The following article was originally published on openroadbeforeme.com by Nathan Anderson on 12/18/17.

Chicago is famous for many things, from its sports teams and stadiums to the blustery weather, which has earned it the moniker of The Windy City. It is the home of the deep dish pizza and the Sears Tower and was the base of Al Capone in his heyday. It is a fascinating place, and many people are keen to visit the city center.  But the areas surrounding the city itself are full of history and things to do, and it’s a shame to miss out on all they have to offer. Here are some winter activities near O’Hare International Airport you can do before or after you explore the heart of The Windy City.

Winter Activities in Rosemont

Rosemont is a small suburb of Chicago bordering the airport.  Home of the Chicago Wolves, it’s a great spot to catch a professional hockey game anytime from December through mid-April. If you’re not into sports, check out the Rosemont Theatre for events and concerts — they happen throughout the year.

MB Financial Park, a 200,000-square-foot entertainment and dining complex, has a huge amount of activities on offer. Check out Zanies Comedy Club for some good laughs or Kings Dining and Entertainment for the chance to follow up a tasty dinner with bowling. You can even go skydiving (indoors) with iFly; talk about an all-inclusive vacation!

Winter Activities in Park Ridge

On the other side of the Des Plaines River from Rosemont is Park Ridge, an area conveniently connected to the city center by train. With numerous wooded areas including the Iroquois and Chippewa Woods to explore and relax, it offers plenty for outdoor enthusiasts willing to brave the cold.  If the weather is too frigid and you want to stay indoors, head over to the Pickwick Theater — built in 1928 — and enjoy a classic American cinema experience. There are a number of hotel options in the area if you choose to make this your base.

A not-to-be-missed spot is the Beer on the Wall beer cafe with its massive selection of tapped and bottled brews, as well as the board games and old Nintendo it has available for the young at heart. What could be better on a cold winter night?

Winter Activities in Glenview

Finally, north of both Rosemont and Park Ridge is Glenview, a suburb with parks and fields aplenty and bordered on either side by wooded areas. Check out the Camp Pine or Allison Woods for some walking paths and solace from the buzz of the town. Or head to the Glenview Ice Center for an afternoon of ice skating with friends.

Don’t miss The Grove, a parcel of prairie grove land set aside and maintained by the Parks District. Rich in both ecological and historical heritage, The Grove is open year round and provides a fascinating look at a side of Chicago many people never see.

Chicago is a great city to explore, but don’t get so caught up in the heart of the city that you miss what lies just beyond. Take some time to explore these areas near O’Hare International Airport, and let us know what you think!