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.


Farmhouse Tavern.
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Photo Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium.
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Trip guide

For more information: Choose Chicago, (312) 567-8500;

What to do

The Art Institute of Chicago The nation’s second-largest art museum parties the day after Thanksgiving during the annual Wreathing of the Lions. (312) 443-3600;

Chicago Children’s Museum Creative play spaces, including a Snow Much Fun exhibit, entertain young kids at Navy Pier. (312) 527-1000;

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade The annual jaunt down State Street runs from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street; park in the garage at Wabash and Randolph. (312) 239-0457;

Where to eat

Farmhouse Tavern New in 2011, the hole-in-the-wall River North spot celebrates Midwest beer, farms and flavors, dotting its menu with Wisconsin cheese curds, a dried cranberry salad and a chocolate pastie dessert that takes Michigan’s U.P.’s meat and potato concept to new heights. (312) 280-4960;

The Gage Just north of the Art Institute, the gastropub balances a casual, friendly atmosphere with thoughtful dishes and excellent service. The menu changes every eight weeks or so, but our grilled Buffalo chicken sandwich, burger and creamy pumpkin bisque were outstanding. (312) 372-4243;

Lockwood Inside the Palmer House Hilton, Lockwood’s Thanksgiving buffet is $60 for adults, $50 for seniors and free for children younger than 12. (312) 917-3404;

Portillo’s Christmas decorations and cool Chicago sports memorabilia deck the storied hot dog spot in River North. It also serves killer Italian beef. (312) 587-8910;

Where to stay

Condo rentals For an alternative to hotels, consider a condo rental. The pros: You get more space than a hotel room and save money on meals, and some offer parking. The cons: Property owners don’t always get back to you during your search, and you have to pay for your stay up front. But over a holiday and for families, it’s a welcome alternative. From $300.;

Chicago River Hotel A freshly styled boutique hotel along the river puts guests within easy walking distance of holiday fun. From $199. (312) 777-0990;

Inn of Chicago North of the river in Streeterville, this simple but classy lodging in a landmark building has a small lobby and elevators, but well-appointed rooms and a beautiful rooftop patio. From $109. (312)787-3100;  

(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® November/December 2012.)


Comments (1)

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

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