Frigid windchills don't have to freeze your Chicago fun
Some folks are just inveterate wanderers, and I'm one of them. Even when the windchills plummet and the snow flies, if I'm in Chicago, I'm out and about.
But the rest of my family has been known to leave me to my own chilly devices and opt instead to bury themselves beneath fluffy comforters, prop their heads up with those lavish pillows many hotels boast and watch a "Star Wars" movie or endless episodes of "Regular Show."
As we find ourselves in the firm grip of another polar vortex, some hotels offer something for both factions.
One – the new Loews Chicago, 455 N. Park Dr., in Streeterville downtown – has a great Snowed Inn package, for example.
This deal includes overnight accommodation (natch), valet parking for one vehicle and some great in-house fun like free hot chocolate, a credit for a free in-room movie, some of the most delicious chocolate cookies you'll have all year (Campfire Chocolate Doodles, courtesy of Pastry Chef Aaron Manuyag) and a super-fun pop-up tent and campfire set for kids (sorry, you can't take it home).
This stuff – plus striking views of Navy Pier and the lake to the east and to the Chicago skyline to the west – is perfect for keeping everyone happy while I nose around the city.
If you get restless, you can always skate at Millennium Park or the nearby ribbon in adjacent Maggie Daley Park, or check out the indoor Winter Wonderfest, but you have to hurry because it only runs through Jan. 7 at Navy Pier. Another great option for adults and/or kids anytime of year is the Museum of Science and Industry, with lots of hands-on exhibits that make exploring science fun.
The deal also includes discounts at the ETA Restaurant + Bar in the lobby and at the Spa, which also has a pool that the kids will love.
Because this is Chicago, the Snowed Inn package is available all the way through April 1 (sigh).
If you're looking just to pamper yourself, consider The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior St. – one of my absolute favorite hotels anywhere – which is currently offering an exclusive winter online package.
When you book online, The Peninsula will automatically upgrade you to the next room category – sending you one step closer to paradise – and offer flexible (i.e. early) check-in and (late) check-out times, so you never feel rushed.
And you'll want to savor every moment here, where the staff is endlessly kind and welcoming, and the decor is luxurious.
If you reserve a suite, you'll get free breakfast for two, but even if you don't, The Peninsula is amenity-heavy with one of the best pools this side of the Rio Grande, a fitness center with free classes, super-fast Wi-Fi and an astonishing array of device chargers in your room, which also has a Nespresso machine.
You'll also get access to the hotel's Keys to the City program, which serves up a variety of exciting experiences. Learn more here.
Best of all? Both hotels are within a couple blocks of the Do-Rite Donuts on Erie Street.
See? Just because the weather won't cooperate, doesn't mean you have to stay home. Just save camping for summer.
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