- Millennium Park Ice Skating: Bring your skates because there’s a free ice-skating rink with a great view of Chicago’s iconic skyline!
- Michigan Avenue: So many shoppers and festivities during the pre-Chistmas season! All the trees along the street are decorated and lit up! It’s perfect at night during a light snow flurry strolling with someone you love looking at the lights and decorated windows!
- HOLIDAY CTA TRAIN!!! It’s like Christmas on, well, a train! It’s bright, cheery and costs the same as your regular train fare. Here’s the dates Santa will be on the “el” but for specific times check the CTA website.
- Cloud-Gate or “The Bean”: Take fun pictures at the Bean with snow and mittens! It’ll be a great Christmas card picture! Get creative! Located in Millennium Park.
- The Signature Room in the John Hancock Tower: To see Chicago from a bird eye’s view, go up to the Signature Room rather than paying $17 to go to the observation deck (which is actually 2 floors below the Signature Room). Women’s bathroom has the best view of the city!
- Eli’s Cheesecake Dock Sales: Near O’Hare, Bring your favorite cheesecake to the Holidays to share with friends and family with a 50-90% discount on all their gourmet cheesecakes. Join their mailing list to stay in touch with their sales!
- Polar Days (at Northerly Island) – (Winter) Free wintertime and snowy fun offered throughout the winter on specific days. Ice Sculptures, free hot cocoa, Siberian Huskies, and more! Check Chicago Park District Page for details on days!
- Macy’s on State Street – The Macy’s (aka Marshall Field’s) is a delight inside and out! At Christmas it’s always decorated to the nines, with marvelous storybook window displays, and of course the designer tree is an annual tradition to see and take pictures; located on Macy’s top level in the famed Walnut Room.
- Home Alone House is the house of Home Alone character Kevin MacAllister (Macaulay Culkin) to the north of the city at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka (rail: Winnetka, Metra Commuter line from Ogilvie Transportation Center). I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that this is a private home and not to disturb the residents.
- Christkindlmarket, German Christmas Market in Daley Plaza: An outdoor German Christmas Market that features German food, wine, German music (Brass Bands playing Christmas Carols), small houses filled with German ornaments and Christmas traditions. Bring the kids to come see Santa for free! Walk around and absorb the authentic German culture and music in the heart of Chicago,…splurge for the Hot spiced Gluhwein, because you’ll probably be freezing. I mean, it’s outdoors during December,…it’s going to be cold! (Runs for one month, Nov 24 – Dec 24).
Christkindlmarket Chicago….my absolutely favorite Chicago Christmas Tradition!!
- North American Baha’i Temple, in Wilmette. A Gorgeous religious temple that looks like a giant lace dome, surrounded by amazing fountains and gardens. It’s the only Baha’i Temple in North America!
- Lincoln Park Zoo Lights! Always free and fun to see the animals! In the winter, warm up in the Tiger House or another inside exhibit!
- Lincoln Park Conservatory – Free admission and offers you a chance to see beautiful in bloom flowers and feel some 80-90 degree weather plus humidity! It’s great to pop in, see some wonderful flowers and get warmed up!
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Tags: Chicago, Christkindlmarket Chicago, Eli's Cheesecake, Eli's Cheesecake Dock Sale, free, free Christmas, frugal, frugal Chicago, frugal travel, Holiday CTA train, holiday family fun, holidays, Home Alone House, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, Macy's, Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park Ice Skating, Winnetka, winter