Consider theWit for a downtown holiday staycation

Ice skating the Ribbon in Millennial Park is easy when taking a staycation. (City of Chicago photo)

Ice skating the Ribbon in Millennial Park is easy when taking a staycation. (City of Chicago photo)

You’re in The Loop when you stay at theWit.

 

Well situated at State and Lake Streets, the hotel is close to Macy’s shopping, Walnut Room tree and holiday windows, Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” Millennial Park’s Caroling at Cloud Gate and ice skating rinks, the Chriskindle Market, a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago’s holiday-decorated Thorne Miniature Rooms and a short bus ride to the Auditorium theatre to see Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”

 

The hotel also has arrangements with the Art Institute for the Andy Warhol exhibit and the Chicago Theatre across Lake Street for Cirque du Soleil’s “Twas the Night Before”

 

Gingerbread village and ice skating rink in theWit lobby. (the Wit photo)

Gingerbread village and ice skating rink in theWit lobby. (the Wit photo)

 

Exploring the nearby holiday events will help burn off the treats you will want to try after seeing Chef Toni’s gingerbread village in the lobby that has edible characters and sweets available for purchase online at A Bit of theWit.

 

In between shopping and shows , stop at the hotel’s State and Lake Chicago Tavern, Executive Chef Nathan Sears’s gastropub with artisanal American cuisine.

ROOF at theWit is a popular place to hang out. (theWit photo)

ROOF at theWit is a popular place to hang out. (theWit photo)

 

The place to hang out here is the ROOF. A Chicago Loop theatre ticket will get you a complimentary drink with the purchase of a drink. But the ROOF is also among the top 10 roof-top bars in the country.  It features a DJ on weekends plus champagne on Sundays and Thursdays.

 

The other place to de-stress from shopping and holiday dashing is the Spa @ the Wit  or the fitness center which has floor to ceiling views of the city.

The fitness center at theWit. (theWit photo)

The fitness center at theWit. (theWit photo)

 

A Four Diamond hotel with a sleek, contemporary vibe in the Doubletree by Hilton group, theWit is at 201 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601.

 

Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

 

Look up late at night or before dawn this weekend to “catch” a “falling star.”

 

The earth crosses the Tempel-Tuttle Comet 55P orbit during November but in 2019 the peak times to see its meteor debris is from Nov. 16 through 18.

 

No star gazing instruments needed, just a spot away from street and commercial lights.

 

However, the full moon was just a few days ago on Nov. 13 so the sky will still seem bright with the waning gibbous phase as it moves into its last quarter Nov. 18.

 

Also needed is patience. Although the Leonids have produced tremendous meteor showers in some years, this year a mere 10 to 15 meteors are predicted per hour.

 

 For more good meteor information visit EarthSky, Space and Time and Date.

 

 

 

Staycation for the holidays

North Michigan Avenues Magnificent Mile twinkles after the Mickey and Minnie Mouse parade flicks the lights switch (City of Chicago photo)

North Michigan Avenues Magnificent Mile twinkles after the Mickey and Minnie Mouse parade flicks the lights switch (City of Chicago photo)

Shopping, shows, sights and lights, Chicago’s festival markets and moments seem to be descending at express-train speed. But instead of shouting “stop the train,” take control of the season with a “staycation” that balances shopping with spa time, festival watching with fitness-center wellness and special exhibits with special cocktails.

 

Several Chicago hotels are putting together packages that make staying downtown a fun alternative to insanely commuting to catch events. Because holiday gifts and sights stretch from Macy’s on State and the Art Institute of Chicago to Magnificent Mile and the Lincoln Park Zoo, a good plan is to make your holiday headquarters a hotel near Michigan Avenue

 

A place that fits the spa, fitness, cocktail requirements, has rooms with great views and  holiday deals is the Peninsula Chicago on East Superior Street at North Michigan Avenue’s Mag Mile.

The Peninsula Chicago pool and Fitness Center have floor to ceiling views of the city (Peninsula photo)

The Peninsula Chicago pool and Fitness Center have floor to ceiling views of the city (Peninsula photo)

 

At the Peninsula Chicago, it only takes one ride up the elevator to the 19th floor to fall in love with the half-Olympic size pool edged floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the Magnificent Mile, the Fitness Center with its all-glass city views and the comfy spa facilities there and up a level in the hotel’s Wellness Center. They offer perfect down-time relief.

 

At night, go to the Z Bar on the 6th floor for hand-crafted cocktails, gourmet cuisine and city lights. Listed in the 2019 Forbes Travel guide of World’s Best Hotel Bars, the Z Bar is chic and a relaxing place to wind down.

Peninsula Chicago Z Bar overlooks Michigan Avenue. (Peninsula photo)

Peninsula Chicago Z Bar overlooks Michigan Avenue. (Peninsula photo)

 

Among the the hotel’s Special Offers  are good room rates for Black Friday-Cyber Monday, a fun ZBar Ugly Sweater Party and a complimentary room upgrade.

 

Also check out the Peninsula’s Holiday Packages such as Holly Jolly Chicago which includes in-room holiday décor, a round of complimentary skating and drinks for two at the hotel’s Sky Rink, a MINI Cooper chauffeured drop-off ride to Christkindlmarket, time at the hotel’s Chocolate Bar for two Friday or Saturday evenings, daily American Breakfast and in-room holiday movie library

 

The hotel is perfectly located for: the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Nov. 22-23, shopping at Water Tower and shopping the Mag Mile including the new, world’s largest Starbucks Roastery in the former Crate & Barrel building, seeing Lookingglass Theatre’s Jeff award winning “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” in the Historic Water Works, exploring the Driehaus Museum, an exceptional mansion that has Tiffany glass windows and lamps and going over to Navy Pier for its WinterWonderFest.

 

The hotel is also a short bus ride away from Lincoln Park’s ZooLights.

Peninsula lobby decked out for the holidays. (Peninsula photo)

Peninsula lobby decked out for the holidays. (Peninsula photo)

 

As to style, Peninsula Chicago is a 5-star luxury hotel that complements its North Michigan Avenue Magnificent Mile corner at 108 E. Superior St., Chicago, IL.

 

Look for Orionid meteors

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

 

Look up! If the night sky is clear where you live watch for the Oronids, a major meteor shower produced by the debris from Halley’s comet.

 

Named for Orion the Hunter because the meteors seem to radiate from the constellation, the Orionids have been already shooting across the sky and will do so into November. But they are peaking now through Oct. 22.

 

They have been known to shoot across the sky at 80 an hour but according to Bill Cooke a NASA they are likely to number from 30 to 40 per hour. They are very fast 148,000 mph so watch carefully.

 

The question is how much a factor is the moon which has waned to its half-phase. The full Hunters Moon has already passed but moonlight may make a difference. However, go to a spot without streetlights and commercial buildings. You won’t want binoculars because you are watching the whole sky.

 

Several astronomy sites have good charts and information on meteors. Take a look at Time and Date, Space and EarthySky.

 

 

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