While everyone else is escaping to sunny vacation spots, explore bustling cities chock full of art, theatre, sporting events, shopping, dining and cocktails this winter. Here’s an urban trio worth bundling up for.
When the temperatures dip, the Windy City is jokingly referred to as “Chiberia” but it buzzes with indoor and outdoor discoveries.
Arts, Theatre and Laughs
- Art lovers delight in the iconic Art Institute where this season, Rodin’s sculptures come alive.
- Both kids and adults gather for interactive exhibitions at Hyde Park’s Museum of Science and Industry.
- Before you snag tickets for beloved shows like “Hamilton” or “Wicked,” drop by 312 Chicago for antipasto and Prosecco.
- For laughs from veterans and up-and-comers, January’s annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival features 130 shows.
Pizza and Libations — It’s time to feast.
- Lines stretch around the block for the new Italian outpost of Bonci (cutting its slices with scissors). Or channel Naples thin-crust plates inside the casual Spacca Napoli. For fireplaces, Italian-Med cuisine and wine are on the menu at Ella Elli.
- Inside the design-savvy Prairie School, find artisanal sips and for cold brews, drop by Off Color Brewing’s funky space or Jolly Pumpkin Brewery which also has Detroit style pizza.
- With tufted, leather couches and walls full of vintage encyclopedias, bibliophiles and style-hounds alike will love warming up at Vol. 39. Settle in to this classy spot, named “Chicago’s Best New Bar, 2017” by Food & Wine, and enjoy an expertly composed cocktail or tableside champagne and caviar service.
Sports and Skating
- Lace up some skates with a view of the downtown skyline at Millennium Park or circle the looped ribbon of ice at Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating.
- Chicago loves its sports teams and so should you. Score tickets to either a Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) or Chicago Bulls (NBA) game or wait for the Cubs Convention giving baseball fans prime interaction with the players and coaches.
Rest your head at Kimpton’s Chicago hotels.
With its vibrant downtown and eclectic neighborhoods, Portland is a top choice for artisanal eateries, indie boutiques and music/film festivals.
Gardens and Festivals Galore
- Kick off the Chinese New Year with a 2-week celebration of lion dances, martial arts and calligraphy at Lan Su Garden—an authentic Ming Dynasty style treasure. Nearby, the Portland Art Museum presents a behind-the-scenes look into the homegrown animation studio, Laikia, the folks behind Oscar-nominated “Coraline”.
- Mix it up. The all-female Rose City Rollers team is a fun, rowdy spectacle.
- The City of Roses has a banner winter festival lineup—Reel Music Festival and Jazz Festival celebrates all things tunes while the 41st International Film Festival screens worldly flicks.
Bites and Sips — There’s also plenty to eat in the Pacific Northwest.
- The Bon Appetit-approved Tusk doles out Mediterranean grub while the casual Mexican stop Guero serves tortas and veggie bowls. Score a reservation-only table at Mae for Southern snacks like pimento mac and cheese while the hip Korean flared Han Oak is known for its dumplings.
- For sips, mimic eternal summer at Hale Pele with flaming Tiki drinks from waiters decked in Hawaiian shirts or nab a stool at Red Star Tavern for craft beers, libations and small plates. For the latest in bespoke cocktails and custom wallpaper, drop by Angel Face, Dame or the airy Capitol Bar (which also has karaoke).
Indie-Shops and Sweets
- Frances May sells their own label alongside Acne Studios and Rachel Comey and outdoor shop Poler Stuff stocks hats and backpacks.
- For design, Canoe has Heath Ceramics and Noguchi lanterns and Woonwinkel carries bright blankets and textiles.
- Let your sweet tooth guide you to Blue Star Donuts which carries kaleidoscopic flavors like bourbon and basil while dark chocolate bars reside at Woodblock.
Rest your head at Kimpton’s Portland hotels.
The nation’s capital is full of history, classic art, and tasty delights.
Museums, Rinks and Tropics
- Toss on some ice-skates (in the company of sculptures by artists Sol LeWitt and Roy Lichtenstein) at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden or glide alongside the Potomac River in Georgetown’s Washington Harbor.
- For a pop of greenery in the winterscape, stroll the leafy U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory. Along the National Mall, with its striking lattice-like bronze architecture, get lost in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History. The newly-renovated Freer-Sackler features American and Asian art while the lesser-known Phillips Collection has 4,000 works including French Impressionist paintings.
- Looking for some action? Grab a pair of tickets to the Washington Capitals or alternatively drop by Capitol One Arena for a Wizards
Warm Fires, Burgers and Ramen Noodles
- For hip, interactive (and highly-Instagrammable) art at the Southwest Waterfront, Artechouse, has glowing installations and in the evening, a cocktail bar to take you out of the cold.
- Or warm up on Dirty Habit‘s patio with cocktails, blankets and roaring fires. On the waterfront, drop by the new seafood haven, Salt Line for oysters, lobster rolls and Chesapeake chowders.
- Cozy up inside Union Market for a sprawl from Korean tacos and Indian food to grab-and-go gourmet or drop by and Salt & Sundry for locally curated wares.
- Elsewhere, Lucky Buns has tasty double patty burgers with toppings from fried eggs to pickled beetroot. And for umami-packed ramen, Bantam King has you covered.
Rest your head at Kimpton’s Washington, D.C. hotels.