During the chilliest months of the year, Illinois hosts exciting events that are well worth the winter trip. Hear and taste all the state has to offer this season.

Alton-Audobon Eagle Ice Festival

Alton | January 4

Eagle-watching enthusiasts and curious kids can see a bald eagle up close in the Alton Visitor Center, then watch ice sculptors create towering-yet-delicate works of art. Just across the river, the Audubon Center shuttles guests around the park, looking for eagles.

Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition

Rockford | January 22-25

A huntress. A towering wizard. A looming castle. These are just some of the sculptors that artists vying to represent Illinois in the US Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition might create in front of curious passers-by.

Starved Rock Eagle Watch Weekend

Oglesby | January 25-26

Marvel at Birds of Prey shows and family activities at the Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock Visitors Center and Illinois Waterway Visitors Center. Take a short hike to the top of Starved Rock for a live eagle viewing or join the park naturalist for a tour.

The Morton Arboretum's Enchanted Railroad

Lisle | January 17-February 23

Marvel at a world of tiny enchantment! Watch an intricate miniature model railroad wind through magnificent scenery that the whole family can enjoy. The train runs at a child-friendly height to thrill even the littlest fan.

Chicago Restaurant Week

Chicago | January 24-February 09

For over two weeks, enjoy dining deals throughout the city and surrounding suburbs and experience Chicago's rich, culinary diversity. Hundreds of restaurants will feature special prix fixe menus starting at $24 for brunch and lunch $36 and/or $48 for dinner.

Morton Arboretum Troll Hunt

Lisle | Year-round through June 20

Journey through Morton Arboretum's far-reaching forest to hunt for six colossal trolls crafted from reclaimed wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo.

Woodstock Groundhog Day

Woodstock | January 30-February 8

The filming site of Bill Murray’s hit movie attracts thousands every February for Groundhog Day trivia, tours and movie viewings. A crowd of enthusiasts huddle in the cold each year to see the town’s own Woodstock Willie predict a long winter or early spring.

Chicago Theatre Week

Chicago | February 13-23

A celebration of Chicago’s world-class theatre scene, visitors and residents have the opportunity to choose from more than 120 productions and sample the extraordinary range of theatrical offerings in Chicago. Read more about Chicago Theatre Week.

Big Muddy Film Festival

Carbondale | February 18-24

Thanks to a mix of experimental, documentary, narrative and animated films, there’s a movie for everyone at Southern Illinois University Carbondale each February. Emerging and established filmmakers answer questions from viewers.

St. Patrick's Day Parade & River Dyeing

Chicago | March 14

The dyeing of the Chicago river has been a tradition for many generations and attracts thousands of people dressed in green to see the action live. Wherever you are in Illinois, be sure to get involved with local St. Patrick's Day parades and events.

March Madness Half-Marathon

Cary | March 15

For basketball fans, March Madness is a time for sweepstakes and sports bar revelry. Lesser known is the March Madness Half-Marathon in Cary, celebrating the unofficial start of the running season in greater Chicago. Limber up!