Chicago, Illinois is the Mid-west’s hub of culture, entertainment, music, commerce, and world-class attractions. During the holiday season, Chicago becomes a winter wonderland of festivity and cheer. You’ll find streets and attractions decked out in holiday lights and décor, unique holiday markets, outdoor ice skating rinks, exceptional seasonal performances, and much more. A little cold weather doesn’t deter Chicago from celebrating the holiday season, and it shouldn’t deter you either! The holiday season is one of the best times to visit Chicago, and here’s why:
Christmas Around the World at Museum of Science & Industry
Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry is the largest science museum in the entire Western hemisphere, and it was recently voted one of the Top 25 Museums in the United States by Trip Advisor. While a trip to one of the most renowned Chicago attractions is always a treat, it’s especially delightful during the holiday season when the Museum features its annual presentation of Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights, which is included in museum admission. The highlight of this wintery scene is the Museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree surrounded by over 50 smaller trees that are decorated to represent Chicago’s many diverse ethnic communities. As you stroll through the exhibit, complete with falling “snow,” you’ll also enjoy special holiday performances by local choral and dance groups on the Holiday Stage.
Ice Skating in Millennium Park
The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink brings the joy of outdoor skating to Millennium Park for free seasonal fun. There couldn’t be a better setting for an ice rink: Chicago’s impressive Michigan Avenue skyline towers in the background, the park’s bean-shaped Cloud Gate reflects the city and the sky above from all angles, and impressively landscaped park is adorned in lights and decorations for the holidays. This must be why nearly 100,000 people visit the ice rink annually! So dress warmly, find a skating partner, and hit the rink!
Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo
It’s hard to believe that a zoo just minutes from Chicago could feature a wildlife haven home to hundreds of exotic animals from around the world. However, that’s just what the Lincoln Park Zoo does! During the holiday season, the Lincoln Park Zoo is known for its annual holiday spectacular, Zoo Lights. This year, you’ll take a new route around the park as you gaze at the impressive and ultra-colorful light displays. You can also take part in free holiday crafts, photos with Santa Claus, Animal Encounters, holiday gift shopping, live ice carving events, carousel and train rides, and a musical light show. Warm mulled wine, frosty lagers, delightful dinners, and holiday snacks are also available. It’s one of the best holiday Chicago attractions for the whole family.
Each year during the holiday season, Daley Plaza transforms for four weeks into the home of Christkindlmarket Chicago, a festival that celebrates Chicago’s strong Germanic roots. In popular German mythology, the Christkind is a fairy-like being with long golden hair who is the bearer of Christmas gifts. This festival in her honor features quintessential German food and drinks and a totally unique shopping experience. You’ll find the perfect German product for someone on your list, whether it’s a nutcracker, a cuckoo clock, a beer stein, or a beautiful hand-blown and painted ornament to hang on the Christmas tree!
Tours of the Holiday Lights
Looking for an idyllic family holiday activity? Take a tour of Chicago when it is glowing with holiday lights. A North Side Tour will offer you the opportunity to sit back and relax while you make your way through Chicago’s most popular landmarks, like the Wrigley Building, the Magnificent Mile (a delight during the holidays), Water Tower Place, the John Hancock Tower, and Lincoln Park. The North Side is the most densely populated residential section of the city, and you’ll see beautiful homes illuminated with classic light displays.
If you’re spending some time in Chicago this holiday season, you should check out our Chicago Holiday Attractions package, which guarantees 29% off admission to the Museum of Science and Industry, the North Side Tour by Gray Line, and the Lincoln Park Zoo. This is also a great pass for locals, as you have 30 days to visit these Chicago attractions.
Chicago is a paradise for those who love getting into the holiday spirit, so don’t miss out!