The Holidays...Chicago Style!

Christmas is one of Chicago's best seasons...it makes winter tolerable for a while!  Being a Chicago-native, I have so many favorite holiday memories from my childhood that I am trying to pass onto Cooper and Cole.  I know the holidays are a busy time, but here are a few options for you to consider checking out as part of your December festivities.  Enjoy!

  • Christmas Tree In Daley Plaza:  A great photo opportunity for Holiday cards.
  • Ice Skating at Millennium:  Come out and skate for free under some of Chicago's most impressive skyscrapers.  Skate rentals are available for $10.
  • Christkindlmarket Chicago:  It's Chicago's largest open-air market and includes European arts and crafts, as well as brats, spiced wine and other German specialties. The Christkindlmarket is open daily through December 24 at Chicago's Daley Plaza.
  • CTA Holiday Train:  The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) rolls out its annual Holiday Train when Santa and his elves walk through various train cars passing out candy canes. The Holiday Train will travel all CTA rail lines in December and operates from 1 pm to 9 pm on weekends and 3 pm to 7 pm on select weekdays.
  • Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier:  Navy Pier's winter festival includes a castle, ice skating and holiday entertainment, and runs December 3 - January 2, 2011.
  • Magnificent Mile Lights Festival:  Stoll down Michigan Avenue and checkout the one million lights that illuminate the Mag Mile.
  • Chicago Botanic Garden:  Outside, 750,000 lights sparkle and welcome you to the Garden's wonderland. Inside, there is a 10,000-square-foot exhibition of miniature trains.  On select dates, you can have breakfast or supper with Santa, hot chocolate with Mrs. Claus, or a Hanukkah dinner and concert. 
  • Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light:  At the Museum of Science and Industry, view more than 50 Christmas trees and colorful displays that illustrate how the world decorates for the holidays.
  • Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo:  In addition to magicians, carolers and celebrity story tellers, almost one million twinkling lights bedazzle visitors.
  • Walnut Room Holiday Dining at Macy's on State Street:  Take part in a fun Chicago tradition with a visit to the Macys' holiday window displays.  Afterwards, enjoy holiday fare at the Walnut Room, located inside Macy's. Dine under the massive Great Tree that stands 48 feet tall and features 10,000 sparkling lights and 1200 ornaments.
  • Winter Wonderland:  At the John Hancock Center, there is a winter wonderland of festivities to check out. 
  • A Christmas Carol:  At the Goodman Theatre, the Charles Dickens' classic story, 'A Christmas Carol', will come to life.  Every year, audiences look forward to the "Bah Humbugs," the arrival of the ghosts, the music and dancing and Scrooge's joyful discovery of life and love.
  • Daley Plaza Santa's House:  Visit Santa's House at Daley Plaza, where you can tour Santa's house and he will be available for pictures and taking wish lists.
  • Art Institute Wreathing of the Lions:  Another great photo opportunity for holiday cards. 
  • Caroling at Cloud Gate: Celebrate the holidays in Millennium Park, when Caroling at Cloud Gate returns on Friday evenings each week throughout the holiday season.
  • ZooLights:  One of the brightest parts of Chicago's winter--ZooLights.  It's free and open to all.  Watch ice carving demonstrations, visit with Santa, savor warm drinks, enjoy cool crafts and be dazzled by more than one million beautiful lights. Plus, enjoy caroling to the animals on December 5th from 2pm to 4pm.

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