What to do in Chicago Over the Holidays!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


As much as we both really hate the cold, Brian and I agree that Chicago is a magical place to spend the holidays — this city doesn't mess around when it comes to seasonal cheer. Sure, the temperatures drop (like, a lot), but it feels like the city comes alive. We've rounded up our five favorite things to do to make the most of December in Chicago. Let us know what we're missing!

Side note: Years ago I freelanced for Chicago.com and wrote all of their seasonal guides, and now the site's under construction. Boo! If you're visiting the city in the future I'd check there for a longer list of activities and restaurants (shameless plug! ;)

ZooLights: I've mentioned a few times that we love going to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the lights, ice carvings and a few animals every year. We always go to dinner here after (where I always order a turkey burger and a glass of red wine).

Christkindlmarket: These Germany-inspired markets are something we hit up several times between November and December. I love the iconic German items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, hand-blown ornaments and wooden crafts. There's also great authentic food (sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, waffles) and drink (beer, hot spiced wine), but my favorite is the stuffed pretzels. The Loop location gets really, really packed, so I'd suggest the new Wrigley one if you're not one one for crowds. It's much smaller but has all the same stuff.

Hot chocolate flights: A cozy afternoon at Katherine Anne Confections with truffles and a hot chocolate flight is a must. Also a croissant. And a handful of homemade marshmallows. Of course you can do this any time of year, but it feels so right in December. We've loved every single thing we've tried, so I can't make recommendations. Get all the things ;)

Walking around Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park: Even though it's the coldest time of the year, it's also really the only time of the year we venture to this part of the Loop. The tree is so beautiful and the skating ribbon (with a long line, always) has the skyline as a backdrop. If skating isn't your thing (me!), the hot chocolate will still make it worth the trip. Bonus: Santa's willing to take photos with children of all ages, ha!

The Great Tree at Macy's Walnut Room: You have to wait a long time to get a table next to the tree at the Walnut Room, the seventh-floor restaurant inside Marshall Field's ;) So I like to check it out (45 feet tall! 3,000 ornaments! 6,000 lights!) from the eighth floor and then head somewhere else for dinner. Like here. Before leaving, check out the holiday window displays.

Also, here are some things on my wishlist. There's just never enough time ;)
Happy Holidays!!!!!!! 

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