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What to Do in Chicago in February

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This post covers the best things to do in Chicago in February, including, free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime events and activities, all updated for 2023.

 

If you haven’t already booked your accommodations, check out a list of CHICAGO HOTEL DEALS ON TRIPADVISOR.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY

February in Chicago is a great time to visit because it is a slow season for tourism which means you won’t have to wait in lines or stand in crowds! 

Check out the suggestions below for a variety of activities, including sports, theatre, music, and lots of indoor activities to stay warm!

For some of the more popular things to do in Chicago, read the following posts:


1. Go to a Sporting Event

Chicago loves sports, so if you are visiting and want to feel like a local be sure to catch a game.

In February, you can catch a number of hockey and basketball games in the Chicago area.

Here are just some of the team playing in February:

Hockey 

Basketball

Click here to find all sporting events happening this month.


2. Go to a Concert

February is the perfect month to enjoy an indoor concert. There are many intimate music venues in Chicago to explore, especially downtown and in Lincoln Park.

Check out our Chicago Blues post for a few other suggestions. 

Here are just a few of the larger-scale concerts taking place in February:

Check out a complete list of concerts taking place in February in Chicago.


3. Take a Sightseeing Tour

Be sure to bundle up with many, many layers while roaming outside in Chicago during February. 

Cold doesn’t stop our amazing history-loving storytelling guides though! We offer pay-what-you-like walking tours nearly every day of the week in the Windy City.  

Try our seasonal Chicago Pedway tour to experience the indoor paths that run under the city or the seasonal Winter Loop Tour for a winterized Loop experience. 

Want to learn about our amazing Architecture? Check out the Winter Architecture Tour.

If you’d prefer the heating on a bus tour, we have a great comparison of Chicago’s best. From hop-on-hop-off buses to dedicated tours, you’ll find one to suit you here.


4. Go to the Theater

Chicago is home to many many regional theatres, small black box spaces, and Broadway Tour houses. There is something for everyone!  

Here are just a few of the many shows taking place in February:

If you're willing to travel a bit further outside of the Chicago area, the following options are also available within a 35 mile radius:

If you're looking for something kid-friendly, this show will fit the bill:

Find all the theatrical productions in Chicago this month here.

Pro-tip: February 16th - 26th is Chicago Theatre Week!  Be sure to look for discounted tickets! Also, Check out our self-guided theatre tour to admire the exterior of some of the oldest movie palaces in the downtown Loop.


5. Chicago Auto Show

The nation's largest auto show was first stages in 1901! It returns to Chicago again in 2023 over February 9th and 10th.

Over 1,000 domestic and imported cars and trucks, as well as experimental and concept cars will be on displayu.

You'll also find many auto-exhivits, antique and collector cars, and more.

All of this takes place at McCormick Place. Tickets are $10-$15 and can be purchased here.


6. Ice Skating in Downtown Chicago

Ice Skating is a great way to spend the day or evening hours, especially with numerous rinks around the city.

There is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Right underneath Cloud Gate and on the edge of the downtown area makes this a perfect spot, and you can warm up with some hot chocolate served right next to the rink. 

Across the bridge in Maggie Daley Park, you will find the Skating Ribbon. Surrounding the rock wall and with the skyline in the background, this is a “skating through the alpines” experience. 

Gallagher Way, close to Wrigley Field, has an ice rink along with a Winterland Festival and Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville.

There's also a Midway Plaisance Park ice rink, one at Mt. Greenwood Park, and one at Warren Park.

Finally, if you want to skate surrounded by skyscrapers, try The Peninsula Sky Rink.


7. See a Stand-Up Comedy Show

If you're in need of a good laugh, there will be a few great comedians performing in the Chicago area in February.

Here are a few of the them:

Chicago Underground Comedy also has shows February 7th, 14th, and 21st.

For even more options, make sure to check this list of stand-up comedy shows in Chicago.


8. Celebrate Valentine’s Day

There are a few American Holidays in February including Groundhog’s Day on February 2nd, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th, and President’s Day on February 20th (bank holiday).

The one that Chicago really celebrates is Valentine’s Day on February 14th! You can find live music, romantic walks, and special menus at local restaurants.

You might try making reservations at one of Chicago's most romantic restaurants. Many restaurants will have Valentine's Day specials.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will be playing in Chicago on February 14th at Symphony Center.

Dita Von Teese brings her Burlesque Show GLAMONATRIX to Chicago on February 14th.

You can als visit Love Bites: A Valentine's Haunted House in Schiller Park.

We have more details and suggestions on how to spend your day on our blog.


9. Go to a Ballet or Symphony

There will be several opportunities to see a live ballet or symphony perform in Chicago this month.

The Joffrey Ballet will be performing Anna Karenina from February 15th - 25th, 2023.

The Chicago Symphony will also have a handful of performances this month, including Beethoven and Prokfiev on February 1st, and Schumann and Tchaikovsky February 23rd-25th.

For something a bit different, you might try a Candlelight Concert. These take place in a number of style, including classical. There will be tributes to Adale, Taylor Swift, and ABBA in February.


10. See More for Less with a Chicago City Pass

Many of Chicago’s biggest attractions have entry fees.

While you do pay for a tourist discount pass, it can give you a bulk discount and free admission into some interesting tours and museums, saving you up to 55%.

They can also save you time with skip-the-ticket-line privileges.

Each Chicago tourist discount pass includes a variety of fun activities and attractions.

