For Florida natives like me, winter in Chicago is a time of reckoning. Why, I often find myself wondering, did I forsake 75-degree days in February for this? Plenty of Chicagoans flock to the Southeast when the temperature drops, but you don’t have to spend all that money (or suffer the indignity of a Spirit Airlines flight to Fort Lauderdale) to enjoy a Sunshine State vibe in winter. Here’s how.

Eat Key lime pie at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits

Decadently creamy and nestled in a graham cracker crust, this take on Florida’s official state pie (a real designation) is the best I’ve had north of St. Pete Beach. $5.50 a slice; $33 whole. 2051 N. California Ave., Logan Square

Join the pickleball craze at SPF

A cult-like movement that swept Florida and now threatens to take over the entire country? I’m referring, of course, to pickleball, which has boomed since the pandemic, spawning several dedicated facilities in the Chicago area. When SPF opens this winter, it will be the city’s largest indoor pickleball space, featuring courts outfitted with instant replay technology to resolve any line disputes. 2121 N. Clybourn Ave., Lincoln Park

Photograph: Josh McCausland/Unsplash

Stroll under the fronds at Garfield Park Conservatory’s Palm House

Boasting more than 70 palm trees from around the world, the conservatory’s largest room is the best place to visit the tropics without leaving town. And unlike in Florida, invasive iguanas don’t fall out of these palms when the temperature drops. 300 N. Central Park Ave., East Garfield Park

Play shuffleboard at Royal Palms

Like pickleball, shuffleboard isn’t an activity just for retirees. It’s an ideal icebreaker for a date or a group, particularly when paired with a tropical cocktail from this Florida-themed bar, which rents courts for $50 an hour. Royal Palms gets crowded in the evening, so do as older Floridians do and be an early bird. 1750 N. Milwaukee Ave., Bucktown