Each holiday season, Chicago packs the charm of a quaint village into the magic and mystery of a big city. Plan a holiday getaway for your groups and give them a visit they won’t soon forget.
1. MACY'S ON STATE STREET: WALNUT ROOM
Nov. 10, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013
Inside the world-famous Walnut Room at Macy's on State Street, visitors can enjoy a delicious meal and special holiday drinks — eggnog, anyone? — while enjoying the view of Macy's Great Tree, which has been lit every year in the Walnut Room for more than 100 years.
2. CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD AND HOLIDAYS OF LIGHT
Nov. 15, 2012 – Jan. 6, 2013
Mid-Nov. 2013 – Early Jan. 2014
Send groups to the Museum of Science and Industry for this festive exhibition showcasing how other nations celebrate this unique time of year. Among falling "snow," they'll see a small forest of more than 60 trees, each adorned according to different international customs.
3. RANDOLPH STREET HOLIDAY MARKET
Nov. 15–18, 2012; Dec. 15–16, 2012
Nov. 23–24, 2013; Dec. 14–15, 2013
Your groups can get in on stress-free holiday shopping at this indoor urban market located in Plumbers Hall (1340 W. Washington St.). Inside, they'll discover fabulous keepsakes such as embroidered hankies, estate jewelry, vintage and indie fashion, artworks, decorative objects and housewares. (Free parking and gift wrapping.)
4. MAGNIFICENT MILE LIGHTS FESTIVAL
Nov. 17, 2012
Nov. 23, 2013
See the launch of one million lights on 200 trees along Michigan Avenue, as the holiday season kicks off with a lighting parade (as Mickey Mouse himself acts as master of ceremonies), more than 40 floats, live music, a fireworks finale and stellar shopping.
Nov. 20–Dec. 24, 2012
Nov. 27–Dec. 24, 2013
This 17-year-old event transforms downtown Daley Plaza into a European holiday fair, complete with candy cane-striped wooden huts and more than 50 vendors offering one-of-a-kind products like cuckoo-clocks, beer steins, wood carvings, European sweets and treats, and jewelry.
6. CAROLING AT CLOUD GATE
Fridays during Nov. 23–Dec.21, 2012
Better known as "the Bean," Cloud Gate takes a harmonious turn during the holidays as hundreds of singers led by various Chicago choral groups gather sing Christmas carols. Note: Performances may be shorter due to extreme cold conditions.
7. WONDERLAND EXPRESS
Nov. 23, 2012 – Jan. 6, 2013
Nov. 29, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014
Each holiday season, the Chicago Botanic Garden transforms into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, indoor snowfall and garden-scaled trains winding their way through waterfalls and detailed landscapes, including city landmarks.
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