5 Favorite Holiday Activities in Chicago

Celebrating the holidays in a big city feels just as magical as it looks in the movies.

The bright lights, huge Christmas trees, and streets filled with people shopping are just a few things that make the environment incomparable. Chicago is one of my favorite places to be during the holidays. There are endless activities available for people looking to have a “winter day.”

Here are 5 of my favorite things to do in Chicago this time of year:


1. Christkindlmarket

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If you’re looking for something to do that will make you feel like you are in a Christmas village like the ones in the movies, this is the spot for you. The Christkindlmarket is a perfect activity for all ages, and admission is free. There are various German food options, such as pretzels, brats, roasted nuts, and many other amazing choices. In addition, there are plenty of little shops that sell holiday decorations. My favorite part of the Christkindlmarket is the hot chocolate which comes in a souvenir mug, which I have ended up collecting over the years.


2. Ice Skating

                              via Google

This is one of the most popular winter activities if you are coordinated enough, lol. There are two main ice skating rinks in Downtown Chicago, so you can choose which you prefer. Maggie Daley Park has an ice skating ribbon, rather than a traditional rink at McCormick Tribune Plaza near Millennium Park. I personally prefer the Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon because it’s kind of like a lazy river shape, so you aren’t just taking laps around a rink the whole time.


3. Lincoln Park ZooLights

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This is an activity that I have not yet done, but hope to do this year. It’s one of the most talked about winter activities to do in Chicago. The ZooLights are up from the end of November to the beginning of January, so you have plenty of time to go see them. This activity is free admission and is family-friendly. To get more information about their special event nights, check out https://www.lpzoo.org/zoolights-presented-comed-and-invesco-qqq.


4. Macy’s Walnut Room

                              via Google

This might be one of Chicago’s greatest holiday traditions. The world famous Walnut Room is the perfect, most magical setting for a classic Christmas meal. Fun fact: It was the first restaurant to open in a department store. If you have other dinner plans, you should at least stop by to see The Great Tree which stands at 45-feet-tall and can be seen without entering the restaurant.


5. Magnificent Mile Lights Parade

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Although this event usually runs in November, it’s the perfect activity to kick-off the holiday spirit. This activity is perfect for families, but I will warn you that the streets get EXTREMELY crowded. The parade has over one million lights and is led by crowd favorites, such as Mickey Mouse and Santa Clause. So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t think it’s ever too early for Christmas, this might be the perfect event for you.


Although these are just a few of the holiday activities Chicago has to offer, they hold some of my greatest memories. Happy Holidays!