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How to Stay Warm in a Chicago Winter

There’s no question:  It is COLD.  While the big blizzard snow has mostly melted away and the streets and sidewalks are a bit more palatable to navigate, the chill still remains.  Last week’s 40-degree temperatures were a teaser.  No matter how many people I saw in shorts or how many convertible tops I saw down – 1 to be exact – I knew there was more cold to come.  This week’s teen temperatures came as no surprise.Jean Ward - Chicago Lake Condos - Chicago Winter

So how do you stay warm when it’s cold?  By getting up and out.  When the frigid weather is calling your name to curl up on the couch for yet another winter night’s dream, try one of Chicago’s Winter Blues Busters, guaranteed to pull you out of hibernation and get you warmed up and ready to rumble, Chicago Style.

Museums

Warm up your mind with art, installations, displays, and information at one of the city’s mulitiple major museums.  Bonus:  Chicago honors Martin Luther King Day this weekend, January 16-20, with select free admission days to the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, Notebaert Nature Museum, and Shedd Aquarium.  Additionally, Adler Planetarium is offering free admission dates between January 22-28.  For a complete listing of museums and free days, visit Free Things to Do in Chicago.

Hot Toddy

While you may have missed National Hot Toddy Day (January 11), you can still belly up to the bar or pull up a seat close to the fireplace and sample a modern-day version of the tried and true spirit warmer.  Traditionally a Hot Toddy is made with whisky, hot water, lemon, and sometimes sugar.  Today’s Chicago eateries, bars, and venues are mixing it up and giving the Hot Toddy an updated look, with new blends of ingredients.  River West’s new restaurant, the Dawson, pours invention into a glass with its ‘Sleepless in Logan Square,’ which is coffee, bourbon, Averna amaro (a potable bitter), Madeira and toasted house-made marshmallows infused with a minty botanical called Fernet.  Both Zagat and the Huffington Post think they have the Chicago’s Best Hot Toddy market covered.  Put their top 10 lists to the test.

Indoor Tours

You’ve done the elementary sightseeing required of Chicago residents, but have you every taken an underground interior tour?  From the ‘Loop Interior Architecture Tour’ to the ‘Pedway Pub Crawl,’ Chicago Detours Tours and Chicago’s Finest Tours offer various unique tours that will appeal to all different tastes.  Watch the mercury rise as you explore the heated indoor weatherproof tunnels connecting Chicago’s skyscrapers, which were originally built for the Pony Express Riders.  History, architecture, and local folklore abound with these indoor tours..

Donuts and Coffee

While you may have to wait in line outside at The Doughnut Vault in the cold to get your fix of hot specialty donuts, like Thursday’s Salted Caramel Old Fashioned and Friday’s brand new flavor, White Chocolate Sofite, your taste buds will thank you!  Get ’em while they’re hot 7 mornings a week along with a cup of Jo at the famous bakery next to The Merchandise Mart.  Think you would never shell out $3 a donut for a puff of sweetness?  You’ll think again when you taste competitor Firecakes Donuts.  Choose from Vanilla Iced, Apple Fritter, and Maple Glazed Pineapple & Bacon, to name a few.  Firecakes is open daily for donuts and speciality coffee, but also stays open late, till 10pm on weekend nights, for that perfect after-dinner or after cocktail bite.

Plan a Home Improvement Project

Is your design fire burning?  Maybe you’re considering remodeling the bathroom, replacing the backsplash in the kitchen, or adding some color to your living area.  Take a day and peruse the infamous Merchandise Mart for textures, hues, and inspiration.  LuxeHome is open to the public on the first floor and offers every imaginable style of Kitchen and Bath products, from basic functionality to downright gluttony.  The Design Center at The Mart features 4 floors of custom and luxury home furnishings and interior design and is also open to the public.  Check out the schedule of events and shows that the Mart offers and stop in to get design ideas and products.

Baby, it’s cold outside, but you’ve got lots of options to keep the fire burning in Chicago this winter!

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