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Chicago Makes the Holiday Season Merry and Bright

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Chicago is a flurry of holiday excitement (with perhaps a chance of flurries, as well). Within this shaken snow-globe wonderland, bask in the glow of twinkling lights at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Millennium Park, savor mulled wine while doing last-minute shopping at Christkindlmarkt or rediscover the meaning of the holidays at Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol.

Let Visions of Holiday Cookies Dance in Your Head

Move over sugar plums; there’s a new treat in town. Kick off the holiday festivities in the Windy City on Thursday, November 29th and Friday, November 30th from 5:30pm-7:30pm with Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park’s annual Cookies and Cheer event.

Rub elbows with the hotel’s culinary team while sipping wine and sampling a variety of seasonal gourmet cookies. Feel like you’ll need to buy a pair of Santa’s pants if you eat one more treat? Don’t worry. You can take home three dozen of these gourmet sweets wrapped in luxury packaging (Santa’s pants not included).

For an extra sweet experience, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park’s Cookies and Cheer Guestroom Package offers overnight accommodations for two, two tickets to Cookies and Cheer and two tickets to the hotel’s new cooking event, Cookie Confidential. With Cookie Confidential, you’ll go beyond the swinging doors of the hotel’s bustling kitchen and discover how the pastry team works like Santa’s elves to produce more than 25,000 cookies each year for this holiday event.

It’s Time to Go Back to Camp

Join us this holiday season for Kids Cookie Camp, a pint-sized version of Cookies and Cheer.  Kids will bake and decorate cookies in the hotel’s pastry kitchen, play games, watch movies and create holiday masterpieces all under the care of the professionals from Sitter Studio on December 1st, 8th and 15th from 5pm-9pm. Enjoy an evening the town shopping, catching a show or attending a holiday party, while your kids live it up at the Fairmont. Our holiday gift to you, we promise to tire them out!

Go Ice Skating in Millennium Park

It’s time to zip up your winter coat, lace up your skates and take to the ice this holiday season. Nothing screams the holidays like ice-skating, and here in Chi-Town you can take a spin on the ice while surrounded by the beautiful city skyline and the sparkle of holiday lights reflected off the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, affectionately nicknamed “The Bean.”

Adjacent to Millennium Park you’ll find the glistening Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon. This quarter-mile ice rink is twice as large as traditional rinks and provides a crystalline pathway from which to enjoy the beautiful architecture of downtown Chicago while weaving around snow-covered pines and the park’s geometrically shaped climbing walls.

Explore Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry

Have you ever wondered how other countries and cultures celebrate the holidays? Now you can revel in celebrations and customs across the globe without needing your passport. Christmas Around the World has been an institution at the Museum of Science and Industry since 1942, when this United Nations event was designed to pay tribute to our allies in World War II.

Today, the museum houses more than 50 trees decorated in honor of countries across the globe. At the center of this pine-laden paradise stands the four-story Grand Tree decorated with 30,000+ twinkling lights.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the Holidays of Light display, which showcases the magic of light and highlights festivities such as the Chinese New Year, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Enjoy live performances every weekend while experiencing an indoor “snowfall” on the museum’s main floor.

Contemplate Last-Minute Gift Ideas While Enjoying Mulled Wine at Christkindlmarkt

Step into the holiday markets of Nuremberg, Germany, without having to traverse the Atlantic at Chicago’s open-air holiday market held each year at Daley Plaza. Chicago has taken the traditions and essence of this European market and added its own Midwest flair.

You’ll find vendors offering up handcrafted items, from ornaments and home décor to toys and clothing, while the tantalizing sweet and savory smells of potato pancakes, strudel and other delicious eats waft through the air. Of course, no trip to Christkindlmarkt would be complete without enjoying Glühwein, or traditional mulled wine, sure to warm chilled bones.

Celebrate the Season with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre

Chicago has a venerable theatre district offering the best of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in the Midwest and the US. With more than 250 theatres, Chicago has been hailed by London’s The Guardian as “the theatre capital of America.”

For the last 41 years, Goodman Theatre has been performing the beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. You can experience the magic and wonder of the holidays through the eyes of Ebenezer Scrooge, the character we love to hate. Watch as the ghosts embark with Scrooge on an incredible adventure through his past, present and future to help him rediscover the importance of love, friendship and the holiday spirit.

Enjoy Family-Friendly Holiday Festivities at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest

Baby, when it’s cold outside, head indoors to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, which gets a full winter wonderland makeover every holiday season, decked out in over 25,000 ornaments and 500 decorations. Experience more than 170,000 square feet of rides, events and holiday-themed attractions.

Ride the Arctic Express train around snow-covered holiday village displays, create your own delicious gingerbread house, take a spin on the Ferris wheel or pay a visit to Santa Claus and let him know what’s on your holiday wish list.

We hope you’ll make Chicago your destination when you’re ready for sweet dreams and holiday wishes.

To book your holiday getaway at Fairmont Chicago, click here.

Stephanie Andrews has rock climbed in Malta, driven an ATV around the island of Gozo, crawled through Neapolitan crypts and lived in Portugal, Spain, and Budapest. Her work has appeared in Food52, MapQuest Travel, Budapest Local and various travel and food websites. When not eating her way through a city, she’s often writing about food.


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