Christmas in Chicago: a magical experience

by Megan Wohlers correspondent

As I walked down State Street a few weeks ago, the beauty of the window displays, each one different from the last, struck me.

A city does not feel like home until it is lit up for Christmas. And Chicago is a truly magical place during the Christmas season.

The annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival kicked off the holiday season on November 21st. The parade featured performers, fireworks, floats, and marching bands.

The city’s Christmas tree is in Millennium Park this year. The lighting ceremony on November 24th featured performances by Renée Fleming, Danielle de Niese, the Latin Music Project Ensemble, and performers from the Emerald City Theatre.

Outside of Macy’s, many of the windows are decorated in the theme of outer space this year. Inside the store, you can admire the nine decorated floors as well as the 45-foot Christmas tree.

One of Chicago’s most popular attractions is the Christkindl Market. This German market’s roots go back to Nuremberg, Germany in 1545 and is great for shopping and food. Located in Daley Plaza in the Loop, it runs from November 20th until Christmas Eve.

There is also caroling at the Bean in Millennium Park for the musically inclined. Comprising both concerts and audience participation, this event runs every Friday from 6-7 until December 18th and features different choirs on different days.

Lincoln Park Zoo is lit up Friday through Sunday until December 13th, when it will be lit every night until January 3rd. The Lincoln Park Conservatory also has an old-fashioned miniature train track that runs through a poinsettia display.

Both the ice ribbon in Maggie Daly Park and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park are open and free if you bring your own skates. Otherwise, skate rental is twelve dollars. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink also provides free ice-skating lessons from Fridays to Sundays the hour before it opens.  The rink at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is open during specific days from November 27th to February 15th, costs five dollars to skate and an extra five dollars for skate rentals.

The Museum of Science and Industry goes all out for Christmas. Their annual Christmas tree display opened on November 19th and runs until January 3rd. The museum decorates more than fifty trees each reflecting the heritage of a unique culture.

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