The holiday season is upon us, which means, for most of the United States, so is cold weather. But rather than sniffle at the prospect of bundling up and braving the elements, we’re embracing it.

In our signature cover Travel feature, Celebrated Weekend, Dennis Franz gives us an insider’s tour of his hometown of Chicago. When this story was first assigned, we weren’t sure about the timing. Let’s face it: There are other more beautiful seasons to visit the Windy City than winter. But Chicago is renowned for its nightlife, dining, and shopping, all fun indulgences, especially during the holidays. And Franz is such a local — our publisher once spotted him with a table full of family members young and old at Pizzeria Uno there — that his tips are timeless regardless of the season.

Elsewhere in Travel, you’ll find an article on a new ski resort in Canada, the first one to open in the Canadian Rockies in 25 years. In the Lifestyle section, check out our roundup of new winter-wonderland toys for grown-ups. From brand-new snowmobiles to the latest skis, we’ve got you covered.

If you prefer your sports indoors — as a spectator — turn to page 52 for our look at the latest arena offerings around the country. Associate editor James Mayfield researched new sports facilities being built and found venues that are high-tech and fan friendly. Living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, he started with all the buzz in his own backyard: the American Air-lines Center, where the Dallas Stars and Mavericks hockey and basketball teams are playing promising first seasons.

“There’s something special about sitting in a brand-new arena with 20,000 screaming fans rooting for the home team,” James says. “In the sports world it doesn’t get much better than that.”

There’s much more. Let us know what you think.