Quintessential Guide to Christmas in Chicago

Christmas in the city. There’s something special about it. Lights adorn every corner and merriment fills the air. Each winter, Chicago hosts a number of longstanding traditions for visitors and locals alike. So, if you’re looking to feel the Christmas spirit: We’ve got you covered. Scroll below for our “holiday bucket list,” if you will.


Top 10 things to do for Christmastime in Chicago…



One of Chicago’s premier winter events, Christkindlmarket is a traditional German holiday market held at Daley Plaza.

Holiday tea

Indulge in formal tea, served extra special for the holidays at luxury locations like The Drake and The Peninsula.

Catch a live performance

Now’s the time to see a seasonal live performance, like The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.

Macy’s Christmas windows

For some of us, it will always be Marshall Field’s — but stop by to see the festive window displays at Macy’s State Street.


Each December, Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland full of colorful lights that are free for all to enjoy.

Wrigley Building

Stroll along Michigan Avenue and pause at the Wrigley Building to marvel at the grand Christmas tree and decor.

CTA holiday train

Whether you plan ahead to ride the decked-out train, or you catch it by chance: riding the holiday CTA is $2.25 fare well spent.

Watch a classic flick

A handful of Chicago theaters screen Christmas classic, like Home Alone, at ArcLight Cinema and Regal Webster Place.

Ice skating

Grab some skates and hit the ice one of Chicago’s many ice rinks, like at Millennium Park or Maggie Daley Park.

Walnut Room

A Chicago tradition since 1907, The Walnut Room at Macy’s is a festive destination for visitors and locals alike.


What’s your favorite holiday tradition in Chicago?



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10 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Chicago

Fall is officially here — and so are the seasonal activities, like apple picking, cider sipping, and sight seeing.  Looking for fall activities locally in Chicago?  We’ve got a round-up of things to do, see and enjoy this autumn season — many free of cost.


Check out these 10 ways to celebrate fall in Chicago:


Chicago BeerHoptacular

BeerHoptacular is Chicago’s original craft beer festival with over 150 craft beers, now in its seventh annual celebration on November 4.

Fall foliage at Millennium Park

Don’t miss the changing leaves against the city skyline at Millennium Park, where you’ll find 24+ acres filled with vibrant elms, hawthorns and maples.  Millennium Park

Bucktown Apple Pie Festival

Treat your sweet tooth on October 15 at the Bucktown Apple Pie Festival, where you can expect live music, raffles, activities for kids… and lots of apple pie.

Take a seasonal cooking class

Put your cooking skills to the test at Chopping Block, now offering seasonal cooking classes like: autumn soups and stews, wine harvest dinner, and fall dinner party.

Loews Chicago Harvest Fest

Now in its third year, the rooftop terrace at the Loews hotel will transform into a fall pumpkin patch and biergärten on October 14. Admission is free. Loews Chicago Harvest Fest

The Massacre Horror Movie Marathon

For you movie junkies, catch a slasher flick (or two) at Patio Theatre, playing a 24-hour horror movie marathon.  Massacre Horror Movie Marathon

Chicago Haunted Tours

Chicago has its fair share of haunted landmarks and eerie history. At your risk, take a Chicago Ghost Tour or a Chicago Hauntings Tour.

Trick or Treat on Southport

Great for the kiddos, visit Chicago’s Southport Corridor neighborhood for trick-or-treating on October 30 from 4PM – 8PM.  Trick or Treat on Southport

Dylan’s Candy Bar

Just because you’re ages past trick-or-treating, you can still get your candy fix. Visit Dylan’s on Michigan Avenue for a vast array of sweets.  Dylan’s Candy Bar

Tailgate at Soldier Field

Fall and football is a natural pairing, right? Catch a Bears game at Soldier Field, or partake in pre-game festivities with a tailgate.  Soldier Field



What’s your favorite fall activity?



Feature image by: Julia Engel




Watch Chicago Air & Water Show Like a Local

Get ready, Chicago. The Air & Water Show is returning this weekend: Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20.

A summer tradition since 1959, the Chicago Air & Water Show showcases a spectacle of performances — including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights this year. The event will take place Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am – 3:00pm both days. Perhaps the best view would be from your own rooftop or personal boat, but rest assured there are plenty of amazing spots to catch the show for all to enjoy.

Here are 8 spots to watch Chicago Air & Water Show like a local:


Oakwood Beach

Chicago’s south side provides some of the best views of our city’s skyline. Escape the crowds and head to Oakwood Beach to catch the jets zipping around and looping back up toward North Ave. (Oakwood Beach, 4100 S. Lake Shore Drive)

Café Brauer

Grab a patio seat at Café Brauer. Located just south of Lincoln Park Zoo, the patio is offering an Air & Water Show special: a blue cheese burger, side of fries and domestic bottled beer for $15.95. (Café Brauer, 2021 N. Stockton Drive)

Montrose Harbor

On the city’s north side, Montrose Harbor provides a popular spot to catch the show. Visitors can play volleyball, bask under an umbrella on the beach, and bring their pups to a fenced-off dog friendly area. (Montrose Beach, 4400 N. Lake Shore Drive)


The chic 18th-floor bar of the Raffaello Hotel in Gold Coast offers a hip spot to post up. Mixologists at Drumbar serve specialty craft cocktails like “Aviation,” “Sidecar”  and “Mexican Firing Squad.” (Drumbar, 201 E. Delaware Place)

Northerly Island

Northerly Island is transforming into an urban oasis, providing green space, wetlands, hiking trails and places to camp. Add Northerly Island to one of the best spots to enjoy and view the show. (Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Drive)

Wendella Boat

Take the Wendella Lake and River Tour, which highlights landmarks along the Chicago River and will give ample viewing from Lake Michigan. The tour lasts 90 minutes and costs $35.50 for adults. (Wendella, 400 N. Michigan Avenue)


Cindy’s rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel offers panoramic views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan, making this spot ideal for watching the Blue Angel jets. (Cindy’s, 12 S. Michigan Avenue)

Shore Club

New for 2017, Shore Club is like the classy older sister of Castaways. Shore Club offers brunch from 9am to noon and a premium open bar, with premium outdoor space to lounge on cabanas. Tickets range from $125 to $750. (Shore Club, 1603 N. Lakeshore Drive)


Where do you want to catch the show this year?