Beating the winter blues in Chicago

Chicago is often known for its unpredictable and treacherous winter seasons, but students in the city have found plenty of ways to keep themselves entertained without locking themselves inside for movies every night.

Chicago averages 28.1 inches of snowfall annually and averages temperatures as low as 26.4 degrees F, and can feel much colder due to the wind from Lake Michigan.

“I moved to Chicago to go to DePaul, and while I’ve only been here a few months, I’m worried that once Winter hits I won’t have as much to do,” said DePaul freshman Beau Rass.

For those who celebrate, Chicago holiday events are abundant. 

The Lincoln Park Zoo Lights will run from Nov. 19 to Jan. 01 this year. The Zoo Lights are affordable, with plenty of free and $5 nights, and provide Chicagoans the opportunity to see one of the biggest lights displays in the midwest, with more than 1,000,000 lights! 

Other iconic holiday events in Chicago include the Tree Lighting Ceremony, which takes place on Nov. 18 this year in Grainger Plaza near the Cloud Gate or “The Bean.” The 109-year tradition includes fireworks every year as well. 

Chicagoans can also explore the Christkindlmarket in nearby Daley Plaza, with vendors selling holiday themed food, drinks and goods. However, it would be wise to avoid the market on the day of the tree lighting, as lines can get quite long.

“I was initially scared to move to Chicago because I’ve heard so many stories about the winters here,” said DePaul senior Maddie Carter.“But I think that Chicagoans are determined to have fun no matter what the weather is because there’s always fun events and things to do with friends. We go ice skating every year.”

Ice skating is another iconic winter pastime in Chicago. While there are plenty of places to go ice skating, Millennium Parks’ McCormick Tribune ice rink is arguably the most iconic. The rink is open from November to March, and the experience is free besides skate rentals. Ice skating is available in a number of other iconic Chicago locations, including Wrigley Square and Grant Park. There are also ice skating opportunities that take a little more planning, but can be worth the photo opportunity, such as The Sky Rink at the Peninsula Hotel Chicago, which lets visitors skate on top of Michigan Avenue.

The CTA is transformed with festive lights and decorations every year to celebrate the holidays. If you’re willing to brave the cold to find it, the Santa-driven train car can be quite a sight.

“We stumbled upon the holiday train by accident freshman year,” said DePaul senior Maddie Anderson., “It’s honestly crazy how many winter festivities you can find by accident in Chicago if you just explore the city.”

Students, especially those residing on campus, should also be sure to keep up-to-date with DePaul winter events. A comprehensive list can be found at Students can keep up to date with DePaul sports schedules on the website as well, including the school’s Basketball and Volleyball teams.

Intramural sports, including Basketball, Volleyball and indoor Soccer, are another great opportunity for students to stay active during the winter, without spending a dime. All intramural sports are free, and students can register as free agents to find a team without having a large group already set up.

Chicago may be notorious for its harsh winters, but Chicagoans are just as famous for their ability to find fun in the cold weather. As long as students are willing to explore their city and stay connected with their school, winter can be just as eventful as any other Chicago season.