Chicago may be known as the “Windy City,” but during the winter it feels more like the “Icy City.” Instead of cursing the cold, Chi-town embraces it everyPicture 11 year with the Polar Plunge and Melt Down Party. Starting as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, this has become a sort of rite of passage, where over 1,200 participants bear the cold and jump into the frigid Lake Michigan.

Those who raise $100 for the good cause just have to get in for a good splish/splash (the brave go all the way under!) and then afterwards participants are treated with a commemorative t-shirt, towel and admission to the “Melt Down Party” with music, free food and of course, a cash bar. It’s the Chicago tradition that keeps on giving well after you’ve dried off!