This time of year is magical. The carolers sing about it – The Most Wonderful Time of the Year; It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas; Happy Holidays and on and on. If you couple those timeless favorites with Frank Sinatra’s My Kind of Town, an image of Chicago at this time of year comes alive. From mid-November on, there is a twinkle to the city that takes over; the bustle in the air, the excitement of busy visitors and opportunities for all senses to experience the holiday magic of the city.
Chicago offers many holiday traditions that have been part of the city’s culture for decades – allowing you to literally walk in the shoes of your parents, grandparents and maybe even great grandparents. Chicago has a unique way of blending old and new, from its architecture to its attractions. What’s more, each year new places and events show up on the “holiday must see” list, ensuring that there is always something fun and interesting to see or do!
The Walnut Room at Macy’s on State Street, opened in 1905, and continues to be a symbol of holiday decadence, with its special holiday décor and menu and elegant tree. Still featuring the original Mrs. Hering’s chicken pot pie on the menu, it is a destination for theater goers, holiday shoppers and a rich tradition for many Chicago natives.
Just blocks away in Daley Plaza, the Christkindlmarket brings a piece of German and European holiday traditions to Chicago. A tradition that goes back to 1545 in Germany, the market marks its 23rd year in Chicago. Enjoy the warm scents and flavors of strudel and potato pancakes, as you browse the selection of souvenirs and take in the décor of the Plaza.
During the holidays, many local establishments pull out all the stops to share their holiday cheer. Long time local favorite, Butch McGuire’s is a must see for many Chicagoans, and now combines its holiday decoration traditions with support for a local charity. You can even buy a commemorative Butch McGuire ornament which also supports their chosen charity.
Aside from all of the year round businesses decking their halls for the holidays, Chicago now plays home to a niche market of pop-up bars. The holiday pop-up bars come around just for the season and are themed in food, décor and drink. Located throughout the city, and inspired by holiday favorites such as “A Christmas Story” and “Frosty” some even offer viewing of holiday movies. Don’t wait long though, they’ll be gone once the holidays have passed.
In addition to the great flavors and libations, there is never a shortage of fun activities!
Regardless of weather, even the novice ice skater can enjoy time on the rink. There are indoor and outdoor rinks located around the city. In the Loop, Maggie Daley Park’s Skating Ribbon and the Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink offer beautiful outdoor skating with the city’s scenic skyline as a backdrop. If the weather outside is frightful, though, head over to Navy Pier, where the Winter Wonderfest features an indoor rink, sheltered from the cold and elements of the Chicago winter.
Be sure to take in the Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry. This holiday exhibit of more than 50 trees and displays, adorned with decorations from around the world, began in 1942 with a single tree.
There is an extra magical glow that comes out in the city after dark. The holiday lights sparkle all around, from the Magnificent Mile to Lincoln Park Zoo to the city’s skyscrapers. The twinkle from the lights is truly breathtaking. While you can view the lights as you walk or drive the city, there is a new way to experience the lights.
Vertiport Chicago VIP Helicopter Tours offers the Holiday Lights tours for an unparalleled view of the lights from up above and within the skyline. Get a view of the lights from a vantage point high above the holiday crowds on a 15 minute private helicopter tour for 4, complete with hot cocoa, candy canes and epic views of the holiday decorations. For more information, call Vertiport at 877-902-9292 Ext.1 or visit the web site. Holiday Lights Tours run through January 6, 2019 so book yours today.
Happy Holidays and enjoy all the city of Chicago offers this season!