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The holidays may be over, but January is still rife with wintry traditions. Don’t be fooled into thinking the craziness of the season is behind us just yet, January is all about keeping things chill--except, literally.
Photo Credit: Chicago Sun Times
Jan 7 No Pants Subway Ride: 17 years ago, a group of seven men boarded NYC subway cars wearing everything but their pants. The tradition has since spread across America, including Chicago. If you can bear the cold--and the stares--hop aboard this pantless train tradition on the first Sunday of the year.
Jan 11-21 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival: The festival’s “humble” beginnings included 35 local groups in 2002, and it’s since grown to include 180 groups from around the world. Now the largest of its kind in the world, the festival averages 20 shows a night in each of Stage 773’s four performance rooms--totaling nearly 200 shows in just eight days. This indoor activity will be a favorite on these cold winter nights.
Jan 20 Polar Plunge The things Chicagoans will do for charity: take a dip in the frigid Lake Michigan waters in the middle of winter. Since the first plunge, 2,742 people have jumped into the lake while raising funds to support Chicago families in need. The event takes place at Oak Street Beach at noon.
Jan 26-Feb 8 Chicago Restaurant Week: Let’s be honest: we won’t worry about our diets for another few months. Take advantage of some incredible prix fixe brunches, lunches and dinners, as this is your chance to check out an exclusive restaurant at an affordable price. There are more than 350 participating restaurants, including avec, Bohemian House, Dusek’s, Fig & Olive. Mon Ami Gabi, Public House, Sepia, Sunda, and The Signature Room.
Chicago proves it can’t take a break and instead starts the year off strong with some big acts in town:
Buddy Guy, Buddy Guys Legends, every Thursday-Sunday of January
Lana Del Rey, United Center, 1/11
The Killers, United Center, 1/16
Shakira, United Center, 1/23
Milky Chance, Riviera Theatre, 1/26
MJ Live-Michael Jackson Tribute, Rosemont, 1/27
2Cellos, Chicago Theatre, 1/28
Winding up or winding down in the Windy City
Some of you prefer to stay curled up indoors with some hot drinks, while others get a little stir-crazy from the inactivity of the winter. It’s good to get the blood moving every once in a while, and the city offers a variety of low- and high-impact activities, depending on your hibernation-induced energy level. .
Photo Credit: DNA Info
Ice Skating -- January means fewer crowds at the rinks, so grab someone you trust and hit the ice indoors or outdoors. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon both stay open until March 4 and give you a seriously cool experience against the backdrop of the city’s towers. Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest hosts not only an indoor rink, but a winter playground, including a 15-foot snow-tubing hill!
Free Museum Days -- Both the Field Museum and Museum of Science and Industry have announced their 2018 Free Days for Illinois residents, and they include plenty of January dates. The free entrance should tempt you to buy a ticket for some special exhibits, including the U-505 Submarine Tour at MSI or Jurassic World and Galapagos 3D at the Field.
Operas and Symphonies -- Cultural performances give you a good excuse to sit indoors for hours and finally enjoy some of the world-famous entertainment that Chicagoans are privileged to have at their fingertips. The Lyric Opera showcases Turnadot this month, and Bernstein’s West Side Story comes alive by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. You can read about more classical performances here.