Skating up, up and away
While it may not be the city's tallest building, the John Hancock Building and Observatory can certainly brag about having the world's highest ice skating rink. Offering 360-degree views of Chicago, the lake and even Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin on a clear day, the 900-square-foot skating rink has a synthetic surface so you don't even have to bundle up to make your figure eights. You can still have a hot chocolate, a bite to eat or a cocktail at the Lavazza Espression Café after you take a spin around the rink.
9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily through April 8 at the 94th floor observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave. Each 25-minute skating session is $5 (admission to the observatory is a separate fee) and skate rental is $1. (888) 875-8439 or JHOChicago.com.
Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People
Miguel Gutierrez and his six dancers, the Powerful People, will hit the stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Gutierrez and the troupe have been working together for several years on the connections between dance, neurology and paranormal circumstances.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 2, and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $28, $22 for MCA members, $10 for students. (312) 397-4010 or mcachicago.org.
Déjà vu all over again
Visit the historic town square of Woodstock for Groundhog Days, an annual event that includes a Shake Off the Winter Blues Dinner Dance, the Awakening of the Groundhog ceremony at the historic 1889 Woodstock Opera House; and "Groundhog Day" movie trivia. There also will be family activities including storytelling, a chili cook-off, walking tours of the filming sites and free showings of the movie.
Event times vary Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 31-Feb. 3. The annual prognostication takes place the morning of Saturday, Feb. 2, when Woodstock Willie looks for his shadow. woodstockgroundhog.org.
Nice ice, baby
The historic Baker House is home to Wisconsin's first 10-foot custom-carved ice bar as the Lake Geneva lodging transforms its lakefront garden into a winter wonderland and the third annual Fire and Ice Lounge. Festivities at the historic hotel and restaurant coincide with the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in downtown Lake Geneva. Enjoy fireside drinks in cups made entirely of ice, savory delights, hot toddies and the Baker House's signature snow-cones topped with flavor-infused vodkas. Warm up in Fancy Shanties in the ice sculpture garden with fur-covered benches and fireplaces.
4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, is the ceremonial first run of the SKYY vodka ice luge. 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, there will be an ice sculpting show. The Fire & Ice Lounge will be open weekends through February at Baker House, 327 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva. (262) 248-4700 or BakerHouse1885.com.
Crazy shade of winter
Door County rocks in the winter as well as the summer. Historic Fish Creek's 26th annual Winter Festival has a sled-full of activities for the whole family. Enjoy games, music, food and a festive atmosphere under the large heated tent overlooking the frozen waters of Green Bay. There will also be a human foosball tournament, chili cook-off, minnow racing, a bike toss and the Fruit Loop fun run. Other activities include wine tasting, trolley rides, ice sculptures, a winter parade and candlelight cross-country skiing.
1 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb 1; 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, Feb 2; and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3 in Fish Creek. (800) 577-1880 or visitfishcreek.com/event/winter-festival/W.