12 Days of Christmas in Chicago
We may be a little biased, but Christmas in Chicago is one of the most magical times of the year. Despite the cold and snow, you can’t help but feel merry and bright when you spot the decked out holiday train, store windows with holiday decorations and every tree is dripping with colorful, twinkling lights. But how is a Chicagoan to narrow down the endless holiday activities to do in the city this season?! That’s where we come in. We’ve hand picked 12 things to do around the city just for you, to ensure your most festive holiday season in Chicago.
1. Afternoon Christmas Tea at The Drake
Celebrate the holiday at one of the most beautiful hotels and historic in Chicago. The Palm Court’s traditional Afternoon Holiday Tea, complete with carolers and a harpist, allows you to welcome in the season while enjoying tea and festive petit fours (and giving you a perfect reason to dress up). Holiday tea at Drake Hotel’s Palm Court starts Friday, November 18 and goes until Sunday, January 3, 2017 from 11 AM to 5 PM. Each seating is for 1.5 hours and cost is- Adults: $49; Children: $24.
2. Check out Macy’s Holiday windows and have lunch in the Walnut Room under the Great Tree
Yes it’s an obvious one, but it had to be listed. Following the demise of Marshall Fields, Macy’s iconic Chicago Christmas celebrations are always a must-see. Before you hit Macy’s to shop, make sure to take in the Macy’s Holiday Windows and swing by The Walnut Room so you can enjoy a delicious meal, while also taking in the Great Tree. It will make for great snap story for sure.
You don’t need to be German to appreciate this festive holiday tradition which began in 1545. Christkindlmarket is an outdoor market in the Loop, where you can enjoy traditional German fare while getting some of that holiday shopping out of the way. Doesn’t hurt that the admission is free, either! Christkindlmarket located at Daley Plaza runs from Nov. 18- Dec. 24.
4. Laugh at The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens
In need of a little seasonal satire? Twist Your Dickens is a comedic twist on the original A Christmas Carol, written by Emmy Award-winning former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort. Second City returns to Goodman Theatre for its third year to present the story of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and three outrageous ghosts—plus nods to other beloved yuletide specials. Because between in-laws and visiting family, we all need a chuckle around the holidays. If you’re more of a fan of the classic that the comical, A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theater is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit- no “bah, humbugs” here!
5. Watch Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre
For the first time in a long time Chicago’s cultural institution will present a brand new interpretation of Christmas staple Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. With Live Music by the Chicago Philharmonic, this version is choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and we are certain the hype behind it is well worth attending. No you don’t have to have kids to see this but you’ll probably suffer FOMO if you don’t.
6. Lincoln Park Zoo ZooLights
When Lincoln Park Zoo do Christmas, they really do Christmas. During ZooLights, the Lincoln Park Zoo becomes a bedazzled wonderland with light displays throughout zoo grounds. Need even more of a reason to check it out? The zoo will offer special ticket only event like Adults Night Out: Holiday Edition!, where you enjoy the brilliance of ZooLights minus the kids and crowds and with a beer in hand and a live band! (no brainer).
7. Explore the Museum of Science and Industry and check out Christmas Around the World
As if MSI wasn’t cool enough, their Christmas Around the World exhibit is sure to fill you with holiday cheer. There is a 45-foot Grand Tree decorated with more than 30,000 lights and hundreds of ornaments and trimmings with a LEGO theme, a Grand Tree surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees, each representing cultures and holiday traditions from all over the globe, Cubs tree in honor of the 2016 World Series Champions. Once you are done at MSI, hang around downtown Hyde Park and grab a drink at A10.
8. Wonderland Tea at The Langham
This outing is a perfect combination of sightseeing and holiday spirit. Served at Pavilion in The Langham Hotel, the tea includes sandwiches, desserts and a variety of teas such as The Langham Blend and the Palm Court Blend. Doesn’t hurt that the afternoon tea includes a complimentary glass of prosecco and a parting gift either.
9. Go antique hunting at Randolph Street Holiday Market
All of your vintage finds can be discovered here! From homemade items to vintage Chanel, the Randolph Street Holiday Market has the perfect item for everyone on your list (and a couple of things for yourself).
10. Ice Skate at Millennium Park & Maggie Daley
What better way to take in Christmas in the city than by nearly knocking over nearby skaters? Athleticism aside, ice skating at Millennium Park is still a blast. You get to take in the the bean and downtown skyline, and reward yourself with some apple cider after. If you’re looking for a longer skating option, the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon is the perfect option with the city’s lakeview and skyline as a backdrop. Admission is free but there is a charge for renting skates. Its a perfect date night option where you can end the evening down the street at Cindy’s at The Chicago Athletic Hotel.
11. Peruse the Holiday Renegade Craft Fair
The largest independent craft fair will be coming to Chicago once again. With an eye for emerging designers and exceptional design, the Holiday Renegade Craft Fair will host more than 250 makers. These one of a kind goods paired with artisanal food and drink is the perfect holiday pick-me-up.
12. Holiday shopping on Michigan Avenue
Saved the best for last. Even if you’ve lived in Chicago your whole life, walking down the Magnificent Mile with it’s seasonal sparkle will never lose it’s magic. Some of our shopping spots will be the new Sephora store on Michigan Ave; Nikelab inside the Niketown store, stocking up on Henri Bendel candles in Water Tower, window shopping at Rolex and crossing multiple things off the list at Nordstrom. Take a shopping break at Conrad Hotel (101 E. Erie) and head up to the 20th floor to Baptiste & Bottle for some eats and drinks while taking in the city skyline.
Want to keep up with our latest coverage plus exclusive event invites? Click here to get this and more scene worthy items delivered to your inbox.