Here are a few examples of what you can visit with a tourist pass, for a discount or for free.

For more details, make sure to read our full post covering Chicago tourist passes.

If you know already which discount pass works best for you, it can be purchased here: All Inclusive - Chicago Go City | Explorer - Chicago Go City | Chicago CityPass


FREE THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY

Chicago offers many free activities throughout the year. Some of the events mentioned above are free too! Here are a few suggestions during February 2023.

For more ideas, check out our post about the top free things to do in Chicago.


Celebrate Groundhog’s Day

On February 2nd there is a little holiday based on a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition called Groundhog’s Day.

The tradition is that a groundhog is brought out and if they are scared of their shadow and retreat back - that predicates that winter will continue for 6 more weeks. 

Later, a popular Bill Murry movie was filmed in Woodstock, IL, based on Groundhog’s Day. Ever since, Woodstock, IL has a great event. 

While Woodstock isn’t really close to Chicago, if you are nearby, it could be worth a visit!


Attend a Free or Donation Museum

There are many wonderful museums in the Windy City that are actually free!  

The Jane Addams Hull House is an incredible museum that is located in one of the original Hull House homes. 

The National Museum of Mexican Art is a donation-based museum for art lovers.

The Block Museum of Art offers free entrance to their cinema screenings and access to their collection of sculptural works for free as well.

During the winter months, locals will find that many of the museums offer free days to Illinois residents, teachers, veterans, etc.


The Bridgeport Art Center

Located in the Bridgeport building which is a creative home for local artists and designers, there is an outdoor sculpture garden and three curated art galleries. 

On the 3rd Friday of each month between 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm, people are invited to see the painters, sculptors, photographers work.


Check out the Chicago Cultural Center

A great place to warm up while appreciating architecture is the Cultural Center. This beautiful and historic building is free and open for the public to explore. 

Beyond the art that lines the walls, you will find free traveling films, lectures, and performances here.

This is also a great place for children’s programming. They offer their own free tours every Thursday and Friday at 1:15 pm

Check out their calendar of events to see what is going on during your visit.


Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory

The Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory are both free and open 365 days out of the year! Head up to this beautiful park to visit some of the animals, especially the polar bears!

If it starts to get a little chilly you can stop into the Conservatory to warm up and see the beautiful plant life there.


Explore Navy Pier

It is free to visit Navy Pier and there are plenty of things to enjoy without spending a dime. You can take our free self-guided tour to really take in the sites.  

For more ideas, check out our post about the Top Free Things to Do in Chicago.


NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES

Many of our top ten activities are perfect for the evening hours, such as seeing a sporting event, going to the theater, or attending a concert.

Below are some more ideas. Be sure to read our post about the top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.


Laugh at a Comedy or Sketch Show

Chicago is known for its food and its comedy! Some of the best comedians came out of the Windy City. Amy Pohler, Tina Fey, Chris Farley- to name a few.  

In the cold nights of February, a good laugh will be sure to warm you up. There are shows for everyone’s budget.  

Check out Second City for sketch comedy, stand up and improv.  Their 46th Review takes place throughout February.

Another local favorite is i.O. which is improv and sketch. Head to the Laugh Factory for stand-up.


Check out a Drag Show

Head to the South Loop to attend Lips Drag show which has been around for 25 years.

It has performances on Wednesdays - Sundays; including a Sunday brunch! 


Adler After Dark

Every Wednesday, Adler Planetarium is open from 4:00 pm -10:00 pm.

"You’ll find hands-on, minds-on activities, experiences, and shows about the universe that will blow your mind!"

More information can be found on their website.


Go Out for a Cocktail

Keep your layers on and head out for a cocktail!  Chicago is known for locally brewed craft beers and a unique liquor called Malort. Taking a shot of Malort will definitely warm you up!   

Another fun option is to check out one of our famous speakeasies – fitting for the mobster history of the Windy City. The Office is a unique cocktail experience that is indulgent with completely personalized beverages.

Mixing music with cocktails always fun! Check out Kingston Mines to enjoy the blues or Davenport’s Piano bar for a unique experience.  

Be sure to check out our post on top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.


FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO

Below you will find several great options to keep your children entertained this month, including parks, museums, and theater!

Be sure to check out our post about family-friendly activities in Chicago for a more complete guide.


Northerly Island Adventure 

Head to Northerly Island to explore with the kids. See birds of prey and wolves, make nature-inspired winter crafts, walk on snowshoes and drink cocoa at Polar Adventure Days

It takes place from January 21st-February 25, 2023 and is free to attend.


Doze with Dinos

Families with kids ages 6 to 12 can pack their sleeping bags and spend the night at the Field Museum!

You can stay up late with the scientists and tour the exhibits with your flashlight. When it's time for lights out, you’ll have a spot in the Genius Hall of Dinosaurs.

Find out more about the Field Museum on our post and if you want to stay the night, get tickets here.

Dates: February 10th - 11th, 2023.


Go to a Family-Friendly Improv Show

ComedySportz is known for being family-friendly!  It is a game inspired improv show- similar to Who’s Line is it Anyway? If anyone on the team uses a curse word- they actually lose points!

This means that this show is really made for all ages.


Go to a Museum

Chicago has a lot of museums that are very interactive and ideal for kids. Some of our favorites include:

Be sure to check out our post about family-friendly activities in Chicago for a more complete guide.


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About The Author

Mel

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: November 19th, 2022
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