WINTER: INSIDE & OUT
February is also the start of the Spring Surge when the real estate market is most active. So if you’re thinking of selling or buying, now’s the perfect time to contact your real estate broker.
LET IT SNOW. LET IS SNOW!
Skiing and snowboarding may be the most popular winter sports, but there are other activities to thrill and delight you when the flakes begin to fall.
It may not offer the adrenaline rush of mountain sports, but Snowshoeing is a low-impact activity that offers a great cardiovascular workout. Plus, you don’t have to travel far to find some beautiful trails – and the costs are significantly lower than Alpine sports. Just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago, the Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia features more than 40 acres of forested wildlife habitat along the Fox River. If there’s more than three inches of snow on the ground, you can rent snowshoes for just $5 per pair. Less than 2 hours away, the Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor, MI offers miles of groomed trails and affordable equipment rental for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Snow Tubing is an exciting and fun activity that adults and kids can enjoy together. You don’t have to invest in costly equipment and most places offer online reservations. Just west of the city in Bartlett, Villa Olivia offers two hours of unlimited rides for $30 including snow tube and use of the conveyor lift. Long popular with Midwest skiers and boarders, Wilmot Mountain is just across the Wisconsin border and has two surface lifts and 22 snowtubing lanes over 1,000 feet long.
Looking for more speed? Just 3.5 hours from Chicago you’ll find one of only four ice Luge Tracks in the country! The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park offers a Learn-to-Luge Experience that includes a lesson, luge sled, safety equipment—and the thrill of speeding down an ice track designed by 3-time Olympian Frank Masley.
For something a bit tamer than luging or tubing, check out Polar Adventure Days from noon to 3:00 pm on Saturday, February 25 at the Northerly Island Natural Area. Part of the Chicago Park District’s “Night Out in the Parks” program, this family-friendly outdoor event offers a chance to see Huskey teams pulling sleds around the peninsula, encounter birds of prey and explore the park’s diverse habitats in winter.
NOT A FAN OF THE COLD?
Looking for something fun to do without your winter gear? In addition to world-famous cultural institutions, theaters and galleries, Chicago boasts many other places to have a good time while staying warm.
If you think Putt-Putt Golf is only a summer pastime, you probably haven’t been to Big Mini Putt Club in Wicker Park. In a 5,000 square-foot, former garment factory, you’ll find a 9-hole course and full- service bar with draft beer and cider, wine, signature cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages. (bigminiputtclub.com)
While you’re in Wicker Park, you might also play a round of Shuffleboard at Royal Palms. Along with 11 regulation-sized shuffleboard courts, you can enjoy tropical drinks, a rotating cast of local food trucks, board games and a live DJ. League-play is offered, but walk-ins are welcome. (royalpalmschicago.com)
Neither liquid nor solid, Slime is a non-Newtonian fluid that can be picked up like a solid, but also oozes like a liquid. It can bounce like a ball but will change shape to fill a container. Fun and fascinating for both children and adults, this polymer is the star at the Sloomoo Institute in River North. Experience Slime’s unique properties and create your own signature slime at the DIY Slime Bar. (sloomooinstitute.com)
FROM YOUR COUCH TO SICILY AND BEYOND…
Should we experience another Polar Vortex, you might prefer to just stay on the couch and watch some recent buzzworthy movies and shows. And who knows, that just might inspire your next winter getaway to some exotic, far-off locale…
Season 2 of HBO’s quirky hit series White Lotus was filmed in Sicily, where a Mediterranean climate promises mild winters. Home to 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including ancient Greek temples, Norman chapels and Byzantine cathedrals, this beguiling Italian island is famed for its scenic beauty, rich culinary traditions and fine wines. Much of the action was filmed at the luxury San Domenico Palace Hotel in Taormina, an elegant Four Seasons retreat perched high above the cerulean expanse of the Ionian Sea.
If Miles Bron’s spectacular mansion caught your eye while watching the recent, highly-anticipated Knives Out film Glass Onion, you’ll be pleased to know that you can book that fabulous residence for yourself. With rates available only by enquiry, Villa 20 is part of the luxurious Amanzoe resort, set on the beach-fringed Peloponnese Peninsula at the southern tip of Greece. With vistas of rolling hills and the Aegean Sea, this extravagant villa boasts 9 bedrooms spread over 6 levels, a private spa, six swimming pools, and a multitude of indoor and outdoor spaces for dining, entertaining and relaxing.
HOW ABOUT CURLING?
With its measured pace and precision, curling is a mesmerizing sport to watch. You can try it for yourself with a Learn-to-Curl class at the Windy City Curling Club in nearby Villa Park.
- The History of Curling can be traced to the 16th century with Flemish and Scottish references to the game in both painting and literature.
- Modern-Day Rules of Curling, were first drawn up in Scotland in the 19th century when the first recognized curling clubs were formed.
- For Curling & Cocktails in Chicago, check out Kaiser Tiger, a lively West Loop gastropub that has a seasonal curling court in their Beer Garden.