Thanksgiving in Chicago | Midwest Living

Thanksgiving in Chicago

A parade. A carriage ride. A lavish buffet at a historic hotel. A hip condo and caroling. Celebrating Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago means breaking from our home for the holiday traditions—and making memories that last for years.


The breathtaking lobby at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton signals that Thanksgiving dinner will be one to remember.
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Tree-lighting in Daley Plaza. Photo Courtesy of the Mayor's Office of Special Events.
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As 5 o’clock nears, the crowd in Daley Plaza grows as thick as a North Woods forest. Vendors at the open-air Christkindlmarket tout their wares—Polish pottery, hand-knitted parkas, soaps made with honey—to their captive audience on this night before Thanksgiving. Chicago’s annual Christmas tree lighting is just minutes away, and until then, anyone who was strolling among the dozens of vendors basically gets stuck. TV trucks prep for live shots. A helicopter hovers, its chop drowned out by the crowd’s chatter. Claustrophobia sets in, and I can’t help but think, Why did I want to come here for Thanksgiving?

Then, across the street, the clock on the 568-foot Chicago Temple tolls.

One. Two. The crowd hushes. Three. Four. Hundreds of cell phones reach above the throng, trained on the darkened 55-foot Colorado spruce. Five.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel flips a switch, lighting the vertical strands of red, white and green lights. Cheers roll through the Loop like a summer wave on nearby Lake Michigan. Eventually, I can move as people funnel through the streets in search of dinner.

Click ahead to read about the rest of our trip, to see our list of the top 10 holiday stops in Chicago and to browse our trip guide.


Comments (1)

lbelcher25044 wrote:
Christmas in Chicago is truly an old fashioned Christmas experience!

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