Best Things To Do in Chicago in January with Kids: Light Shows, Frozen Fest, MLK Weekend

Register for the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Clinic at Greenwood Park, Warren Park, and Wentworth Park. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Parks District
Register for the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Clinic at Greenwood Park, Warren Park, and Wentworth Park. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Parks District

2021 is over, and in a historic twist of events, kids still haven't seen the first measurable snow of the season (as of December 27). With or without snow, kids can look forward to a variety of things to do in Chicago in January as days get longer. Kick off the new year with a Chicago Wolves game at the Chicago New Year's Classic, or check out some of the light shows still hanging out after the holidays, like Illuminations at the Morton Arboretum (it's been extended to January 8), or Winter Lights at Central Park in Oak Brook. Move on to some cold weather nature activities, including Winter Exploration Days at two Cook County Forest Preserves or Snow Trekking in the nature sancturary at Burnham Park. Indoorsy families might like to see Disney on Ice at the Allstate Arena, or Girls Build! Day 2022 at the Chicago Architecture Center. 

The end of winter break and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day provide long weekend opportunities for families to take one of our favorite winter day trips from Chicago. We also have lists for the best places to skate, snow tube, and sled. Check out our Winter Fun Guide for even more ideas of what to do if it gets cold or snowy,

Here are our best ideas for things to do in January in Chicago with kids.

While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do.

Places featured in this article:


Chicago Architecture Center

The Morton Arboretum

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Instituto Cervantes Chicago

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Online

Virtual (Zoom)

Bittersweet Ski and Snowboard Resort

The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa

Sunburst Winter Sports Park

Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area

Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park

Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink

Central Athletic Complex- Ice Rink

Snowstar Winter Sports Park
Tuesdays on the Terrace
Museum of Contemporary Art - 5:30 PM Pick
Fishel Park 2022 Summer Concert Series
Fishel Park - 7:00 PM Pick
Chicago Park District Movies in the Park
Multiple parks citywide - various times Pick
Free Tuesdays at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Contemporary Art - 10:00 AM
Free Online Math Class: Singapore Math
Singapore Math virtual - 11:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides