A winter afternoon at Astoria Tower

How might you spend a winter afternoon at the South Loop’s Astoria Tower? Step outside and enjoy the Chicago that’s not far from your front door.

You might start by heading north to Millennium Park and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. Skating is free, and you can rent skates if you don’t have them.

You’ll want to warm up, and the Art Institute is on your way home. Admission is free to Illinois residents all day on weekdays, from January 6 through February 12.

Still headed in the direction of home, you spy a spot that screams “Chicago” and stop in at Miller’s Pub for a beer and a bite. Hours pass as you savor a meal that’s well beyond typical bar fare, and bask in the atmosphere.

You’re almost home when the rhythmic beat of the blues pulls you into Buddy Guy’s Legends.

Walking that last block, the cold jolts you into a guilty awareness of the New Year’s resolutions you spent the afternoon and evening breaking. You pay a visit to Astoria Tower’s fitness room and indoor pool before calling it a night.

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