Chicago at Christmas - A Beautiful Place To Be
Chicago is a great place to be at any time of year, but at Christmas it becomes particularly special. Yes its cold, there's no doubt about that, but a warm coat and a cup of coffee can soon banish the chill. The city has many great Christmas attractions, and we'll do our best to tell you about the best of them.
There are many great stores with awesome window displays but Macy's is very hard to beat. Not only is it one of the biggest department stores in the world, but it's also home to the Great Tree - decorated with more than 12,000 christmas lights. Although you need to get up early to be beat the lines, you can actually eat lunch at the base of the tree in the Walnut Room. It's an amazing experience and definitely worth the wait.
German Christmas Markets are becoming increasingly popular in the US, and Chicago has the largest and one of the best - the Christkindlmarket. Originally started in Pioneer Court in 1996, the market quickly moved to it's home in Daley Plaza and offers traditional German food, great gifts and handmade goods as well as a range of entertainment - including traditional German songs. With nearly three quarters of its stall holders speaking both German and English, it's about as authentic as you can imagine.
Things To Do In Chicago at Christmas 2016
Daley Plaza also hosts The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony - as popular with the Chicago locals as tourists. It used to be held the day following Thanksgiving, but it now happens during the week which means more locals can get to it, including those who travel to relatives across the country for their November turkey feast! The tree is considered to be the very best fir from the Chicago area, Indiana and Wisconsin - with a voting process the week before.
In addition to the Tree Ceremony, you can also meet Santa Claus on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Chicago's Magnificent Mile
Don't forget to check out Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and the Chicago River. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival takes place there and is considered to be the first day of christmas festivities in Chicago. There's always a bunch of great things to do with the family and our favourite part is the Mickey Mouse parade along Michigan Ave that blasts out more than 1 million lights, (thank goodness it gets dark early so you can appreciate the beautifulness of this show).
You'll find it all happening on on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving, and is considered to start the crazy period of holiday shopping along one of the most famous street of stores and boutiques in the city. Most shops will also have their christmas window displays in place, as well as extended shopping hours.
Christmas in Chicago? Try The Zoo!
Local Chicago families love visiting Lincoln Park Zoo where there is always a great display of sparking lights, as well as and nocturnal views of animals in seven habitats.
We love that you can try out ice carving, get your hands messy with cookie decoration, take a snap with Santa Claud, and even take a ride on the carousel – all you need to make your family holiday full of fun and excitement.
Chicago is a wonderful place. Have a very merry Christmas!