Freezing in Chicago? Check out the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

Winter started early this year in the Midwest. We got pretty spoiled with our very mild November, which makes the current snow and freezing weather a little more painful than usual.

If you are fed up with looking out at the snow, or you’d just like a fun way to get out for the day, then check out the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier.

This yearly indoor event covers a whopping 170,000 square feet, and fills the entire convention hall at the pier. Once inside, you’ll find a massive ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel, kiddie train ride, cookie making house, slides, a carousel and much more.

Admission to the hall itself is free, but you’ll need a wristband to ride any of the attractions (there are some free things to do).

The unlimited ride wristbands are surprisingly cheap at just $12 ($16 if you want to rent skates). If you are arriving by car, then you can buy their “family pack” which consists of 4 premium wristbands and free Navy Pier parking.

The pack costs $57 or $64, depending on the day of the week. Since Navy Pier parking is an insane $23, the family pack could be your best bet.

Most of the rides are suitable for smaller kids, but there are a couple of rides for adults only. Like most events of this nature, you’ll find several concession stands selling overpriced food, though I recommend walking to the Navy Pier food court for a fresher (and slightly cheaper) meal.

I found the whole event to be extremely well done, the atmosphere was nice and festive and there enough attractions to fill an entire afternoon.

The Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier is open daily from 10 till 5 Sunday through Thursday and 10 till 10 on Friday and Saturday. After December 18th the opening hours are 10 till 8 Sunday through Thursday and 10 till 10 Friday and Saturday. The fest is open until January 4th.

To get more information on the Winter Wonderfest, check out their website.