Things to do in Chicago in February

my funny valentines day chicago events february 2011

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.It just snowed more in the last few days than in most months in Chicago, but it is good that it is out of the way because there is a lot to do in February in  Chicago (in addition to Valentine’s Day). We have a starter list of indoor and outdoor events this month and hope you have been able to dig out of snowmageddon 2011.

1. Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) - In Chicago there is a great Chinese New Year parade through Chinatown that is free to attend. This year the parade is scheduled for February 6th at 1pm at On Wentworth from 24th Street to Cermak Road. Check out chicagochinatown.org for all the details and directions. Happy Year 4709, the year of the Golden Rabbit. A calm year before 2012 which will be the year of the Dragon.

2. Chicago Auto Show – February 11-20 The Chicago Auto Show is one of my favorite events in Chicago. It is the nation’s largest auto show and it has something for everyone. Most people go to the Auto Show because they are looking to buy a car and want to see what is available without the pressure of salespeople around. It is also great if you just like cars and enjoy seeing the new innovative designs. This year electric cars and concepts are some of the big attractions. Tickets are $11 each ($7 for kids and seniors) and the event is still at McCormick Place, 2301 South Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60616. The show is open from 10 am to 10 pm. Go early to avoid the large crowds and get the best look at the cars. Why this is happening the same weekend as the Super Bowl is beyond me, if the organizers are reading this, move it a week later next year please, so people don’t have to choose between too many things happening on the same weekend.

2. Chicago Restaurant Week- February 18- 27th. Try some of the best food in Chicago from over 200 restaurants with special lower prix fixe menus just for the fest. This is a great way to discover a new favorite restaurant in your neighborhood or check out a place that everyone has been talking about lately. To find prices and the full list of participating restaurants check out choosechicago.com/chicago_restaurant_week_2011. The real deal is lunch for just $22 at some of the best restaurants in the city of Chicago.

3. Downers Grove Ice Festival- Theme: Love is in the Air, February 12-13, 2011. Don’t miss a family fun weekend filled with ice carving demonstrations (11am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday), as well as activities for all ages including a Magic Show by Ronald McDonald, appearance by Radio Disney Road Crew, $1 movie of “Happy Feet,” face painting and a Pancake Breakfast. Take in the decorative sculptures that will line the streets as you shop, dine and enjoy the Ice Festival. For more information on times and locations please visit downtowndg.org.

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Chicago Snow and Blizzards

Chicago is no stranger to snow. I always feel a bit sad if we don’t have any snow by Christmas, and it is common to get some snow by Thanksgiving. (I’ve lived in the Chicago area all my life)

If you want to see a live radar image of where the storm is in Chicago right now. Check out the National Weather Service Radar Image of Chicago.

What seems to be changing is the amount of snow we get in Chicago in the last few years. It has been common to get an inch or so of snow quite frequently from December through February and it would melt within a week and never really accumulate.
In the last three years we have had higher accumulations of snow because when it snows we get more than an inch and it doesn’t melt before the next snow.
Snowfall of more than a few inches has been happening several times a winter instead of one big snow which used to be the norm.
What this means is we need to be prepared for big snow more often and here are some tips that get my family through this time.
1. Plan Ahead: You can depend on sloppy weather in Chicago so keeping some things in your car all the time can make a big difference. A battery starter, road salt, a mini shovel, extra gloves, de-icer, windshield washer fluid and an ice scraper are all helpful if you’re stuck in the snow or cold. I also recommend a cell phone recharger that is battery powered just in case. If you have a choice between cars the best is 4 wheel drive in the snow, followed by front wheel drive and if you can avoid a rear wheel drive car on the snow day, even with traction control, avoid it.
2. If you hear that a blizzard is scheduled for the week, make a quick trip to the store or to any errands you anticipate needing things from in the next few days. It will be very time consuming to get around, so minimize your time on the road later and stock up now. This includes food, pet food, medications and a few DVDs or a good book to keep entertained while stuck at home.
3. Check the cell phones are charged, everyone has hats and gloves and try to leave extra time when traveling. Expect that you will need to double travel times in some cases if there is a lot of snow on the ground.
4. Keep up with the shoveling. If you park your car on the street you may need to dig out several times to actually get the car uncovered. Same for your driveway if you have one. Many people prefer gas powered snow-blowers because of their ability to effortlessly move large quantities of snow, but if the level of snow is higher than the intake for the machine, it won’t work. Getting out there to clear snow before it piles up too high can be crucial if you expect more than 3-4 inches. We actually shovel the snow at my house, but being a Chicagoan, that may just be because I think it’s fun and good exercise.
5. If you have a sled or cross country ski’s enjoy the snow!
The Chicago newscasts are predicting a blizzard between 12 and 24 inches of snow in the next two days so, we’re getting ready now. We’ve seen New York City hit this winter and are expecting the same kind of gridlock here too.
Got any more tips? Share them in the comments below:

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More January Events in Chicago

I’ve run across some announcements for events in January that were not mentioned in my previous post and I wanted to make sure they were listed here since they seemed like fun things to do in Chicago in January.

1. Jim Henson Exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry Chicago - This may be pushing the Science and Industry category a bit wide, but who doesn’t love the Muppets and Sesame Street? (Especially us children of the 70′s and 80′s). If you have kids or are a big kid yourself, check out this exhibit quickly, it is ending on January 23rd! See the puppets used in the filming of these classic shows and the characters Jim Henson developed before them to create this magical world we saw on TV. See MSIChicago.org for more details and ticket prices. (The Museum of Science & Industry is open for FREE on WEEKDAYS in JANUARY, so only the $5 Jim Henson exhibit charge applies) Open 9:30 am – 4 pm daily.

2. Skating at the top of the John Hancock Building – Open January 1 – March 31, 2011. This is new and old at the same time. Apparently there has been a temporary promotional ice rink up in the John Hancock observatory before. They’ve brought it back and you too can skate with a view of the entire city at 875 N. Michigan Avenue on the 94th floor. It is $5 for 25 minutes, which isn’t cheap but it is a novelty probably worth the money. The ice skating rink on the 94th floor is open from 9 am to 10 pm daily, I so want to go check this out!  See explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/attractions/tourism/skating_in_the_sky.html for more details and a map.

Special K Cereal Scale Union Station & Casting Call for Commercials3. At Union Station Special K has a short term exhibit about new year’s resolutions. If you happen to be traveling through the train station downtown, stop for a minute and check it out. The display contains a larger than life scale that gives inspirational messages rather than weight measurements. They are also doing screen tests for Special K commercials if you want to try out to see if you might be featured. This is happening from January 11 only and then it travels on to the next stop on its tour.

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