The Windy City is a great place to be once the November and December holiday season rolls around. From festive decorations along the Magnificent Mile to celebrations across the city, below is a guide to some of our favorite holiday events of 2013:
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (Tuesday, November 20) – Daley Plaza
For 99 years, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has signaled the official start of the holidays here in Chicago. The ceremony is a grand tradition that draws people of all ages to the heart of the Loop. Santa Claus will be there in his Santa House for families to take pictures with, and there will also be a live performance of festive holiday music begining at 4:30 p.m. The holiday season will officially begin once the switch is flipped and the lights begin to twinkle on the Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza!
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (Saturday, November 23)
This magical festival is the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration and is another event that helps kick off the holiday season in Chicago. There will be family-friendly activities in Lights Festival Lane, concerts by top musical artists, and the best holiday shopping! The night culminates in a parade down Michigan Avenue marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, which ends with a grand tree lighting ceremony and fireworks over the Chicago River! After the parade, Michigan Ave. will be completely illuminated with more than one million lights and 200 trees – it is truly a sight to see!
Christkindlmarket (November 26 – December 24, 2013)
In its 18th year, the annual Christkidnlmarket has become one of the most popular winter attractions here in Chicago. First held in Pioneer Court back in 1996, Mayor Richard M. Daley moved the holiday market by special invitation to Daley Plaza in 1997 and it has become a staple on the plaza ever since.
The Christkindlmarket Chicago offers visitors a unique holiday shopping experience and offers a wide range of articles including ornaments, nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, and more! Visitors will also be overwhelmed by the delicious aromas of food, drink, and sweets! Gluehwein, a traditional German holiday hot spiced wine, is the perfect medicine to warm up on a brisk winter day. Visitors can also dine on authentic German cuisine and candies that will leave all feeling satisfied!
ZooLights (Nov 29–Dec 1; Dec 6–8, 13–23; Dec 26–Jan 5, 2013/14)
ZooLights is an annual, beloved tradition presented by the Lincoln Park Zoo. Visitors can see the animals, ride the carousel and train, make free holiday crafts, and take a photo with Santa (through Dec. 23 only)! There is even warm spiced wine and frosty lagers for the adults, live ice carving presentations every night and musical light shows! It truly is holiday fun for all ages!
Since it is the giving season, the Lincoln Park Zoo will also be hosting the ZooLights Coat Drive. They will be collecting new and gently used winter clothing. Donated items will be distributed to Chicago charities. Donation boxes will be located in Polk Bros Pavilion and Park Place Café.
Have fun out there!
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