Winter Things To Do in Chicago- Christkindlmarket!

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!

The Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza, Chicago

The Christkindlmarket, Chicago

Authentic German Christmas market, Chicago

Authentic German food is available at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Authentic German food is available at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Handmade ornaments from all over the world are available at The Christkindlmarket in Chicago

You can get fun international candies at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago



Winter things to do in Chicago- Zoo lights at Lincoln Park Zoo!

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.

Christmas decorations inside The Lincoln Park Conservatory

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!

holiday lights at the lincoln park zoo, chicago


Plus they have ice carving, and carousel and train rides.

winter at lincoln park zoo

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.

mulled wine at lincoln park zoo holiday lights

The Lincoln Park Zoo website has all the details and schedule.

lincoln park zoo christmas lights


lincoln_park_zoo_holiday lights

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.

winter Holiday drinks at Galway Arms, Chicago


Things to do in L.A.- visit history

Do like the locals and stay out of the tourist traps! Captions are links.

One of the things I like to do when visiting is check out lots of old stuff- buildings, restaurants, neighborhoods. Most of the time I just drive around but since L.A. is so huge, you can check out some of the local historical societies for guidance. Then of course, you’ll want to eat and drink, so I’ve included some ideas on where to do that.

Glendale Historical Society

Los Angeles Historical Society

Pasadena Museum Of History

Burbank Historical Society

Mid Century Modern Glendale Federal Building

Mid Century Modern Glendale Federal Building

vintage window decorations

A vintage window decoration at what’s currently a Sprint store on California and Brand in Glendale

Go visit the upscale shopping center Americana At Brand, where there’s a new Nordstrom and a new Bloomingdales next door at the Galleria. See a movie, check out the Mac store, or just have a coffee and walk around. I don’t usually approve of the destruction of all the old buildings they did to put this thing up, but downtown Glendale was pretty far gone and this is a big improvement.

Then you can go to Pasadena for more shopping, visit the Norton Simon Museum, which is small enough to explore in a couple hours but holds a ton of great art.

Do some shopping in OId Town. Old Town is a great example of restoring and reusing the old buildings instead of just tearing them down and putting in a mall.

old town, pasadena, ca

Old Town Pasadena

cassell's burgers, los angeles

So vintage! Cassell’s Burgers at 3266 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020 So vintage, they don’t have a website!

cassell's, los angeles

Old Fashioned burgers at Cassell’s, Los Angeles

Fun vintagey decor at Cassell's

Fun vintagey decor at Cassell’s

Pick what you want at Cassell's

Pick what you want at Cassell’s

No, that's not an egg, it's a peach! Love the nostalgic food at Cassell's

No, that’s not an egg, it’s a peach! Love the nostalgic food at Cassell’s

I’m sure you all know some cool out of the way spots in the L.A. area, so be sure to let me know about them in the comments!

Portuguese wine

I’ve been hearing about Portuguese wines a lot lately, so I thought I’d try one. I didn’t realize that the things I was reading were referring mostly to white wines. I prefer red wine, so when I saw a Casal Garcia Vinho Tinto the other day I bought it. I can see why they only talk about white wines. After doing some research, I guess Portugal is known for its white wines (along with Port wine, duh!). Apparently this red wine is considered pretty low end among the Portuguese people. It’s very dry and a tiny bit  vinegary. I found a good review of it after I bought it, so I was hopeful- I didn’t think it was that great, but I’m glad I tried it. Anyhow, I’m sure I’ll find a way to finish off the bottle (it will probably improve after a couple glasses). There were a few other Portuguese reds and a whole bunch of whites at the store I got this, so I haven’t given up on the Portuguese wines yet!

casal garcia vinho tinto


casal garcia vinho tinto

Lincoln Park Zoo holiday lights are still on!

Before Christmas we went over to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see all their holiday lights. It was super pretty- you should go! They’ll be on from 5-9pm through Sunday January 6th, so you didn’t miss them. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be, just lively. So don’t worry about that. And, as always, it’s free to get in.

Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Lights

Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Lights

Thousands of holiday lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Thousands of holiday lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Not thousands of lights, millions of lights!

Not thousands of lights, millions of lights!

Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Lights

Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Lights

You can buy hot chocolate and mulled wine at the zoo. Yum!

You can buy hot chocolate and mulled wine at the zoo. Yum!

Even The Dange had fun!

Even The Dange had fun!

You can also check out the animals- the big cats are especially fun to watch prowl around in the darkness.