Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival kicks off the holiday season in Chicago and is similar to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. The difference is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is held the weekend before Thanksgiving. The parade, which ends in a tree-lighting ceremony, is in the evening, followed by a stunning fireworks show over the Chicago River. The festival has plenty of fun activities for the kids and great shopping for adults!
I have always wanted to visit Germany during the holiday season to see the Christmas markets, but Christkindlmarket in Chicago is the next best thing! I’ve been told by Germans that Christkindlmarket is exactly like the markets in Germany. Most of the vendors actually fly in from Germany for the market. I love the unique, hand-crafted items, amazing German food, and, of course, the mulled wine.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
I love visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo any time of the year because it’s free, but it’s even better during ZooLights. Just like on regular days, the entrance is free. It’s so fun to look at all the gorgeous lights and enjoy the light shows while drinking some delicious mulled wine. One of my favorite parts was watching sculptors make amazing ice sculptures. Don’t forget to stop by the gorilla house on the way home to watch them go to sleep!
See the windows at Macy’s on State Street
The Macy’s on State Street is famous for its gorgeous Christmas displays, and they are worth seeing. My favorite last year was the blue mythological window.
Eat at the Walnut Room
Eating at the Walnut Room with the giant Christmas tree was high on my holiday season list, and it turned out to be one of my favorite things we did during the holiday season in Chicago. Click here for a full guide to the Walnut Room.
Go Ice Skating
Ice Skating at the rink in Millennium Park is a perfect holiday season activity. The park is gorgeous during the holidays and has a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens the same day as the tree lighting ceremony.
Christmas Around the World at The Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry is always worth visiting, but it is even better during the holiday season when they have their “Christmas Around the World” exhibit. It features over 50 Christmas trees, each one decorated with holiday traditions from a different country. The trees were beautiful, and I loved seeing all the traditions from other countries.
Have you ever been to Chicago during the holiday season?