A Day Of Holiday Fun In The Windy City
Illinois’ great city on the lake has plenty to offer throughout the year and in the winter season, Chicago still offers much holiday cheer for the tourist.
Chicago is a beautiful city at any time of the year but the Christmas season is a great time to take in the downtown area all in one day and enjoy the season. There is holiday fun going on and sights to see throughout the downtown area.
START YOUR TOUR AT A MUSEUM
Daytime at the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, or Field Museum on the south end is a good way to take in the culture and keep warm before a trek through the city. As the sun sets it is a good time to leave the museum, take in the magnificent city skyline and take a stroll along the lakefront to the downtown area. If you wish to start your tour closer to downtown, then another good stop is the Art Institute, Cultural Center, WillisTower, or John Hancock Building (with their breathtaking views from the top) or shopping the Magnificent Mile or State Street. There are ample places to duck out of the cold and these stops are in the heart of the city.
NIGHT LIGHTS AND FESTIVITIES
Once darkness falls, there is the gigantic Christmas tree at Daley Plaza to see with all its dazzling lights and ornaments. And there may be other activities at Daley Plaza to join in. Across the street, there is the CBS news studio with its picture windows which encourage public-viewing. A block or two over is State Street all decorated for the holidays. On this street is Macy’s with its series of windows with holiday motifs which tell a popular fable (different every year) and always brings a crowd of onlookers.
A few blocks north is the riverwalk along the Chicago River with exciting views of Trump Tower and the Tribune Building and the holiday ferries on the river. Along the river heading east is Michigan Avenue. A few blocks south on Michigan Avenue is Millennium Park with the bubble, monoliths, bandshell, and the city’s largest outdoor skating rink -all lit up and sparkling, enticing one to join in the festivities. Heading north on Michigan Avenue from the river is the magnificent mile of shopping and more colorful holiday décor.
Chicago has many great restaurants in this area and one its best and most historic is the Billy Goat Tavern right under the Tribune Building near the river. It is a historic sight made especially famous from the old Saturday Night Live skit.
From the Billy “Goat Tavern you can catch a free trolley to make your final stop to finish out a great holiday tour. The famous tourist destination Navy Pier is several blocks east of Michigan Avenue as you go along the Chicago River. Navy Pier stretches out into Lake Michigan and is always bustling with many activities. During the Christmas season, the pier is all dressed up for the holiday. In the plaza near the front entrance, there may be a live band performing or other live holiday performances. On the second floor near the rear of Navy Pier is the Winter Festival with theme rides and settings.
Depending on the day, and especially on New Year’s Eve, there is the final exciting nightcap of the evening – fireworks on the lake near Navy Pier’s southeast corner.
For an all-day experience and long-lasting memories, a holiday tour of downtown Chicago can’t be beaten.