as you tear down one of the five terrain runs at Raging Buffalo. For those trying for the first time (kudos to you), call ahead to schedule a lesson.
Location: Buffalo Park Forest Preserve, 19265 Western Avenue in Carpentersville, IL
5. Glide across the ice at the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon in Chicago.
The Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon winds through the park, making for a dramatically different experience from that of a typical rink. Take a leisurely skate and delight in the amazing view of the Chicago skyline.
Location: 337 E. Randolph Street in Chicago, IL
6. Strap on your skis and journey across Arrowhead Golf Course in Wheaton.
Cross-country skiing is a great way to spend a winter day; burn some calories and have fun while you're at it! Arrowhead Golf Club offers ski rental and instruction all season long.
Location: 26W151 Butterfield Road in Wheaton, IL
7. Go ice fishing with the Herman Brothers across Central Illinois.
The Herman Brothers are just the experts you'd want by your side when ice fishing for the first time - or any time! Register for a guided tour and they'll take you to one of the exclusive fishing lakes spread across Fulton, Tazewell, Knox, and Peoria counties.
8. Take in an incredible wintertime art form at the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition in Rockford.
If you think snow sculpting consists of stacking three snowballs to make a snowman, you're missing out. This yearly competition draws over 40,000 spectators as judges choose a winner to represent Illinois in the national competition! How's that for a winter sport?
Location: Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Main Street in Rockford, IL
9. Try your hand at curling at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge.
Home of the Windy City Curling Club, the arena offers Learn to Curl classes for beginners. Or, watch from the stands at one of the league's weekly games.
Location: 6690 IL-53 in Woodridge, IL
10. Rent snowshoes and trek across the terrain at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.
Both serene and strenuous, snowshoeing is a wonderful way to spend time appreciating nature's winter wonders. Once four inches of snow have accumulated, snowshoes can be picked up for rental at the Morton Arboretum's Visitor Center.
Location: 4100 IL-53 in Lisle, IL
11. Complete your list with some of the best hot chocolate in America at Mindy's Hot Chocolate in Chicago.
Lauded pastry chef Mindy Segal's restaurant takes hot chocolate so seriously, the place is named after it. Crack open the menu, choose from the array of delectable drinks, and sit back and sip the afternoon away. Oh, and be sure to savor the marshmallows - they're homemade!
Location: 1747 N. Damen Avenue in Chicago, IL
Check these activities off your list, and you can consider yourself an Illinois winter conqueror! If you have more ideas on how to get out and appreciate the season, let me know in the comments.