Chicago Attractions in December

Despite the blistering cold, winter is one of the greatest times to visit Chicago. Walking down the snowy streets through crazed shoppers and fast-paced businessmen, Chicago instills a sense of belonging, cheer and an instant holiday spirit in everyone. Known as the city of festivals, Chicago does not disappoint this season, offering numerous festivities and activities for any winter lover.

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade

Start the season off right with the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade. Ronald McDonald leads this parade down State Street with Santa Claus and others on Thanksgiving Day. Families celebrate this tradition by lining State Street and watching as entertainers and gigantic helium balloons make their way down State Street.

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade

State St. from Congress to Randolph

Chicago, IL 60602

Daley Plaza

While Black Friday shoppers battle the crowds along Michigan Avenue and State Street, stop for a moment at Daley Plaza to visit Santa Claus and watch the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Stick around for hearty German food, mulled wine and shopping, at the Christkindlmarket. Meet people from all over the world at this great German American festival through the month of December.

Daley Plaza

118 North Clark St.

Chicago, Illinois 60611


Macy's on State Street

Visit Macy's in the old Marshall Field's building on State and Washington Streets. Dine in the Walnut Room in front of a grand two-story Christmas tree, or visit Santa Claus at the Cozy Cloud Cottage on the fifth floor. Be sure to pay attention to the creative and bright window displays along State Street, featuring charming holiday stories for both children and adults to enjoy. Festivities begin in late November and commence on December 24.

Macy's State Street

111 North State St.

Chicago, IL 60602


Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Head over to Michigan Avenue the Saturday before Thanksgiving, between Oak Street and Wacker Drive, for one of the greatest holiday traditions in Chicago. Enjoy musical performance and activities along the street, while waiting for the parade. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Mickey Mouse and friends will stroll down Michigan Avenue, illuminating the trees in lights marking the official start of the holiday season in Chicago. Stay after for fireworks over the Chicago River and visit retailers along Michigan Avenue that will extend shopping hours until 10 p.m.

Magnificent Mile

Michigan Avenue between Wacker Dr. and Oak St.

Chicago, IL 60611



Meander through Lincoln Park Zoo after dark with the grounds illuminated in sparkling lights. Visit animal exhibits and take in the snow-covered trees, visit Santa Claus and see animal-shaped ice sculptures, all while drinking a delicious cup of hot cocoa.

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 North Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60614


McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

There is nothing more romantic than ice skating with a loved one beneath the city's skyline in Millennium Park. Opened from November to March--weather-permitting, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink on Michigan Avenue is a popular winter destinations for residents and tourists alike. Stop inside the Park Cafe for hot chocolate and coffee to stay warm. Skating is free and visitor can rent ice skates for a $10 fee.

Millennium Park

201 E. Randolph St.

Chicago, IL 60602


Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

During the holiday season, Navy Pier transforms into a charming Christmas town, featuring hundreds of Christmas trees and lights, and tons of activities for the family to enjoy. The Fest offers indoor carnival rides including a ferris wheel, the Reindeer Express Train Ride, the Pepsi Create-a-Cookie Cottage, and an indoor ice skating rink. Admission to the Winter WonderFest is free, but there is a charge to go on the rides. The Fest runs throughout December.

Navy Pier

600 E. Grand Ave.

Chicago, IL 60611


Soldier Field

Celebrate a Chicago winter in style by going to a Chicago Bears game. The only football team in Chicago and the one true love of many Chicagoans, attending a Bears game is a necessity. Make this an experience not to forget--but remember to wear electric socks and many layers.

Soldier Field

425 East McFetridge Dr.

Chicago, IL 60605