It's cold in Chicago today. Like, stupid cold. It's actually 15 degrees warmer at the North Pole right now. But that doesn't mean you can't have some fun in the city—here are a few ways you can beat the chilly temps, and in some cases, embrace them.
GET COZY IN FRONT OF THE FIREPLACE
Besides the fireplaces you can enjoy at the Guesthouse Hotel (go ahead, make yourself comfortable on one of those big leather couches in the Club Room and have a cup of coffee), there are some great local spots where you can grab a seat by the fire and enjoy a drink or a meal.
THE GRAFTON PUB (Lincoln Square)
This lively pub in Lincoln Square features a dark and cozy back room warmed by a fireplace. Grab a table back there, enjoy a few pints of Guinness and some hearty, heartwarming Irish food like lamb stew or fish and chips. On Sunday nights from 5-8pm, you can be entertained by live traditional Irish folk music (and you can bring your own instrument and join in, too!).
THE BRIXTON (Andersonville)
One of the neighborhood's best-kept secrets, for both its menu and its ambiance is The Brixton. Head on to the upstairs lounge for a seat in front of its fireplace, while you sip on a carefully crafted cocktail (named after a few Clash songs, naturally). But you'd be remiss to leave without trying one of the Brixton's fantastic entrées—Pork belly, octopus, and risotto are just a few of the dishes the shine at this modern American bistro.
SIMON'S TAVERN (Andersonville)
Known to locals as "The Anchor of Andersonville," Simon's harkens back to Andersonville's heyday as a Swedish enclave. Grab one of the couches in the back—in front of the fireplace—and order a glögg, a seasonal mulled-wine that will warm your bones.
So, the fireplace here is near the front, and near the windows, so it's not sure how much warming it will do—but it's a great bar to hunker down in, with its fantastic selection of craft beer and an inventive menu from Chef Cleetus Friedman.
TAKE TO THE ICE
If you're brave enough to brave the cold, then check out these options for some outdoor fun!
MILLENNIUM PARK ICE SKATING RINK (Downtown)
$12 will get you a skate rental and time on the ice at the rink at Chicago's famous Millennium Park—go here for more information.
PARSON'S CHICKEN AND FISH (Logan Square)
This hip fried chicken and fish joint decided to make the best of the winter by turning its large outdoor space (which is usually filled by picnic tables and a ping pong during the summer), into a skate shack. For some ice on ice, after taking off your skates, try one of Parson's' Negroni slushies.
KAISER TIGER (West Loop)
Like Parson's, sausage and beer hot spot Kaiser Tiger has a gorgeous beer garden, but can't use it in the winter. So, they installed two curling rinks in their backyard. Yep, that's right, you can grab a broom and play this oversized version of outdoor, icy shuffleboard. Check out the fine print before hand, however.