Winter is really pretty in Chicago- sure it’s a little cold, but if you bundle up, have proper hats, scarves, gloves, and boots you’ll be fine!
Go ice skating at Millennium Park- I love urban ice skating! If you go on a Friday evening during the holiday season, you can also listen to carolers.
Go to State Street and look at all the lights and window decorations- especially at Macy’s. Inside Macy’s they’ve also got it all decorated up. The Walnut Room restaurant has a giant Christmas tree.
Michigan Avenue also has tons of lights– it’s really really pretty!
Grab a sled or a piece of cardboard and find a nice hill- this one is in Lincoln Park near Wrightwood Ave.
Go for a run, LOL. It’s brisk!
Find a Christmas Tree seller and take a deep breath.
Or just walk around any of the many great Chicago neighborhoods, get a hot chocolate or a meal.
If you live in Chicago and haven’t been to Butch McGuire’s you are seriously out of it! It’s been around forever and is a Chicago institution! Get over there soon- Christmastime is the best time to visit. They spend two months decorating for Christmas with tons of lights and even a working train set that hangs from the ceiling. Good food, great drinks (perfect Irish Coffee)- we even went last year for their New Years Eve party. It was fun and not all crazy and ridiculously crowded. They have daily specials and weekend brunch, too. Now go on, go.
The Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza is an authentic (and free!) European (German mostly) Christmas marketplace. You can get handmade ornaments, scarves and hats, Christmas decorations, mugs, cuckoo clocks, candies and much more. They also sell German food, hot cider, beer, and warm spiced wine- yum! Pro Tip: go after work during the week instead of on the weekend, it’s prettier at night and you can beat the crowds!
Yes, the Chicago CTA Holiday Train is a real thing. It travels each train route thru the holiday season. You can see where it’s going to be on the CTA schedule. It’s super cute and lots of fun (even if some of the people in the pics don’t look too thrilled- they are secretly holiday lovers or they wouldn’t have gotten on the train!). The trains are decorated inside and out and they play Christmas music inside. So festive!
Winter is such a pretty time in Chicago, and we don’t let the weather slow us down. Between Thanksgiving and New Years there are tons of things to do. So many that I didn’t get to post about them all because they came and went already!
But one place that does it up for the whole month of December is The Lincoln Park Zoo.
The Conservatory and The Zoo are always free, and they’re inside Lincoln Park itself. You can walk around the park, see all the pretty buildings in the neighborhood, then visit the Conservatory and The Zoo.
If you time it right, you can see everything at once. Visit The Conservatory from 9-5 daily, then head over to the Zoo for the light show from 5-9! Over 2 million holiday lights festoon the trees inside the zoo. It’s sooooooo pretty!
Plus they have ice carving, and carousel and train rides.
There are stands that sell hot cider, hot chocolate and mulled wine- yum. You can even visit some of the animals. It’s fun and scary to see the big cats outside at night.
The Lincoln Park Zoo website has all the details and schedule.
I guess this year they even have an ice skating rink– fun!
If you are still up for it, you can wander into the Lincoln Park neighborhood and stop at Galway Arms for a hot spiked beverage in front of one of their toasty fireplaces.