This is my favorite time of year in Chicago — It’s absolutely breathtaking. Many of us are caught up in the holiday hustle & bustle, trying to get that holiday shopping completed. Luckily, Chicago has a long list of free winter activities that’ll soothe your soul! Whether it’s Ice-skating at the iconic Millennium Park, or checking out the Macy’s windows (Charlie Brown this year!) — There’s no shortage of fun here, and it’s all family-fun approved. Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite Chicago winter activities that’ll get you in the holiday-spirit, and make your season bright!
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Outfit details: I’ve teamed up with Boohoo to share a fun look! I wanted to get into the holiday spirit around town, so ventured out to Giuliana Rancic’s hood for some festive fun! (The homes are so dreamy) & the decor is stunning! Ah, red bows, and glitter — the perfect pair! I immediately fell in love with this aztec jacket (perfect for those warmer winters elsewhere; but works well in an office-setting too!)
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Also: Make sure to check-out my Chicago picks in the holiday e-mag! I’m such a sucker for this city! #MidwestIsBest (what can I say!)
CHICAGO WINTER ACTIVITIES 2015
Christkindlmarket | Daley Plaza: Chicago’s largest market is a must-visit for locals, and tourists! Inspired by Germany (a market that started in 1545, holy cow!) the market features handmade ornaments, nutcrackers, wooden handcrafts, & authentic food. Let’s talk about the food — potato pancakes, pretzels, waffles, brats, spiced wine & so much more. It’s filled with twinkling lights, holiday spirit & fun! Oh, did I mention it’s free? Make sure to check it out!
Zoolights | Lincoln Park Zoo | My favorite of the list! Located at the iconic Lincoln Park Zoo, you’ll find a few furry friends while you take in the scenery. Lights on lights on lights, including light shows (that move to the music) — it’s so dreamy! Also: the first 1000 people through the gates each night receive a cool pair of glasses to view the lights with. Also enjoy hot beverages, ice-skating & ice-carving demonstrations. It’s a must-go, and guess what — all free! (Parking is additional)
Winter wonderFest | Navy Pier: Navy Pier’s annual tradition winter carnival includes mini-golf, snow tubing, toboggan tunnel & carnival rides. Kids can decorate cookies, visit with Santa & create memories that will last a lifetime! (ha, sounds so cheesy — but, it’s a super fun family activity) PS: this isn’t free but has a ton of new rides & attractions (view them here)
Macy’s | Macy’s on State Street: It isn’t Christmas until you visit the iconic Walnut Room for dinner, and a snapshot! Fairies (yes, fairies) walk around, and grant your wishes while you eat! Also: Make sure to visit Santa-land (even if you don’t plan to visit him, aka: me) — It’ll make you feel like a kid again as you explore the adorable land of (you guessed it!) Santa! (I know him, OMG!) I honestly feel like I’m in the movie, Elf, every time I go. It gets you in the holiday spirit! My fiancé and I had an absolute blast last weekend, definitely recommend!
Ice-skating | Millennium Park: For my fellow non-skaters; this is for you too! What better way to soak up the scenery than ice-skating with friends behind iconic skyline, and bean. It’s such a beautiful experience, and it’s right next-door to my house! I enjoy people watching, too (Or, laughing at the people who fall — am I going to hell?!) Truly, one of my favorite things to do! Ah, I’ve said this for each thing! I can’t pick a favorite.
Nutcracker | Joffrey Ballet: Enjoy a night with the Joffrey Ballet — ugh, such a magical show! It gets better every year, I swear. (PS: Tickets are pricey, but worth the bills!)
A Christmas Carol | Goodman: A great way to support local theater, head to ‘A Christmas Carol’ — I went for the first time last year, and it was incredible. You’ll leave the theater with a new perspective on the holidays, and that’s a plus!
Christmas Around the World | Museum of Science and Industry: View more than 50 trees and displays at the museum from all around the world! Each tree is decorated by Chicago’s volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities representing diversity, culture and holiday customs. My favorite part: the school groups that perform during the week — they sing, & dance to create memorable performances. It’s such a fun time, and you’ll get a little smarter! Oh, and who doesn’t want to see a bunch of beautiful Christmas trees?
Sauced Night Market | Logan Square: Eats, and shopping! What can be better than that? I’ll tell you what: Local eats and shopping. Support your neighbors, sip on some brews, and get your last minute gifts in. Did I mention amazing food? Just checking…
One of a Kind Show | Merchandise Mart: 4-days, 600+ artists from around the country — Clothes, bomb-ass food, hand painted ceramic mugs, hand-made everything. It’s such a fun experience, and I recommend taking a few of your best gal pals for the cherry on top! Last year, I got some adorable Chicago onesies for mama-to-be’s — and they were quite the hit of the party! Just saying…