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.


On the Fridays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, thousands of visitors gather near the Bean in Millennium Park to sing carols along with guest choirs and their conductors.
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Lights dazzle at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.
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Top 10 holiday stops

Whether you’re in Chicago for the day or the weekend, these destinations shine at Christmastime.

American Girl Place Yes, it’s a madhouse on Black Friday and beyond. But the store, cafe and Celebration Screen draw generations of girls and women together at Water Tower Place. (877) 247-5223;

Chicago Symphony Orchestra The annual Welcome Yule concerts run the two weekends before Christmas. (312) 294-3000;

Christkindlmarket Dozens of vendors create an open-air community of shopping on Daley Plaza, from November 21 through December 24, 2012. (312) 494-2175;

Holy Name Cathedral Anyone who has admired grand churches in Europe will see stunning similarities in this River North Roman Catholic church. (312)787-8040;

John G. Shedd Aquarium The holiday breakfasts, held on November 24 and December 8, 15 and 22, 2012, only cost $10 more than the total-experience pass. (312) 939-2438;

John Hancock Observatory Take in four-state views from the 96th floor of this Mag Mile icon (plus visits with Santa!); the holiday model train display in the lobby delights kids and trainiacs. (888) 875-8439;

Lincoln Park Zoo More than 1,000 animals live at this free attraction on the North Side, and the 1 million Zoo Lights brighten an already stellar spot. (312) 742-2000;

Millennium Park Free caroling takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday nights during the season. Though crowded, the ice-skating is free, too. (312) 742-1168;

Museum of Science and Industry The annual Christmas Around the World showcases holiday cultures. (773) 684-1414;

Walnut Room You can’t make reservations, but the wait for a table at dinnertime is shorter than at lunchtime at Macy’s on State Street. Ask for a table under the restaurant’s enormous tree, and order the chicken potpie. (312) 781-4486;


Comments (1)

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

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