23 Cool Places To Hangout This Winter in Chicago

Since living in Chicago, I have learned that the best way to avoid the dreaded SAD (seasonal affectiveness disorder) and overall boredom is to get out of the house. This list comprises swanky hotel lobbies, hidden art galleries, and even seemingly exclusive membership clubs. Whether you work remotely, need a little self-care, or looking for places to entertain your boss or coworkers, this list has something for you to make the winter months in Chicago more fun and go by that much faster.


Kibbittnest books, brews & blarney

Wednesdays – Sunday | Time Varies

2212 N Clybourn Ave. | DePaul

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Image Courtesy of Kibbitznest

Kibbitznest is a WiFi free hangout located near the DePaul University campus that offers books, games,—along with beverages such as wine, beer, and coffee. Kibbitznest prides itself on “old-fashioned human communication” and encourages its patrons to have a tech-free experience. You won’t miss your phone with the countless number of events that the venue hosts including live storytelling every Wednesday of the month, daily drink specials. The venue has free parking and even encourages you to bring your own food. Check out what Kibbitznest has to offer this winter by visiting the website here.

Sip & Savor Chicago

Sunday – Saturday | 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

5301 S Hyde Park Ave. (Del Prado Building) | 528 E 43rd St. (Bronzeville)

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Image Courtesy of Sip & Savor

Sip & Savor is a black-owned coffee shop with two locations on the South Side of Chicago. The shop offers certified fair trade coffee from around the world, plus a wide selection of teas, mochas, frappes, lattes, and blended drinks. Warm up to the location nearest to you this winter season. For more information on Sip & Savor, visit the website here.

Eataly

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies

43 East Ohio St. | River North

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Image of Eataly Chicago Courtesy Stephanie Bassos Photography

Eataly Chicago is a bustling Italian marketplace with 65,000 square feet overflowing with four different full-service restaurants and seven take-away counters. Guests are offered a variety of classes and events each offering a unique culinary experience which is all offered just steps away from the full market. Visit the Italian food market on Wednesdays after 5 p.m. for $6 glasses on all wine or a 10% off of all bottles. See what other ways Eataly will help keep you warm this winter by visiting the website here.

3 Arts Club Cafe

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies., 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

1300 N. Dearborn Parkway | Gold Coast

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Image of 3 Arts Club Courtesy of Taylor Justin

Missing patio season already? Experience it all winter long as you enjoy the central garden courtyard at the atrium of Restoration Hardware Chicago. The 3 Arts Club Café blurs the line between retail and restaurant by offering chef ingredient-driven dishes inside Restoration Hardware’s (RH) Chicago location. Guests can dine at several restaurants, 3 Arts Club Wine Vault & Tasting Room, and the 3 Arts Club Pantry & Espresso Bar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For menus and more, visit the website here.

Chicago French Market

Monday – Saturday | 7:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m
131 North Clinton (Between Washington and Randolph) | West Loop

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Image Courtesy of Chicago French Market

Fill up on international eats, that will definitely help keep you warm all winter long. The Chicago French Market, Chicago’s first food hall dedicated to International cuisine, located in the heart of the bustling West Loop and adjacent to Ogilvie Station boasts 30 vendors offering a mix of fresh and prepared food, wine, craft beers and gourmet gifts to cater to all taste buds. The market hosts a variety of daily events including happy hours specials—most under $10, rush hour concerts, and more. Check out the latest events taking place at the Chicago French Market.

Open Books

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies

905 W 19th St. (Pilsen) | 651 W Lake St. (West Loop)

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Image Courtesy of Open Books

Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and the creative capitalization of books. The bookstore sells donated books at their two locations and online store that funds programs such the Literacy Programs, Book Grants, and more literacy-based programming. Spend time at the stores by shopping or volunteering this summer. For more information on how to get involved, visit Open Books.org.

Poetry Foundation

Monday – Friday | 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

61 West Superior St. | Near North

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Image of Poetry Foundation by Taylor Justin

The Poetry Foundation Library is the Midwest’s only library dedicated to poetry. Visitors can warm up as they browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio, and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library hosts free events–from poetry readings to concerts and more. For a full list of events taking place this winter, be sure to visit the website.

Harold Washington Library

Sunday – Saturday | 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

400 S. State St. | South Loop

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Image Courtesy of Harold Washington Library

Harold Washington Library (named after the first African–American to be elected as mayor of Chicago in February 1983) is a centralized library with 1.2 million holdings located in the South Loop of Chicago. Beyond the collection of books, the library has several unique features that make it an excellent cold weather hideaway including the ninth floor atrium known as the Winter Garden, a Maker Lab that offers free high-tech and hands-on workshops to the public, music practice rooms, plus much more. Not downtown, don’t worry. Cozy up at your favorite library branch. Visit the ChiPubLib.org to find your nearest location.

