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What to do in December in Chicago?

Old Oct 9th, 2002, 06:09 AM
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What to do in December in Chicago?

I am going to spend about four days in Chicago with my daughter (age 19)the week before Christmas. We already have plans to do A LOT of shopping, lunch at the Hancock Bldg., two Blackhawks games, hot dogs at Portillos, and Chicago pizza. We are not really into the museums, maybe a show. Anything else we might be interested in doing? I was thinking about the Navy Pier. Possibly the zoo (or is it too cold). She has always wanted to ice skate on an outdoor rink. Any neat restaurants we might want to go to? We are staying at the Hilton Garden Inn so want to keep things in that area. Thanks for any suggestions.
Old Oct 9th, 2002, 06:13 AM
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Try not to freeze your ass off
Old Oct 9th, 2002, 07:13 AM
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Drink heavily.
Old Oct 9th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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Linda, You will love Chicago at Christmas. It is truly beautiful!! I am not sure, but several years ago when we went at Christmas, they had Skate on State. A temporary skating rink was there for the "cold" season. Check into that. I would do the Lincoln Park Zoo during that time. Although cool (we were lucky that day) we thought it was lots of fun to be bundled up and visiting the zoo. Make sure you stand in line for popcorn at Garrett's on Michigan Avenue. There is also a location on State Street should you be up that way. Don't ignore the State STreet area during Christmas time. The store front windows at Marshall Fields are all decked out beautifully for Christmas. We personally enjoy Navy Pier more on a "sunny and warm" day... Our favorite thing about Navy Pier is just sitting and looking at the people, water and the boats coming in and out. There does not seem to be as much "traffic" on cooler days. You will have a wonderful time with your daughter. Make TONS of memories!!!
Old Oct 9th, 2002, 10:50 AM
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I think Skate on State was permanently closed last year. But I believe there is an outdoor rink in Millenium Park or you might also check Navy Pier.

The Lincoln Park Zoo has a Zoolights festival starting in November,here's a weblink for you
Some of the exhibits are indoors, unless it's really cold it should be OK to visit. While you are up in that area you can also stop by the Peggy Notebaert Museum to see the Butterfly Garden.

You might also consider tea at the Drake, it's a little expensive but it's nicely decorated for the holidays. It's popular so you might want to make reservations.

Or you might consider a visit to a day spa, maybe for a manicure/pedicure, there are lots up in the Michigan Avenue area.

If you are over on State St. to look at Marshall Field's window displays, you might also stop by the Christkindl market at Daley Plaza which is just a block over on Dearborn St.

For theater, there's an annual production of "A Christmas Carol" at the Goodman Theater or "The Nutcracker". You could also get tickets for Blue Man Group, Second City or a number of smaller productions. If you wait until you get here, you can try the hottix booths for 1/2 price tickets but I wouldn't recommend it for weekend tickets to Blue Man or Second City.

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is Cafe Iberico for Spanish tapas, appetizer size portions of Spanish food. Expect a long wait on Fri/Sat night, lunch time there is no wait. I've walked there from Michigan Avenue or it's a short cab ride. Heaven on Seven is on Michigan Avenue and is a good casual place for Cajun food.
Old Oct 9th, 2002, 12:05 PM
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You have alot of great suggestions here. However, I would recommend the Four Seasons for tea. I liked the atmosphere better than the Drake or Ritz. You might want to go to Grand Luxe Cafe (which is owned by the Cheesecake Factory). It is fairly new so probably will be crowded but it is pretty close to your hotel. It is at Michigan and Ohio. Heaven on Seven is good and also close to your hotel. It is actually on Rush Street. I agree with the above poster that Navy Pier is better in the summer. There really isn't much inside unless you go to the Imax. Mostly it is cheesy little shops. Have fun!
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 06:31 PM
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Blue Man Group is a fun show to see.
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 03:50 AM
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Have a Chicago deep dish pizza!
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 07:21 AM
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Go to Oak Park and check out Frank Lloyd Wright buildings (e.g. Unity Temple). Get a copy of the Chicago Reader, and lookup reviews. For shows and restaurants there is alot more going on away from the Mag Mile. E.g. Try out Chopin Theater, a short(10 min) cab ride from the loop. It has non-traditional theater. For breakfast try out the Bongo Room in Wicker Park, or lunch try out Feast in Bucktown. The Bucktown/Wicker park area is an artistic area that has just started gentrifying....
Old Nov 1st, 2002, 02:30 PM
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Skate on State is still on. You might want go to Tourist center and pick up a program about winter events in Chicago along with discounts. The Tourist Centers are in The Water Tower and The Cultural Center.
Old Nov 1st, 2002, 02:39 PM
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The first thing you do in Chicago in December is to hail a cab outside your hotel. Get in and tell the driver to take you to O'Hare and "Step on it!!" He'll know what you mean. When you get to O'hare get out and buy a ticket to a warm place by the ocean. Make sure it leaves within the hour. Use the ticket and get on the plane.
Old Nov 27th, 2002, 08:00 PM
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I see many people don't know if skate on state is open. Well I was by today and it is closed. There is a rink on Michigan Avenue in what used to be Grant park called the Mcormick Tribune Ice rink. It is definately open. I would join you but I can't skate.
Old Nov 28th, 2002, 11:51 PM
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Your and your daughter would probably have a wonderful time visiting the Shedd Aquarium.

