There is only so much ‘staying in’ one can handle. Especially in Chicago where the chill is just as unpredictable as the crowds you may or may not find at your favorite bar on #thirstythursday. Luckily for Chicagoans this year, our 2016 winter has been mostly mild (may I even say boarder line lovely?) and has encouraged me to make weekend plans—stir it up and do something different. And just like that, Lincoln Park was calling my name. Full of hidden gems to explore during the winter months, here is a full day of activities—all within walking distance of each other— I highly recommend doing next weekend:

1. Late Brunch At Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap 

On its 23rd year in Lincoln Park, Stanley’s is and will always be my favorite place to get a bloody on a Saturday. Not sure if it’s eclectic vibe, newly vamped brunch menu or the great mix of people on a Saturday afternoon, stop here first and fill up.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka Bloody Mary Bar – $10.00

2. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

With the lack of wildlife during the winter, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum was a beautiful reminder of all the amazing creatures that exist in the Midwest. But while there is so much to see and learn throughout the entire museum, I especially wanted to see one thing: the live butterfly exhibit. One Saturday every month at 2 PM sharp, the butterfly keepers release about 200 new species of butterflies into the jungle-like enclosure—and it truly is an amazing sight. It’s also the perfect spot to shake off the cold as the space is maintained at a warm, humid temperature so all flying beauties are comfortable.

Pricing: $9 for Adults, $7 for Students and Seniors (60+), $6 for Children Ages 3 – 12, Free for Children under 3

Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

3. Lincoln Park Zoo 

Just across the street begins the North end of Lincoln Park Zoo. And though you may think there is little activity during the winter, escape the crowds and walk through the park to see a range of animals, from Camels to Red Pandas out and about. Make sure to stop and take a pic on the South Pond Bridge, which offers a beautifully unique view of Chicago’s skyline.

Hours: Open 365 days of the year and free to the public

4. A New Leaf on Wells

It’s only fitting to stop by Chicago’s premier florist after visiting with lions and butterflies—right? Take a step into, what I think, is pure heaven. Become immersed in floor to ceiling color and scent along with hidden gems (literally), hand woven tapestries, beaded jar wraps from India and almost any vase you could imagine. Head downstairs to walk amongst a collection of beads, threads and candles of all colors, shapes and sizes. I recommend taking your time weaving through every aisle and shelf—it’s a lot to take in.

Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Saturday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. &
Sunday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

5. J. Parker at The Lincoln Hotel

With your florals in hand, walk across the street to the J. Parker rooftop lounge atop The Lincoln Hotel. One of the hottest spots to grab an app and a cocktail during the summer, it’s also open during the winter months fully enclosed with glass windows offering one of the most stunning views of Lincoln Park as well as the Chicago skyline. While taking in the sights, I highly recommend pairing it with their signature cocktail, the Water of Life—Ketel One, Benedictine, St. George Spiced Pear, Thyme and Lime.

You’re Lincoln Park Road Map

To help plan your trip, use the below map to guide you around town including my favorite spots already tagged. Enjoy your day!

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