I love big cities at Christmas time! Everything seems so magical with lights and decorations galore.
Well up here in Chicago, the chilly winds can be a little more painful than magical, but the holiday splendor helps us look past that for now…
My parents were in town this past weekend for a quick trip and it was wonderful! E and I made it a point to take them around to all our Chicago holiday must-dos so they could experience all this magic themselves.
Sharing this list of goodies below because you must check them out if you’re in town! If you’ve already been, they just don’t get old, right?? If you haven’t, then bring yourself and all your friends.
Chriskindlmarket // This charming little market, inspired by that in Nuremberg, Germany, is located downtown on Daley Plaza and entrance is F R E E. It provides a unique shopping experience out of pretty little wooden houses and delicious German food and drink, including spiced wine in the fair’s collectable mini mugs. The mugs are different each year, check out last year’s here.
*Tip: You can find the city’s best ornaments here. There’s basically one for every occasion or item you can think of! They’re gorgeous and make great gifts for family members.
Zoolights // Zoolights is a fun, free outing where you can soak up endless pretty lights and music coordinated displays, even if you’re not the biggest fan of zoos (like me). There’s even an ice sculptor there who is very impressive. The best part is when they torch the sculpture at the end and it becomes a shiny beacon.
*Tip: Pick up your favorite hot drink beforehand at the Starbucks nearby off North Clark Street because it is freakin’ cold. Gloves, blanket scarfs, and layers on layers highly recommended.
(The Landmark Cafe via Lincoln Park Zoo)
Holiday Tea at the Drake // So this was a first for me this past weekend when I went with mom and it was amazing! Tea at the Drake is actually offered all year around, but they’ve got special holiday hours and the Christmas decor is stunning, so I think it’s especially worth going during this time.
The tree with the ginormous ornaments had us speechless. And the Palm Court room? Incredible.
(Palm Court via The Drake Hotel)
It can be a pricer outing ($49/person), but I totally think it’s a special outing worth doing with your best girlfriends or ladies in your family! In addition to unlimited British tea served in the prettiest drinkware ever, you get a variety of finger sandwiches, scones, and French pastries.
If you don’t feel fancy yet, there’s a harpist playing by the fountain in the middle of the room.
*Tip: Go ready to get your munchies on! You won’t go hungry. If you finish your treats, they’ll happily bring you more and even box leftovers to go. You’re getting your money’s worth.
Millennium Park Tree & Skating Rink // If you’ve got first-time visitors in town, this area is definitely one of those Chicago holiday must-dos! While showing off the famous silver bean (aka Cloudgate), you can check out the big ice skating rink set right in front of it. The line is always fairly long, so I haven’t actually made it out on the ice yet. One day.
The other hot ticket item here is the 69 foot tree glowing in colored lights! You can’t miss it. There’s a beautiful balcony on the east side of the tree that makes the perfect spot for pictures.
*Tip: If you’re set on ice skating, try to go during the week or get their early to avoid the crazy line as much as possible. If you’re down to just sight-see, this is an easy tack on before or after the Chriskindlmarket!
Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying this season with family and friends! It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Any other Chicago holiday must-dos that I missed? Please share in the comments!