Stony Island Arts Bank

Sunday – Thursday | Time Varies
6760 S Stony Island Ave. | Jackson Park

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Image of Stony Island Arts Bank Courtesy of James Gillespie via Facebook

The Stony Island Arts Bank is a hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center – a destination for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors to research and engage with South Side history. The Arts Bank Collection includes Johnson Publishing Archive + Collections:, University of Chicago Glass Lantern Slides, Edward J. Williams Collection, Frankie Knuckles Records. Support Rebuilds free arts and cultural programming by attending or getting involved. Visit Rebuild Foundation.com for more information.

Vanderpoel Art Gallery

Sunday – Saturday | 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday
9625 S Longwood Dr. | Beverly

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Image of Vanderpoel Art Gallery Courtesy of Open House Chicago

The Vanderpoel Gallery is a hidden gem located inside the Chicago Park District Ridge Park Fieldhouse in the Beverly neighborhood. The gallery is named after John H. Vanderpoel, an influential instructor at the School of the Art Institute who exhibited five paintings at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and taught many well-known artists such as J. C. Leyendecker Georgia O’Keeffe. With many works in the collection depicting Chicago scenes, it’s not hard to find comfort and warmth inside the hidden South Side gallery.

Gentleman’s Cooperative

Tuesdays | June – September | 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

111 W Jackson Blvd. | The Loop

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Image Courtesy of Gentleman’s Cooperative

Fellas, turn up the heat exclusively on your winter hangouts. Gentleman’s Cooperative is a customer suit designer and customer clothier, barber and stylist membership club and corporate event space. The cooperative is located in the heart of the loop and financial district offering the perfect cold weather(and lunchtime)escape for the young professionals on the go. Check out their full services by visiting the website here.

The Allis at Soho House Chicago

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies
113 N Green St. | West Loop

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Image Courtesy of Soho House

Soho House is the members-only club located in the West Loop. A popular gathering spot for local creatives. Local memberships give you access to all club spaces and facilities: bars and restaurants, the gym, our Cowshed spa, the screening room, a rooftop swimming pool and our event programming calendar for members plus reciprocal rights clubs in various cities around the world. Not a member of the club, no worries you can still sizzle in this savvy social club for free. The venue offers three public restaurants (protip: go for the $16 lunch special Monday – Friday) of your choosing. Learn more about events, membership, and more by visiting Soho House.com.

Palmer House

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies

7 E Monroe St. | The Loop

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Image of Palmer House Lobby by Taylor Justin

The Palmer offers a warm, sultry, and romantic atmosphere with historic charm in Chicago. The nation’s longest continually operating hotel. The nation’s most extended continually operating hotel. The hotel lobby is one of the essential rooms in the hotel and is heavily influenced by French art and decor. Palmer House is a city within a city and offers visitors experiences such as the Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins, a history tour, sip on our specialty label bourbon, high tea, a spa and fitness center, plus a selection of notable restaurants and retail shops. Learn more about the hotel many amenities by visiting the website here.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies
12 S Michigan Ave.. | The Loop

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Image Courtesy of Chicago Athletic Association

The Chicago Athletic Association opened in 1893 amid the boom surrounding the World’s Columbian Exposition. It offered an escape from the city, with all the comforts of a well-appointed home—and excellent athletic facilities for its members to enjoy. What was once reserved for the elite and privilege for 122 years is now open to everyone as a novel hotel and destination steps away from Millennium Park. The hotel boasts seven eat and drink establishments perfect for work, play, and entertaining. The hotel also hosts loads of events from art exhibitions to pop-up bars that highlight the history and heritage of Chicago. Spend a day or night hanging out in this downtown hotel this winter.

Chicago Cultural Center

Sunday – Saturday |10 a.m. – 7 p.m., 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
78 E Washington St. | The Loop

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Image Courtesy of Zouhair Lhaloui via Facebook

Spend the winter months listening to classical music under the Tiffany stained dome, participate in free dance classes or explore contemporary art exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center. Once known as the city’s first central public library, the Chicago Cultural Center is a stunning landmark building that is home to the two stain glassed domes, as well as free visual art and performance programs for everyone in the family to enjoy. See the full calendar of events on the website here.

