Lincoln Park Zoo in the Wintertime

By Jonah Nink


You’d be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at me for suggesting that the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the best places to visit in Chicago during the wintertime. On the surface, the frigid cold of the Chicago winter might seem like an odd pairing with a walk through the Zoo, but I’d argue that those who miss out on checking it out are missing out on something truly special.

It can be easy to forget that the Lincoln Park Zoo is open, free and, besides a few specific enclosures, fully functional 365 days a year. A lot of people still seem to do so, however, and it’s not uncommon to have days where the place is practically empty. This should be great news for those of us looking to find a peaceful place to get away from the rowdiness of city life.



While there really isn’t a bad time to visit, the Zoo is at its very best when visited in the early afternoon on a Saturday. I can’t even begin to describe how nice it feels to reward yourself with a stroll through the zoo after a long week of work. Being surrounded by nature can help clear your mind of stress, and the extra bit of exercise doesn’t hurt the waistline.

My personal favorite thing to do is to end my walk on top of one of the park’s bridges and take in the Chicago skyline. If things get too cold, you can always duck inside once of the indoor enclosures and say hello to some of its animal residents.

Busy in the mornings? No problem! If you go to the Zoo during the evening in December, you’ll be treated to an array of spectacular lights and decorations impressive enough to give even the most hardened Scrooge the holiday spirit.



The Lincoln Park Zoo also hosts a myriad of diverse events throughout the month of December ranging everywhere from Holiday Markets where visitors can purchase local art to adult nights featuring seasonal craft beer.

Regardless of when you choose to go, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a hidden wintertime gem that should not be missed!

For more information and a list of wintertime events, please visit