Whether you marvel at the beauty of nature in winter, enjoy basking in the holiday spirit, or you simply whisk from store to store with bags full of goodies, there are plenty of ways to celebrate winter and the holidays in downtown Chicago! We’ve compiled some of the best and most spectacular here:
1. Skating at Millennium Park – the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is right downtown in Millennium Park and whenever open (weather permitting) you can skate here for free, though renting skates does cost $10. Still, for an outdoor skating experience in the heart of a major city, you can’t beat Millennium Park. This attraction has broad appeal: perfect for kids, adults, dates, groups, and hey, even solo time if you’re going for that lone figure skater vibe.
2. Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier – located indoors, this is a nice respite from the weather while still getting to enjoy a lot of holiday fun. This attraction, primarily for children, brings the holidays to life with costumed characters, inflatable rides, Christmas décor, ice skating, live music, carnival rides and plenty of food! Just be careful about mixing the last two together. (For a photo preview of Winter Wonderfest, see our Facebook photo album here.)
3. Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza – this is an open-air European-style Christmas market and an iconic Chicago attraction. You can find traditional German crafts, gifts, and food, including tons of delicious pastries and sweets. The rich holiday atmosphere is sure to get you in the spirit of the season. Tip: Grab a glass of Glühwein (pronounced “glue-vine”) to keep you warm while you shop, and afterward you can take your boot-shaped mug home as a souvenir!
4. Magnificent Mile Shopping – the Holiday Season is an especially good time to shop on Michigan Avenue, just blocks from our downtown hotel in River North. Not only do you need to find gifts, but the shops have plenty of great specials to get you in the doors. And with so many stores, you could literally shop until you drop…though we don’t recommend that.
5. Winter Wonderland in John Hancock Observatory – Not to be confused with Winter Wonderfest, Winter Wonderland is also indoors, but has a decidedly different feel. It promises fun for the whole family with holiday decorations, Chicago’s largest model train exhibit, and even regular appearances from Santa! It’s a great place to take young kids, so be sure to bring your camera!
Ready to experience all Chicago has to offer during the holidays? Book your room now at Best Western Plus River North Hotel, the only downtown hotel in Chicago with FREE PARKING.