Christmas in Chicago Image: danperry.com (flickr)
Christmas 2016 in Chicago isn't just a one-day celebration. This largest city in the Midwest gets into the festive spirit starting in late November, and the fun doesn't stop until early January. The Tree Lighting Ceremony at Daley Plaza kicks things off, and it is followed one day later by the popular Chicago Christmas Parade. This Mickey Mouse-hosted parade follows along Michigan Avenue and marks the start of the city's holiday shopping season. Many shops along the famed Magnificent Mile route already have their seasonal window displays in place when the Chicago Christmas Parade rolls around, and the entire area is alive with activities, demonstrations, and plenty of live entertainment.
If you can't make it to Chicago for the 2016 Tree Lighting Ceremony at Daley Plaza or the Chicago Christmas Parade, you won't miss all the holiday season fun. The tree remains in its central Loop location throughout the month of December, and just steps away is a lovely Chicago Christmas Market that is open daily from November 24 to December 24. This market, which is akin to the Christmas market in downtown Denver, has a German theme and is set on Daley Plaza. When visitors aren't shopping for interesting handicrafts at the Chicago Christmas Market, or the Christkindlmarket, as it is also known, they can treat themselves to some traditional German food. Age allowing, they can also indulge in some German beer or some warming spiced wine. This is the largest market of its kind in the country, but admission is free.
When it's Christmas in Chicago, many area residents and visitors alike make it a point to enjoy the Zoolights Festival. Held at the Lincoln Park Zoo, this late-November to mid-December event sees the zoo's grounds decked out in holiday season displays. Many of the light displays feature animals, thus keeping with the zoo theme. During the holiday season, Chicago tours that revolve around the city's many light displays can be arranged, so you might keep that in mind when looking for things to do. The Zoolights Festival display is arguably the best of the Chicago light displays, however, and worth noting is the fact that it doesn't cost anything to enjoy.
Celebrating Christmas in Chicago can involve many wonderful things to do. You can drop by Navy Pier to enjoy the rides, the ice skating rink, and the all around festive atmosphere, for example, and Millennium Park also offers up its fair share of holiday season bliss. When you get hungry and want to enjoy a special holiday season meal, dining at the Walnut Room can be especially rewarding. The Walnut Room, for those who might not know, can be found at Macy's on State Street. Dining there during the holiday season has long been a Chicago tradition, and for good reason. The food is excellent and the Christmas tree spectacular.
Top image: goatling (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0