Things To Do In Chicago During Winter break

If You Are In Chicago Over Winter Break, Here Are 10 Fun Things To Do

Christmas and New Year's in Chicago are unforgettable, just saying.

Mau
Mau
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Being born and raised in the city of Chicago, I have had many fun experiences around the city during the winter breaks. For my fellow Chicagoans or visitors, here is a list of things to do to make your winter break jolly and eventful!

1. Check out shows from Broadway in Chicago at the Oriental Theater.

All year round, the Broadway In Chicago performing arts group perform musicals at the Oriental Theater. Get tickets to see numerous plays, such as the infamous "Hamilton", "Fiddler on the Roof", and "The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical."

2. See the Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Every year, the Lincoln Park hosts the ZooLights. Go with your family and friends to see beautifully lit Christmas-themed decorations for around $15.

3. Take pictures by the Christmas tree at Millennium Park.

What makes Millennium Park stunning is when the grand tree is put up and decorated. Take pictures by this awesome attraction whwn you visit downtown.

4. Watch fireworks at Navy Pier.

For New Year's Eve, Navy Pier is known to put out pretty fireworks when the clock strikes 12. It is a monumental moment that only happens once a year, so take time to see the beautiful fireworks in the sky.

5. Take a ride on the CTA's Holiday Train.

If you are very lucky, you can catch a ride on the holiday train! Every holiday season, most of the CTA trains are decorated very festively and grants passengers with an spontaneous train ride experience.

6. Go on the Magnificent Mile.

The Magnificent Mile in Michigan Avenue offers a wide range of options for dining, hotels, tourist attractions, and events. The greatest thing it offers is many opportunities to shop at department stores, cosmetic stores, gift shops, pet boutiques, etc. It gives off that "Gossip Girl" vibe but in the Windy City!

7. Go Ice Skating at Millennium Park.

Ice-skating at Millennium Park is a great Chicago tradition, and it is free admission. As stated on its website, renting skates are around $13-15. Skate under the Chicago skyline and have fun! Make sure to get there at a good time because lines can get pretty long!

8. Attend Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier.

For an indoor winter wonderland, attend Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier, which is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. There is an ice-skating rink, fun holiday-themed activities, beautiful decorations, and carnival rides! The event runs from late November to early January!

9. Dine at Portillo's!

Portillo's is the place to go for fine burgers and shakes! What makes it special during winter break is that the restaurant has beautiful Christmas decorations that gives it a cozy and warm feeling to it.

10.  Ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

Are you in the mood for exploring the greatness of the city in style? Book a ticket for a ride in a horse drawn carriage that has a driver! To note, this company specializes in anniversaries, birthdays, holiday parties, and more! Visit Horse and Carriage's website for more details on booking a ride!

The options are endless in the city of Chicago. Celebrate Christmas and New Year's in Chicago for unforgettable and magical experiences that will create a great winter break worthwhile.

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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10 Easy Ways To Survive A Summer Trip To Rome

I went through it all so you don't have to.

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Ever since I was young, I dreamt of visiting Italy during the summer time and having my own little Lizzie McGuire moment. However, when I got there, things weren't exactly as dreamy as I expected them to be. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved Rome and would go back in a heartbeat if I could. But at times, the heat was unbearable and made things quite frustrating for my family and me.

If you're planning a trip to Rome this summer, or maybe in the future, here are my tips so you can be able to make the most out of those scorching summer days.

1. Pack cool and lightweight clothing.

Gianna Alfanno

First things first, pack warm-weather-ready outfits and expect to be sweating all day long. Bring nothing but shorts, sleeveless or short-sleeve tops; perhaps those flowy pants that are trendy right now, skirts, and dresses.

NOTE: If you're visiting the Vatican and want to enter the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, make sure to pack an appropriate outfit. Since it is a holy place, there's a dress code you're asked to respect, which comes down to cover your shoulders and knees.

2. Wear comfy shoes during the day.

You're going to be walking a lot and the streets in Rome are very uneven, so I recommend you wear sneakers or shoes you know you can walk miles in without complaining. My sister learned the lesson the hard way. Our first day in Rome, she decided to wear sandals 'cause they "looked cuter," but ended up having blisters and foot pain by the afternoon. Comfort over style, girlies.

3. Stay hydrated.

Gianna Alfanno

Have a bottle of water with you at all times and don't worry about running out, the tap water in Rome is potable. You'll come across a lot of water fountains on the street, known as nasoni, where you can fill them up again or splash your face to cool off.

4. Bring sun protective accessories.

Gianna Alfanno

Whether it's sunglasses, a hat, an umbrella, or all three of them, bring along your own form of shade.

5. And a fan!

Gianna Alfanno

There's little to no breeze in Rome during the summer, so a folding paper fan or one of those mini portable electric ones are nice to have in your bag.

6. Don't forget your sunblock.

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Speaking of sun protection, make sure to put on some sun lotion before taking on the day. This is something I always forget, but it's an easy and effective way to prevent sunburn.

7. Take the tour bus.

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Those double-decker sightseeing tour buses are actually a great deal. They take you to the most popular landmarks in Rome, so you don't have to walk that much. You hop off and hop back on wherever and whenever you want. And if you're wondering, Ubers are very rare in the city and taxis tend to be a complete rip-off.

8. Make some room for gelato.

Gianna Alfanno

They don't call it "Eataly" for nothing. Italians eat a lot but try not to fill yourself with pasta and pizza. There's nothing better than a couple of ice cold, creamy scoops of gelato on a hot summer day.

9. Plan ahead and book your tickets online.

Lines can get really long and you don't want to stand under the sun or within a sweaty crowd for almost an hour. A lot of attractions in Rome offer "skip the line" tickets you can purchase online beforehand.

10. Beware of pickpockets.

This last tip has nothing to do with surviving the heat, but is still very important to pass on. Summer is the high season in Rome, so thieves are lurking everywhere. Don't put anything in your back pockets and always be aware of your surroundings. If you can, buy a backpack with hidden zippers or one difficult of opening without you noticing. If not, bring your regular backpack, but carry it in front of you.

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