Top 8 Chicago Holiday Attractions

It’s finally the most wonderful time of year and many of you are taking trips to the Windy City during the holiday season. Whether you’re driving to the city for the day or flying in for a weekend getaway, I’ve rounded up my Top 8 Chicago Holiday Attractions that you won’t want to miss!


So grab your parka, a warm cup of hot chocolate wine, and enjoy all our beautiful city has to offer!


8. Explore one of our World-Renowned Museums.

Many museums offer special holiday exhibits such Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Many museums offer extended holiday hours and free days throughout November and December. If you plan to explore more than more museum, The Chicago City Pass is the most economical way to go, saving you 53 PERCENT off the retail museum prices! Buy yours ahead here to skip the line!



7. Shop till you drop on Michigan Avenue or State Street.

Michigan Avenue offers World-Class shopping with breathtaking light displays at night. You will literally feel like you’re in a giant snow globe! (See my photo from last winter below!)  If you’re accompanied by kiddos Santa at Bloomingdale’s is the jolliest Santa around, not to mention it’s inside the beautiful 900 Michigan Mall, so you can multi-task!


6.  Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest

If you’re taking in the sites with the family, check out this fantastic indoor winter theme park at Navy Pier, opening December 1st. There is something for everyone with various indoor rides free of the chilly air. You can buy tickets here. While you’re there, check out Navy Pier’s newly remodeled, completely enclosed Centennial Ferris Wheel or catch a show at the Tony-Award winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater.


5.  Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage ride through Chicago’s historic Gold Coast, The Magnificant Mile, or historic Old Town.

If you’re craving a cozy dinner with outstanding food nearby, try Merlot on Maple or Maple and Ash. Reservations are recommended through OpenTable.


4. Chriskindlmarket

Chicago’s German Christmas Market will warm your heart with it’s delicious Glühwein (warm mulled wine), Schnitzel, and handmade ornaments and gifts.  For the extra chilly days, there are warming tents on site. This is a perfect pre or post-shopping with it’s close proximity to State Street.


 3. Catch a holiday show.

The shows vary seasonally, but Joffrey’s The Nutcracker and The Goodman’s A Christmas Carol are Chicago staples. Joffrey offer’s student rush tickets for only $15 the day of the performance with a student id.



2. Go Ice Skating at the new Maggie Daley Park in The Loop.

Ice skate under the stars in the newly remodeled, Maggie Daley Park. With the Chicago skyline as your backdrop, this will be a skating experience you’ll never forget.



 1. ZooLights

It is pretty tough to beat a light display in Chicago’s breathtaking Lincoln Park neighborhood. This beautiful, FREE attraction is only available around the holidays at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo so it is absolutely worth checking out. With stunning ice sculptures and musically synced light shows, this is my all-time favorite holiday activity in Chicago. Parking is an additional fee (there is a lot attached to the zoo) but public trans or Lyft is recommended. The majority of the event is outside, so layer up, but you’ll forget about the weather when you see this beautiful spectacle.

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Follow my daily adventures on Instagram @Top8Amy.  Happy Holidays!