Next week marks the beginning of the holiday season and Chicago is a magical place to be. Last year was our first in the city so we sampled only a handful of activities, leaving much to accomplish for this year. A problem I can happily attend to! I wanted to compile a list of our favorite activities and add new ones too, because there's simply not enough time to get everything done but we will try to knock things off our list one day at a time.
Saturday, November 23
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival - (To-do)
Kiddos are looking forward to the parade marshaled by Mickey and Mini Mouse and the fireworks over the Chicago River. I'm looking forward to seeing Mario Lopez and rocking to Debbie Gibson singing "Only in My Dreams" like I did when I was ten.
Tuesday, November 26
Christkindlmarket Tree Lighting - (Done)
It's the 100th anniversary of the Daley Plaza tree being lit in the heart of the Christkindlmarket market (which is quite a holiday treat on it's own, as it's inspired by Nuremberg market started in 1545). Friends might remember that my eleven-year-old son Jay has been working the market since 2010. I remember the chicken schnitzel and the smoked pork loin. Yum!
Thursday, November 28
McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade - (To-do)
A parade on State street being televised to 75 million households is surely not to be missed. I'm dragging my kiddos out of bed to be a part of it!
November 29th - January 5th
Wonderland Express at Chicago's Botanical Gardens - (Done)
Truly a magical time - imagine all of Chicago's famous landmarks downsized into miniature sizes, around a toy train. Not only that but everything, besides the train, is made from elements of nature. My kiddos could have spent hours identifying all the items used to build a pint sized Wrigley Field. Ah-mazing.
November 29th - January 5th
Zoo Lights - (Done)
You guys.... a free zoo offering free family fun. The last time we went, we saw live ice sculptures in the making and my kiddos were amazed. The lights around the zoo were spectacular and new to the zoo this year is ice skating at the Farm-in-the-zoo.
November 14th - January 5th
Christmas Around the World - (Done)
It's no secret that we adore the Museum of Science and Industry - probably because it's the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere, and we still can't get through it all. But the holiday season is extra special at the museum because it's their 72nd annual "Christmas Around the World" - imagine hundreds of Christmas trees, from around the world, dressed in tradition.
November 26th - December 15
Elf the Musical - (To-do)
Broadway in Chicago presents this musical and it's recommended for kiddos ages four and up, so we are giving it a chance. We bought really cheap tickets and it's our first family outing to a Broadway show. I think we are going to have fun!
Friday, December 6
Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millenium Park - (To-do)
A holiday sing-along gathered around the Bean featuring Chicago's Children's Choir. I've started playing Christmas music in my car in preparation to sing along.
Polar Express - (To-do)
Nearly every single town in the Chicagoland area is hosting their own Polar Express aboard Metra trains - there's no reason to travel far.
Chicago Park District - (To-do)
This impressive line-up is full of family friendly activities ranging from movie nights to breakfasts with Santa, sprinkled all throughout the city. I'm especially interested in the winter solstice event at North Park Village Nature Center where they will be roasting chestnuts over an open fire.
December 6th - 28th
Joffrey Ballet, The Nutcracker - (Done)
I've pinched pennies to afford this and I will continue doing so. Nothing more magical.
Build your own gingerbread house at the Art Institute - (To-do)
The Art Institute has a long list of holiday events but this one sounds extra sweet.
Through January 5th
Walnut Room - (To-do)
Apparently this is the go-to-brunch where kiddos get to meet the real Santa of Macy's, or as I like to call it The Marshall Field's Where I Purchased My Wedding Dress. There are characters to meet while dining and afterwards a stroll down the street to see the infamous window displays is a must.
Through March 9th, 2014
Millennium Park Ice Skating - (To-do)
Free and open to the public, need I say more. We are lacing up our skates tonight.
Theatre in Chicago
Here's a list of 40 and more holiday plays around the Chicagoland area. Sounds like the husband and I must plan a trip to Second City for a date night!
I know that we are missing out on hundreds of local Chicago holiday activities, if you want to share, please do! We love nothing more then exploring new places. What should we add to our radar?