After a long interlude, I now have another guest post to share from one of my Team members. This post comes from John Costa, our team’s Director of Marketing. While John spends his days spearheading the print and online marketing of our client’s properties, today, he’s offering up some advice on how to make the most of Christmas in Chicago.

The Holidays in Chicago

Lights on palmetto trees. Playing a quick nine holes of golf. Wearing shorts in December. While this was Christmas as usual for me when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, it didn’t feel truly like the holiday season to a New Jersey native such as me. So, when I moved to Chicago two years ago, I looked forward to enjoying “Northern” Christmases once again.

With so many holiday offerings in the city, I thought it would be helpful to provide a short list of some of the best ways to take in the season in Chicago. Here’s my picks:

“A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre

Now through Dec. 30
Tuesday & Thursday 7:30 p.m.
Friday 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 2:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Price: $15-70
Contact: (312) 443-3800

A true Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has become a definitative party of the holiday. An immediate hit when it was published in 1843, it was said to even have haulted the decline of old Christmas traditions at the time. For me, the holiday is not complete without experiencing this treasure, and the performance at the Goodman Theatre offers just such an opportunity.

Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Now through Jan. 4
Closed Dec. 24 and 25
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Price: Free

This is an opportunity to experience the Lincoln Park Zoo in a unique way – illuminated on a winter night with over two million Christmas lights. Ice carving demonstrations, children’s activities, visits with Santa, and spiced wine and other refreshments means there’s something for everyone. Bundle up, and enjoy this holiday treat.

Big Trees and Big Fun

When you live in a big city, you expect everything to be larger than life, and here in Chicago, the Christmas trees are no exception. Here are three Chicago trees that will put your living room centerpieces to shame.

Tree at Daley Plaza

This beautifully lit giant tree is actually composed of 130 individual Christmas trees. Huge snowflake ornaments and 9,000 LED lights adorn this 90-foot masterpiece.

While at Daley Plaza, be sure to check out the Christkindlmarket. Inspired by the market of the same name in Nuremburg, Germany, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket has become a mainstay of the Chicago holiday season. The market offers a unique shopping experience featuring traditional German crafts and food such as nutcrackers, beer steins, Hummel figurines, and ornaments as well as bratwursts, spiced wine, gingerbread, and German chocolates. It’s all a great taste (literally and figuratively) of Christmas from the Old Country.

The Great Tree at Macy’s on State Street

For those who prefer to view their mammoth Christmas trees in a more hospitable climate, head to the Walnut Room on the 7th floor of Macy’s on State Street. Here, the spectacular 45-foot Great Tree holds center stage in the atrium and is decorated with 25,000 lights and ornaments from the Great Trees of the past.

And while at Macy’s, you can check out the iconic window displays outside on State Street. These mechanical dioramas have captivated Chicagoans for years and have spawned an annual pilgrimage here.

The Tree at the John Hancock Center

I am fortunate enough to view this particular tree every weekday as our offices are here in the Hancock Center. Every year, I get to watch as the tree is delivered and the decorations are applied. I can even hear the lighting ceremony from 20 stories up as I work. I’ll confess that as I hear the crowd begin the countdown, I dash over to the window to catch a glimpse of the tree’s first lighting.

While at the Hancock Center, be sure to go to the concourse level lobby and check out the 15th Annual Hancock Mountain Railroad. This miniature railroad features 12 trains that traverse through a breathtaking 1,400 square foot winter mountainside. And of course, if you haven’t before, be sure to visit the observatory where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the snow-covered city.

Want More?

Still looking for more Chicago holiday outings? Check out Metromix’s Chicago’s holiday guide.

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