Chicago at Christmas

Old Dec 27th, 2021, 01:55 PM
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Chicago at Christmas

We made a very last minute trip to Chicago. Arrived today 12/27. Staying at Hampton Inn Downtown. We have our 7 and 8 yr old grandkids with us. Can you advise where to go to see Christmas lights, displays and/or anything else the kiddos would enjoy. We are here thru Thursday 12/30. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Didnít have time to do much research.
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 03:18 PM
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Well, if it is open, the Museum of Science and Industry.
This is the largest Science Museum in America and is wonderful for kids and adults alike.
It is housed in a building from the World Fair in (1839?)
They also have a Christmas around the world display of trees with lights and music.
Food in the cafe is not cheap, but at least you can take a break and do not have to leave the building, a plus in cold weather.
This can actually be an all day excursion because the exhibits are so different from each other. It s like visiting several Museums at once. I went as a teen in the 60s, took my kids in the 80s and hope to take my GD soon.
Call or check online for tickets. They are also not cheap, but it is worth it. Having something this wonderful to do in winter is great!

Last edited by Sassafrass; Dec 27th, 2021 at 03:31 PM.
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Old Dec 28th, 2021, 03:59 AM
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A second vote for Museum Science and Industry. The World of Christmas display is wonderful. They have indoor parking but if you would rather not drive you can take an express bus from downtwon. Note I just checked website and you must be vaccinated (including kids 5+) and you must have online tickets in advance (capacity control I believe).

I would also have suggested Lincoln Park Zoo Lights one evening, but I just checked and it is sold out for the entire week. You could still go to zoo in the day. The zoo is free. From their website they close at 3 pm today for special event in the evening. Or the Peggy Notebaert nature museum in the same neighborhood which is good for kids. That has an admission fee but no vaccine requirement except for special events. Easy to take the bus from downtown there too.

Millennium Park has skating and lights and it great for families anytime of year. If your hotel is the one right in center of downtown that is easy walk out.

Michigan Avenue lights stay up into the new year. But some of the more kid friendly stores like Disney and FAO Schwartz are gone. But still is the huuuuuge American Girl store.

Here is a link that has some other ideas for general family travel in Chicago. Would double check all websites though for closures or restrictions for Covid.

A further note on pubic transit. Here is link to plan a specific trip. Not sure during Covid if buses are taking cash. But easy to find downtown near your hotel a subway station where you can purchase a transit card in a machine. Multiple people can use one card for a trip as there is fixed price.

If you have other specific questions like dining we Chicagoans are here. Enjoy the city!

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Old Dec 28th, 2021, 07:47 AM
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As a Chicagoan, I'm at a bit of a loss for things to do with covid spreading so rapidly. I'm sure the kids will enjoy just being with you as you explore.

For the kids, the Lincoln Park Zoo can be nice if the weather is relatively ok. Don't miss the Lincoln Park conservatory at the north end of the zoo. That is usually really pretty and doesn't take much time. Don't worry about missing zoo lights. IMO, it's only worthwhile if the weather isn't crummy, and our forecast the next few days isn't great.
Also, maybe Navy Pier, though it will feel like a tacky mall to you, there are kid friendly restaurants and it's a big indoor space where you should be able to distance a bit from other people.
Somehow, Blue Man Group is still performing, depends on your aversion to risk.
At Wrigley Field, there's a Christkindlmarket and ice skating rink. You can take a few snaps of Wrigley Field's big sign. Across the street, there's a Big Star Taco restaurant and a McD's.

Lots of donut places about (Krispy Kreme, Firecakes, Stans), or cupcakes.
Pizza at Lou Malnati's/Giordano's/Pizzeria Uno or Due. (If deep dish pizza, remember, it's a LOT of food for anyone, so don't necessarily buy the largest pie. It also takes a while to bake, so if there's a way to order ahead, or carry out, that's what I'd try to do.)
Italian Beef or a Chicago hot dog at Portillo's.

Robbery is up. Also, large groups of teens can congregate on Michigan Ave. or Navy Pier in the evening and cause you to be fearful. Keep your valuables close, cross body bags, phones out of sight, and your head on a bit of a swivel. I'd avoid being out much after dark, which is about 4:30 nowadays.

Wishing you a nice time!
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