Palmer House Christmas tree

For more than 140 years, Chicago's Palmer House, located in the heart of the Loop at the corner of State and Monroe, has been treating guests to opulent and gracious hospitality. Retail and real estate magnate Potter Palmer considered the Palmer House his crown jewel; hence he named the extravagant hotel after none other than himself. Once touted as the largest hotel in the world, the Palmer House Lobby has seen dignitaries, celebrities, and royalty come and go, since the hotel was established in 1871.

During the holidays, the Palmer House is even more spectacular. Here are six ways to celebrate the holidays at Chicago's historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel.

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Have a holiday inspired cocktail near the grand Christmas tree. The Palmer House Hiton's 18-foot tall tree, decorated with 7,000 lights among its 15,000 branches, is located in the grand, historic lobby. Enjoy a holiday cocktail from the Lobby Bar: The Hot Toddy features warm Seedlings apple cider cooked with cloves and cinnamon and Calvados brandy; Hot Buttered Rum is made with Myers Dark Rum, homemade vanilla ice cream mixed with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar topped off with vanilla hand-whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon. Mulled Red Wine is warmed with orange and lemon zest, nutmeg, star anise, cloves, vanilla bean, brown sugar and honey. Or keep it non-alcoholic and opt for the premium hot chocolate or spiced hot apple cider.

Experience a classic afternoon tea. Traditional afternoon tea service is offered daily from 2 - 4 p.m. in the lobby. There's no better way to rest your feet after a morning of State Street shopping than with hot tea and buttery scones by the grand holiday tree. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.917.3404.

Take a family baking class with the hotel's very own pastry chef. Executive Pastry Chef Fabrice Bouet and the hotel's Pastry Team plan to show families how to create signature holiday treats at their holiday baking classes. The remaining class is $20 per person and includes children aprons, chef hats, and sweets to take home.

Saturday. Dec. 20, 2 - 4 p.m. Christmas Cookies: learn to make and decorate Christmas cookies. Tasting with glass of milk.

Reservations may be made at Lockwood's host stand, 312.917.3404. Participants meet at Lockwood Restaurant & Bar, in the Palmer House lobby, and are escorted to the baking class.

Listen to the sweet (booming!) sound of 400 tubas playing holiday favorites. Nearly 400 tuba and euphonium musicians of all ages dash through the snow to bring Christmas cheer to the crowds gathered at the Palmer House during TUBACHRISTMAS, Dec. 20. Free to the public with no tickets or reservations required, this is a holiday musical experience like no other. The Palmer House asks that audience members bring a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Chicago Food Depository.

Enjoy Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner at the hotel's Lockwood Restaurant & Bar. The hotel's in-house restaurant will be offering a four-course prix fixe dinner menu in celebration of Christmas on Wednesday, Dec. 24 and Thursday, Dec. 25. Recommended by the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel, diners are able to enjoy the menu at Lockwood Christmas Eve from 5 - 10 p.m. and Christmas Day from 5 - 9 p.m. The dinner for adults is $76 and for children (4 - 10 years old) is $30.

Additionally, the Lockwood's famous breakfast buffet will be available Christmas Eve from 6:30 - 11 a.m. and Christmas Day from 6:30 - 2 p.m. Lunch will be available Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Four hour complimentary self-parking is available at 55 E. Monroe Parking Garage, receive parking validation at Lockwood Restaurant & Bar's host stand. Reservations are required for prix fixe dinner and may be made by calling Lockwood at 312.917.3404 or visiting www.lockwoodrestaurant.com. For parties of 10 or more, private suites and dining areas are available by contacting Oscar Perez at 312.917.1738 or Oscar.Perez@hilton.com.

Ring in the New Year. The Palmer House Hilton will be hosting Big Night America's Chicago New Year's Eve Party: Big Night Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 31, from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. Over 2,000 guests will be dancing the night away to live bands and celebrity DJ Brody Jenner will be spinning all night long at one of the biggest bashes in the city. For tickets, show information and an updated list of confirmed acts, visit BigNightChicago.com.