Posts Tagged ‘Wonderland Express’

Five Thanksgiving things to do in Chicago

You never know what characters you will see in Chicago's Thanksgiving parade (JJacobs photo)

You never know what characters you will see in Chicago’s Thanksgiving parade (JJacobs photo)

Chicago has been named by several publications among the country’s top three destinations. Among the reasons: great theater, good food choices, world-class museums and friendly people who are willing to help with directions.

However, if visiting family or friends they also have some ideas of what to do and where to go. The problem is how to fit everything in a limited time and what ought to be done ahead of time.

A lot of Chicago holiday events start Thanksgiving weekend even when it comes early such as this year, 2018, when it feels like it is arriving ahead of time on Nov. 22.

Tip: The day after Thanksgiving is a mad shopping scene downtown and on the Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) so work up a turkey-sized appetite by spending Thanksgiving Day downtown, instead. Then, head to where-ever your feast is for your yummy reward. The next couple of days see a play or explore an area near but outside Chicago.

A Macy's State Street holiday window

A Macy’s State Street holiday window

 

  • It’s OK to watch on TV but to do something different, splurge and reserve a seat in the VIP section in front of Macy’s State Street store. Visit Chicago’s Thanksgiving parade to reserve seats. The parade is 8-11 a.m. on State Street.

 

  • Do Macy’s State Street store holiday windows. If at the parade, take time to ooh and aah at the magical scenes in Macy’s windows. Started in Chicago by Marshall Field’s the department store windows have charmed shoppers State Street. Decorated with toys since 1897 and transitioned to holiday windows with Uncle Mistletoe in 1946, peering into the windows to see the stories and themes that Field’s and then Macy’s have is a beloved Chicago-area holiday tradition.Macy’s State Street windows will be decorated from Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019.
Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza (City of Chicago photo)

Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza (City of Chicago photo)

  • No, don’t leave downtown yet. Walk a couple of blocks west on Washington Street (south side of Macy”s) to Daley Plaza between Clark and Dearborn Streets to browse eat and shop at the Christkindlmarket. Based on the holiday market in Nuremberg, Germany, the Chicago version has also become a Chicago tradition since 1995. In 2018 it is up from Nov. 16 to Dec. 24.

 

  • Over the weekend, use the Thanksgiving theme to see and then discuss “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live from Chicago.” The production, based on Frank Capra’s film, has also become a holiday tradition at American Blues Theater, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show features an original score and holiday carols. Plus, the Bedford Falls “residents” treat the audience to milk and cookies. The show runs from Nov. 15, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019. For tickets visit American Blues Theater.
Miniature trains wind around Chicago buildings in Wonderland Express (J Jacobs photo)

Miniature trains wind around Chicago buildings in Wonderland Express (J Jacobs photo)

  • Drive north to the Chicago Botanic Garden to fall in love with the Wonderland Express. The train themes sounds like it maybe for kids but adults love it just as much because it includes terrific mock-ups of the Chicago area’s highlights from skyscrapers  and Millennial Park’s “Bean” to Wrigley Field and from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, South Shore’s Cultural Center and the B’hai temple in Wilmette. Don’t worry about the “snow falling inside on your shoulder, its harmless. Do stop in the adjacent greenhouses to see poinsettias and topiaries. The Botanic Garden  is just east of Edens Expressway at Lake Cook Road bordering Highland Park.This is a timed and ticketed event so for tickets go to  Chicago Botanic WEX.

 

Plan ahead, then go for it!

 

 

 

 

Holiday Happenings when not interested in Black Friday or Cyber Monday

Macy’s Windows, Walnut Room Tree and SantaLand

Macy's Great Tree Photo by Debbie Jacobs

Macy’s Great Tree
Photo by Debbie Jacobs

Youngsters and adults press their noses to the windows of Macy’s on State Street to see holiday stories and wonderful winter animation scenes. Already attracting passers by, the scenes will be up through Jan. 8, 2017. While there go up to the 7th floor to see the Great Tree in the Walnut Room. It’s a dazzling two-story-high tree emblazened with 6,600 lights and 2,000 ornaments. Walnut Room lines can be long but there is quicker seating in the bar area where you still can see the tree. Youngsters who want to visit Santa at his Cozy Cloud Cottage, go to SantaLand on the 5th floor. It’s open until Dec. 24, 2016.

Macy’s on State is 111 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60602. For other information call (312) 781-1000 and see visit Chicago Macy’s.

 

Art Institute Thorne Rooms

First take a selfie outside the museum with the museum’s famous lions. They are wreathed for the holidays. Inside, go downstairs to peek into 68 tiny, doll-house-sized rooms. Holiday decorations added to nearly a dozen of them on Nov. 22, 2016 will stay there through Jan. 8, 2017.. Constructed to mirror different styles and periods in Europe and the United States, furnishings are sized one inch to the foot. Tip: Look for Frank Lloyd Wright’s William Martin House’s breakfast room that is included for the first time this year.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 South Michigan Ave.,  Chicago, Illinois 60603. For other information call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC Thorne Rooms.

 

Wonderland  Express

See millions of lights glistening as you approach the Chicago Botanic Garden from Lake Cook Road in north suburban Glencoe. Inside the Regenstein Center, tiny trains pass through miniature villages in the first room. But save lots of time for the great room where trains rush overhead and ground level past Chicago landmarks. Gently falling snow indoors sets a festive, winter mood. Continue through to see more trains and landmarks in what looks like a train station. But don’t forget the greenhouses. Decorated with gorgeous poinsiettas they are back by the Wonderland’s entrance. Everything is up from Nov. 25- Jan. 2, 2017. However, for special events go to hear caroling mornings Nov. 25-27 and see ice sculpting mid-day Dec. 11.

Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. For other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit Wonderland Express.

 

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