There is no doubt that I picked my fourth year externships strategically- that is, to spend the winter quarter in the best city in the world, Chicago. This city affords its inhabitants and the tourists who travel from near and far many opportunities to gain that intrinsic holiday cheer. I’ve listed my favorites below!
- The ChrisKindlmarket – A realtime German town display located right in the center of downtown Chicago. In this market, you’ll find spiced wine (yum!), creamy hot chocolate, and the most intricate handcrafted German ornaments to see. Admission is free!
- Lincoln Park Zoo Lights – Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo’s animals while they, too, are celebrating the magic of the holidays. The Zoo is decked from tree top down, and it’s truly a winter wonderland. You can enjoy tasty treats and a cold beer here, too!
- Holiday Tea at the Drake Hotel – One of my absolute favorite things to do is get a little dolled up and enjoy tea and pastries in one of Chicago’s premier hotels. It reminds me of The Plaza from the movie Home Alone 2, and I think that’s what draws me to it.
- The Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker – It is an annual tradition of mine to go see The Nutcracker at the auditorium theatre. There’s something really magical about having a tradition to look forward to every year, especially one so beautifully displayed for holiday cheer.
- Old Town Social – I know what you’re thinking- this one kind of seems out of place. However, I can say with personal experience that I enjoyed a bottle of champagne with friends on a Tuesday night in one of Old Town’s favorite bars. It was enchanting, with Christmas lights from wall to wall and live Christmas music. I will make it a point to do this again next holiday season!
- Ice skating in Millennium Park – Put on ice skates and glide right in front of Chicago’s famed Cloud Gate (the Bean!) Or, skate along Maggie Daley’s ribbon. I’m no expert, but I love being right in the heart of the city.
- Holiday Shopping on Mag Mile – The hustle and bustle is REAL on Michigan Ave. Feel the crisp Chicago air while strolling along the iconic Magnificent Mile. I love seeing all of the stores lit up with their holiday décor, and purchasing a present or two (or 20.)
- Lunch at the Walnut Room – You’ll find this gem in the beloved Chicago Macy’s location. Enjoy holiday music and a cocktail while sitting next two one of the most magical Christmas trees in the area.
- Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest – A great place to spend a little bit of time on one of Chicago’s famous landmarks, Navy Pier. This is a sweet festival decorated to suit the holidays. The new ferris wheel is up and running, to boot!