I know you said you weren't interested in musuems but you might want to make an exception for the Museum of Science and Industry down in Hyde Park which has lots of things of interest to children and adults including a brand new elaborate Chicago to Seattle minature electric train system which you supposedly can control parts of yourself. Also, the Titanic exhibit, with original artifact including a piece of the hull of the ship, has been extended through Jan. 5. At the Field Museum there is the Chocolate Exhibit and some of that is interactive and education geared to children. The Pearl Exhibit, also at the Field, is stunning but may not be of interest to you.

The Lincoln Park Conservatory is near the Lincoln Park Zoo and is free and quite lovely. There is Navy Pier, of course, and they're currently showing the IMAX version of Star Wars plus a couple of other IMAX films. Aside from the skating rink at Navy Pier, there's a new rink on Michigan Avenue at Millenium Park. You could visit the observatories on the top of the Sears Tower or the John Hancock Building or you might want to have a nice buffet, and reasonably priced lunch at the restaurant on top of the John Hancock building (sorry, the name escapes me at the moment) and still get the stunning views of the city. Have fun and keep warm.
Old Nov 30th, 2002, 02:10 PM
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Friday's Tribune had a bunch of ideas for the holiday season. Here's a couple of links
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 03:51 PM
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recently while heading into a parking garage downtown near the House of Blues, I was approached by a man with a pad of tickets asking how long I would be parking for. We were confused because we thought it was a self park, but we answered the man, he told us an amount, we handed him a $20 and he ran like heck.. we just sat there realizing what had happened. Just be warned.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 04:28 PM
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Thanks Dave. It's easy to be caught "off guard", especially when it is a situation like yours, a man with a pad of tickets in a parking garage would not be unusual and it would be easy to be "scammed". Thanks for the warning!
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 04:34 PM
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I'm with Leigh. Not sure why you think the museums aren't interesting. The planetarium, behind the aquarium is wonderful. Check out the shows there. I believe they have the first interactive digital theater in the world. We participated in the movie, Mission to Mars (or something like that). Our kids loved it, and so did we.
The aquarium has a Pacific NW exhibit, which is really fun for people not from the Pacific NW, and even then, it was worth going to. They have porpoise shows and beluga whales. The Amazon Rising Exhibit is great (hopefully it wasn't temporary. We went when it had just opened.)
And don't miss Sue the dinosaur (the real thing) at the Field Museum, also next door. Plus, there's an incredible exhibit at the Field Museum on the origins of life, with lots of participation. And a visit to Africa, again with lots of dynamic displays. There are cafeterias in the Field Museum and Aquarium (and probably the Planetarium). These are not boring museums. Not by a long shot.
As for outdoor activities, Chicago can get Xtremely cold. You'll just have to watch the weather. At about 7 degrees, when you can feel your nose hairs have frozen within a few breaths of stepping outside, you'll know it's time to reconsider any outdoor activities other than running to cabs or busses.
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