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Explore the Chicago Suburbs by Sled (or Skis or Skates…)

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Sled Ski in Chicago Suburbs

These family-friendly winter activities are in some amazing towns you’ll want to explore…

 

Being out and about in the winter can be tricky — especially when you’ve got an eye on exploring the Chicago suburbs. Our advice? Add some fun, seasonal activities into your suburban search. You’ll get a chance to get in-the-mix with fellow parents who will, no doubt, offer the inside scoop on schools, neighborhoods, and things to do, and your kids will get a chance to burn off some steam. It’s a win/win — and (bonus!) you’ll get a chance to see what life’s really like on winter weekends. 

 

#1. Hit the Hills! Sled in Lake Bluff, Highland Park, Northbrook, Evanston, and more…
Where can’t you sled in the Chicago suburbs? We love Blair Park Sled Hill in Lake Bluff. It’s perfect for kids of all ages, and it’s just minutes from popular restaurants, parks, and an incredible European bakery in nearby Lake Forest (try the chocolate mousse…). 

 

For older kids, the hill at the Centennial Ice Arena near Highland Park’s Danny Cunniff Park is the place to be. The arena also offers public ice skating times, so be sure to bring your skates if you want to hit the ice post-sledding. Also in Highland Park: the Heller Nature Center, which has a natural playground, Wander Woods Nature Play Space, perfect for all ages. 

 

Some other sledding hotspots?

Aurora
Lincoln Park
McCullough Park

 

Deerfield
Brickyards Park

Downers Grove
Concord Square Park
O’Brien Park

 

Evanston
Lovelace Park

Glen Ellyn
Newton Park

Glencoe  
The hill across from Watts Ice Center

 

Glenview
Flick Park
Johns Park

 

Naperville
Country Lakes Park
Gartner Park
Riverwalk Sled Hill at Rotary Park

 

Northbrook
Techny Prairie Park & Fields
Wood Oaks Green Park


Winnetka
The hill behind Winnetka Ice Arena
Bonus: Residents can also skate at the arena!

 

#2. Tube or Ski Through Suburbia
Rather grab a tube — or your skis? The Snow Park at Alpine Hills in Rockford and Bartlett Park’s Villa Olivia are great spots for the whole family and offer everything — skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and, at Villa Olivia, even golf.

If you do head to Snow Park, be sure to snag soup and a sandwich at the Wired Cafe in Rockford before or after. This small, family-owned coffee shop is known for its cozy atmosphere and incredible coffee (grab one for the road…).

 

For families who want to cross-country ski, the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton is a good go-to, with opportunities for all ages. Post-skiing, swing by Graham’s Chocolate for a hot cocoa bomb.

 

#3. Lace-Up at These Outdoor Ice Rinks
If your crew loves ice skating, now is the time — and we love Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink in Cicero. This popular community rink is open seven days a week, weather permitting. Want more than just skating? The Forge in Lemont is the ultimate winter wonderland. Not only does The Forge have ice skating, but it also has zip lines, climbing nets, and even laser tag. It’s minutes from Heritage Quarries Recreation Area — in the warmer months, swing by for hiking and biking, and be sure to check out the waterfall.

 

#4. ‘Tis the Season for Science at the Morton Arboretum
If you’re heading to Lisle, there’s lots more to do than just cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Be sure to check out the Morton Arboretum which offers tons of activities spanning art, science, and nature. They have fun events going on almost every day, including wine and cheese walks, online winter camps, and bring-your-dog days — check the site for up-to-date info.

Lisle is also home to the Sensory Garden Playground. Kids love exploring the children’s garden, racehorse-themed play equipment, and accessible treehouse.  

 

#5. Meet the Animals at the Brookfield Zoo
Not every animal hibernates for the winter! The Brookfield Zoo has taken great measures to stay COVID-friendly, while still providing plenty of opportunities to check out polar bears, tigers, lions, and more than 2,300 other animals who call the zoo “home.” Book your visit now — once the zoo reopens in March, tickets will go fast. 

 

#6. Take a Swing at TopGolf
As the name suggests, TopGolf is a mecca for golfers — but there’s lots more to do at this sprawling entertainment complex. From golf to virtual reality games to drinks, dining, pools, and more, there’s so much for the entire family at their two locations, in Schaumburg and Naperville.

 

If you head to TopGolf Naperville, you’ll also be minutes from the DuPage Children’s Museum. While closed right now, they’re offering a variety of remote workshops for parents and kids.

 

#7. Head to the Geneva Ice Castles in Wisconsin
Though these jaw-dropping castles are in a neighboring state, they’re still a must for your winter activity list — and, while you’re there, be sure to check out Lake Geneva, which is getting more and more popular with Chicago commuters.

Image: @icecastles_

The Geneva Ice Castles is an annual event that draws visitors from Illinois, Wisconsin, and beyond. This award-winning attraction pops up in four U.S. cities, including Lake Geneva, and features hundreds of thousands of icicles, each hand-painted by professional ice artists. Castles are then illuminated and filled with sculptures, tunnels, slides, fountains, and more.

 

While you’re visiting Lake Geneva, be sure to take a stroll through Geneva Lake, a popular destination for hiking and water sports.

 

 

 

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