Even after the winter holidays have passed, many cities offer family-friendly festivals with ice-skating rinks, carnival rides, workshops, fireworks, food and more. Plan to attend one of these exciting events in 2014.

Winter WonderFest, Chicago

December 5, 2014 to January 11, 2015
Leading the winter celebration festivities is Chicago's Navy Pier, which hosts Winter WonderFest to coincide with the holiday season. The 14th annual event features a 170,000-square-foot winter playground, complete with indoor ice skating and fair-style slides, rides and fun for kids of all ages and sizes. New this year are the Wintertube 15-foot-high tubing hill, Toboggan Tunnel roller sled ride, Winter Rules Mini Golf and Snowglobe Live, where you can take a photo inside a 15-foot-tall snow globe.

Recommended Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

Winter Carnival, Quebec City, Canada

January 30 to February 15, 2015
Quebec City knows how to celebrate winter in style. Quebec's world-famous Winter Carnival features First Night and Second Night Parades, ice skating, an ice palace and a number of unique activities for families, including a Snow Bath, sleigh race and dog sled rides. The festival also features snow sculptures and workshops, crafts, arctic spas, fireworks and plenty of food, including delectable fare found at the Sugar Shack.

Recommended Hotel: Fairmont Chateau Frontenac

Winterlude, Ottawa, Canada

January 30 to February 16, 2015
Three weekends are devoted to this winter festival that celebrates its 45th year in 2015. The festival includes culinary events, ice carvings and snow sculptures, as well as Snowflake Kingdom, a snow playground filled with snow slides, obstacle courses and more fun the kids won't be able to get enough of! Be sure to lace on some skates for Rideau Canal, the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink!

Recommended Hotel: Rideau Heights Inn

Winter Carnival, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

February 4 to 8, 2015
For more than 100 years, families have visited Steamboat Springs for its annual 5-day Winter Carnival's snow-covered fun. As the oldest continuing winter carnival west of the Mississippi, families flock to the town's skijoring events down Lincoln Avenue. Ski jumping, racing, parades and the Lighted Man and fireworks night show are annual highlights. Don't miss the country's only skiing high school band perform in the parade!

Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Steamboat Resort

SnowFest, Lake Tahoe

February 27 to March 8, 2015
North Lake Tahoe will celebrate great spring weather and skiing with 10 days and nights of fun for its 32nd consecutive year. Snow events are held at popular ski resorts like Squaw Valley, Diamond Peak, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Alpine Meadows and Homewood, and include parades, races, concerts and special events for all ages.

Recommended Hotel: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort

Cedarburg Winter Festival

February 21 to 22, 2015
Just north of Milwaukee, Cedarburg welcomes winter for the 41st annual Winter Festival, which includes ice carvings, costumed bed racing, barrel races on ice, ice skating, snow golf, live music, arts and crafts, and food and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.

Recommended Hotel: Brewhouse Inn & Suites

Stowe Winter Carnival

January 17 to 25, 2015
The ski destination of Stowe, Vermont, hosts its 41st annual winter carnival, featuring ice carving competitions, snow golf, snow volleyball, ski races, and kids' carnival. At night, Carnival "meltdown" parties take place for parents, and throughout the event, competitive sports keep visitors entertained when not enjoying the slopes themselves.

Recommended Hotel: Stowe Mountain Lodge

St. Paul Winter Carnival

January 22 to February 1, 2015
The oldest and biggest winter festival began in St. Paul in 1886 as a way to prove a reporter wrong: St. Paul isn't too cold for people in the winter. The event draws more than 350,000 visitors each year and includes live entertainment and a parade with the crowning a snow queen.

Recommended Hotel: Embassy Suites Hotel St. Paul

More from Family Vacation Critic:
Best Family Ski Resorts on the East Coast
Best Family Ski Resorts on the West Coast

Written by Lissa Poirot


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