Hyde Park Art Center

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies
5020 S Cornell Ave. | Hyde Park

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Image Courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center is a hub for contemporary arts in Chicago, serving as a free gathering and production space for artists and the broader community to cultivate ideas, impact social change and connect with new networks. The art center offers six galleries filled with contemporary art, free arts events, studio classes for artists of all ages and stages, and an open arts library. Take a trip to this tepid art community and experience the latest exhibitions, take a class, or dine at the cafe.

Gene Siskel Film Center

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies
164 N State St. | The Loop

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Image Courtesy of Gene Siskel Film Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center selects and presents significant world cinema in a non-commercial context that sets aesthetic, critical and entertainment standards. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals and many more initiatives that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful, provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Attend a special event, go to a film, or join the movie club. General admission for movies is $11. Pricing for films varies for students, members, and seniors. Check out the full calendar of films and special engagements available here.

Atrium at the United Center

Sunday – Saturday | 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday
1901 W Madison St. | Near West Side

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Image Courtesy of United Center

The United Center Atrium is a hub for locals and guests from around the world to gather and celebrate Chicago’s home teams. The best part about it is that requires no admission or entry into an event to get in and warm up in the “house that Jordan built.” Once inside visitors will be able to check out the famous Michael Jordan statue, box office, Madhouse Team Store, Mad West and more. Get more details on the atrium at the United Center by visiting the website.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Sunday – Saturday | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m

300 N Central Park Ave. | Garfield Park

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Image of Garfield Park Conservatory Courtesy Taylor Justin

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the nation. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the Conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens. Year-round, visitors can enjoy the lush flora and tropical temperatures indoors, or more than 10 acres of outdoor gardens, nature play spaces for children, water lily pond, and much more. Enjoy free weekly lectures or a group visit. Get away from the hustle, bustle, and chill of the city—in the city with a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Headquarters Beercade

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies; Open past 2 a.m. every night

213 W Institute Pl. | Near North Side W

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Image Courtesy Headquarters Beercade

Headquarters Beercade is a vintage arcade bar offering low maintenance entertainment that will make any cold day in Chicago a lot hotter. With over 65+ arcade games, 65+ beer offerings—the arcade is a unique alternative to a night out in Chicago. HQ is open 365 and offers weekday special such as Industry Night on Mondays and Burger Bundle on Thursdays. Grab your crew and get to gaming!

Chicago Pedway

Sunday – Saturday | Time Varies

Entrance Points Vary | The Loop

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Image of Pedway Courtesy Chris Mordecai via Facebook

Explore the twisting and winding tunnels of the underground pedestrian system known as the Pedway. The system of underground tunnels and overhead bridges links more than 40 blocks in the Loop and covers roughly five miles. The Pedway is used by thousands of pedestrians each day to connect them to public and private buildings, commercial retailers, CTA stations, commuter rail facilities and one of a kind eating and drinking establishments—without having to endure Chicago’s cold conditions. Be a tourist for the day or explore something new in the pedway.

ScratchGoods

Wednesday – Sunday | 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

851 W Randolph St. | West Loop

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Image Courtesy ScratchGoods

Take the time for self-care on a cold winter day with DIY inspiration from ScratchGoods. ScratchGoods creates all-natural cosmetic goods ranging from body oils to scrub, ScratchGoods boats a self-service 10-seat mask bar as well as a separate space for \more wellness programming and private parties. Experience all the ScartchGoods has to offer to keep your mind, body, and spirit well all winter long.

King Spa

Sunday – Saturday | 2:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m., Service Time Varies

809 Civic Center Dr. | Niles

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Image Courtesy of King Spa & Sauna

Escape the cold conditions of the city by heating up in the nearby suburbs at Kings Spa and Sauna. Kings Spa is a unique Korean inspired known as “Jjim-Jil Bang” located in Niles. The spa and sauna offer a family-friendly experience that is complete with nine natural element based unique healing sauna rooms. The spa also offers acupressure massages, pools, a movie theatre, as well as an on-site restaurant with authentic Korean dishes making the time spent full of enrichment for the body and belly. Before you visit, be sure to check out the specials and save a few dollars on your admission or services. Trust me; this is one Haute experience that you will not regret this winter.


Have a cool place to hang out in Chicago during the winter season? Be sure to share it in the comments!

Taylor J

The Haute Seeker is a digital platform created through the curious lenses of Taylor Justin, whose mission is to actively seek and share the cultural diversity found in the city of Chicago. Taylor is an Ohio-born, Southern-raised transplant who loves to vintage shop, museum hop, and live "like a local" in every city she visits. She is Jill of all trades and has an extensive background in fashion, marketing, sales, event planning, and community engagement.

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