2015 Holiday Must-Do's: Chicago Edition

The lights are up and the temperature is dropping - it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in Chicago! Whether you're a local or a visitor from miles away, we have the list of holiday events you won't want to miss in the Windy City. 

Image from The Weather In


Over 1.1 million people will be visiting Chicago's own Chriskindlemarket this year. As the biggest holiday market in Chicago, local and international vendors will be selling authentic German cooking, unique gift items, beer, and more! Chriskindlemarket is located at Daley Plaza and hosts live entertainment on select dates. 

Did you know the first Chicago Christkindlemarket opened in 1996? Every year, Chicago's own Christkindlemarket attracts more than 1 million visitors! Don't forget to pick up a Chriskindlemarket souvenir mug - this year's mug is shaped like a boot! 

The beloved open-air market is now open everyday starting at 11 AM and closes at 8 PM from Sunday to Thursday, and at 9 PM from Friday to Saturday. Be sure to check out the honey products from the Bienes Honighaus company from Augsburg, Germany. From soaps to candies, their authentic Germany products are sure to please everyone on your gift list! You might want to arrive hungry as more than 15 food/beverage vendors will be onsite. German schnitzel, burgers, goulash soup, bratwurst, saurkraut, potato pancakes, hot spiced wine, and German cookies are some of the delicious treats you can purchase from various vendors. 

Visiting soon? Expect heavy congestion and pedestrian traffic as more than 1 million visitors are expected this season. Chicago Chriskindlemarket parking can be purchased ahead of time. Closest parking start just 1 block away from Daley Plaza

Polar Express

From the Chicago Union Station, you can experience a unique train-ride through Chicago! This special one-hour train ride is set to the soundtrack of The Polar Express movie. Once aboard, travelers can enjoy live onboard entertainment, caroling, and of course, cookies and hot chocolate. The conductor himself will punch each passenger's golden ticket.

Passengers are encouraged to wear their favorite pajamas for the journey! 

Purchase Polar Express tickets online and book parking near the Chicago Union Station with Amtrak's parking partner, Parking Panda. 

Magnificent Mile Shopping District

Get your gift-shopping done with one trip! High-end shopping, beautiful window decorations, and the Chicago's Christmas Tree - the Magnificent Mile shopping area has it all. The upscale shopping district is located north of downtown Chicago. It's the biggest shopping district in Chicago and many landmarks such as the Wrigley Building, Chicago Water Tower, and the John Hancock Center, call the Magnificent Mile their home. 

From boutique shops and high-end fashion stores, to house-hold name department stores, Magnificent Mile Shopping District is a great destination to finish your holiday gift list. Take a look at the shopping directory here

The holiday time means more traffic and bigger crowds. Prepare by booking your Magnificent Mile parking before leaving! 

Winter Flower & Holiday Trains at Lincoln Park Conservatory

Need a new background for a family photo? Visit the indoor Lincoln Park Conservatory this Winter! Each year, Lincoln Park's Conservatory is transformed into a winter wonderland, decorated with poinsettas, Christmas lights, and model trains running throughout the conservatory. 

Open everyday from 9AM-5PM, the Lincoln Park Conservatory is the perfect place to escape the cold and spend time with family and friends.

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

Image from ChicagoNow

The annual PNC Bank Winter WonderFest is back at Navy Pier! Opening in a few days (Friday, December, 5th), this year will feature new inflatable rides, a new and improved mini golf course, and even a winter-themed climbing wall! Tickets are required for everyone, ages two and up. 

Visit the Winter WondeFest from 10AM-8PM Sunday-Thursday, and 10AM-10PM Friday-Saturday. Tickets can be purchased on-site. Navy Pier parking can be purchased ahead of time online! 

A Christmas Carol - Goodman Theatre

Image from Goldstar

We think the Chicago Sun-Times said it best - "There's no better way to get into the holiday spirit" than seeing Charles Dickens' novel come to life at the Goodman Theatre. The classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's holiday journey is in its 38th year at the Goodman Theatre. Perfect for children and adults alike, the show will be on all throughout December. 

Purchase tickets online here and be sure to plan ahead and book Goodman Theatre parking for your show! 

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