Things to do in Illinois during January


Serge Melki

The Shedd Aquarium is more likely than not to be dusted with snow on the outside during January, when the aquarium offers free admission for residents of Illinois.

Jenna Grayson, Staff Writer

    Marking the beginning of a new month in a new year that follows the rush of the holidays and New Year’s Eve, January begins, which isn’t a month known for its popularity and exciting prospects, to say the least.

   Although many people may enjoy the sentiment of completing another year along with the relief that follows the ends of the holidays, there’s not too much that follows during the month, aside from unrealistic New Year’s resolutions being abandoned within the two weeks that they were made.

   A stark contrast from the exuberance, mirth, stress and countless activities that fill December, January often appears to be an overwhelmingly fruitless and dull month in which the only reasons stable people leave their house in the freezing temperatures are to go to work and/or school and to stock up food from the grocery store in case of a blizzard.

   Below are some ideas and ongoing events to help combat the boredom that lingers in January.

Chicago & Evanston

Museum of Science and Industry

   January is one of the three months out of the year when Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry offers free admission during all of the weekends for residents of Illinois who provide a valid ID. The MSI is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is a great place to bring younger siblings or anyone else interested in interactive exhibits in science and technology.


The Shedd Aquarium

   Like the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium also offers free general admission through all January weekends (and February, too!) for residents of Illinois who provide a valid form of identification. The Shedd’s general admission includes the Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World and the Amazon Rising exhibits, according to their website,

If interested in other exhibits that aren’t included under general admission, total experience passes are available for $15 for both adults and children (compared to the regular rates of $39.95 and $30.95, respectively) during the Shedd Aquarium’s Discount Days. It should be noted that the Discount Day free general admissions and purchases for upgraded passes are only available for on-site purchase only.


Evanston’s Indoors Farmers’ Market

  If dreading January and missing the summer like most Illinoisans, an indoor farmers’ market hosted by the Evanston Ecology Center may be an appealing activity to you. During January, the indoor market will be open during all Saturdays in January from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

Local Activities

   Since many of the activities and events listed above are only accessible during weekends and/or are too time-consuming for weekdays, below are some ideas on briefer and more convenient things to do during the horrifying weekdays in January.

Pick up New Hobbies!

   Finding someone who lives in Illinois and is eager to go outside in January is a rare, nearly impossible sight, which is why beginning new indoor hobbies is a great idea for staying in the warm indoors while experiencing creative fulfillment.

  District 128, which LHS and Vernon Hills High School are a part of hosts community education programs throughout the year. D128’s community education programs are especially convenient, as the program’s classes are affordable and are usually hosted in nearby public high schools, which makes adopting new hobbies, gaining skills, and/or learning new things more accessible and less time consuming for those interested. Classes available include anything from learning how to blow glass, or even learning how to identify and tap maple trees for syrup.

Classes for the winter 2017 session begin on Jan. 19. If in need of any course information, a list of available classes along with course descriptions, locations, times, dates and fees can be found on D128’s Community Education’s website.


Join a Club at LHS!

    Second semester is the perfect time to join new club(s) at Libertyville High School, which has over 70 clubs that are available to its students. Most clubs at LHS hold most of their meetings and activities after school during various weekdays with a few scheduled before school and most being after school. To view a list of all of LHS’s clubs with descriptions, meeting times and some external links to various clubs’ websites, click here.


Shop Post-Holiday Sales!

  Some of the best non-technological deals of the year usually begin towards the last few days of December and last up until a few weeks in January. It’s increasingly common to find clothing, decorations and gift sets that are marked down to at least 50 percent off because businesses are looking to make room for their spring collections and get rid of their extra holiday and winter items.

 During this time, it’s also convenient to search for next year’s holiday supplies, decorations, candy, clothing, and accessories with holiday themes due to the lower costs of the markdown items, which make the following holiday’s festivities very, very cheap and it’s especially nice to have wrapping paper and gift bags already prepared while being a fraction of next year’s supplies’ cost.