Posted December 2, 2020

Bright Lights, Big City: Chicago


We want to make sure your stay with us gets a glowing review. What better way than to make sure you have the scoop on some of our favorite cities’ holiday lights displays? As the first in a season-long series, we hit Chicago. Check back every week as we travel to other hotspots.

The dazzle of Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue

The Windy City’s hulking skyline glistens any given evening. But things are at their bright and shiny best from Thanksgiving to Christmas, when downtown’s two major shopping strips go all out to rustle up spirit.

North Michigan Avenue – Stretching from Oak Street to the Chicago River, “The Magnificent Mile” is lit up with more than one million colorful bulbs. That ensures not only a wintery fairyland look, but plenty of light to do your nighttime shopping by. The retail-heavy avenue has several department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as well as designer gems like Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Ralph Lauren. Warm up at Hotel Palomar Chicago, just two blocks west of the action. Its adjacent Sable Kitchen & Bar serves a cocktail called Dans le Nuit made with Pierre Ferrand Ambre, pistachio syrup, Marie Brizard Orange Curacao and lime. The cocktail’s name translates to “In the Dark,” only we know that with all the lights blinking around you, you won’t be left there.

The scene at Christkindlmarket

State Street – Just south of North Michigan Avenue, across the Chicago River, this lively thoroughfare has lights – and also lots of action. This year, the Chicago Loop Alliance launched Lightscape, a sound and light installation that creates vibrant patterns of color choreographed to holiday tunes. For another visual feast, gather before the windows at Macy’s. Every year, the store mounts intricate, animated displays, which in the past have featured re-created Brothers Grimm stories and Dr. Seuss characters. Across the street at Daley Plaza, tiny timber cabins with festive red-and-white striped awnings signal the arrival of Christkindlmarket, Chicago’s take on a traditional German gift market. Vendors hawk glass-blown ornaments, toys and authentic foods (try the weiner schnitzel and glühwein, a hot spiced wine). Luckily for your tired feet, you can stay the night within blocks of the fun at Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham or Hotel Monaco.

See you in Chicago!

Top photo: Davis Harrison Dion / Courtesy of Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. Bottom photo: Courtesy of City of Chicago



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