Five things to get you in the Chicago holiday spirit

Kelletta Blackburn, ChicagoPride.com
November 26, 2014

It’s official - the holiday spirit is in full swing with tons of one-of-a-kind activities that Chicagoans must experience at least once during the holidays.

It’s official - the holiday spirit is in full swing with tons of one-of-a-kind activities that Chicagoans must experience at least once during the holidays.

Visit the Walnut Room in Macy's on State Street where you can enjoy the beauty of the restaurant's giant Christmas tree while sipping holiday cocktails like Eggnog Brandy Alexander, Cinnamon Toast, or Frango Coffee made with Frango liqueur and Bailey's Irish Crème. What makes these drinks taste even better is they are served in your very own limited edition Macy's Walnut Room 2014 holiday mug.

Go ice skating for free at the Millennium Park - McCormick Tribune Ice Rink now through March 8, 2015. No skates? No problem! You can rent a pair at the park. Don't know how to skate? This year, even more free ice skating lessons are available for the public. Worried you will get too cold? Warm up with some hot coca at the Park Grill Café. And before you ask, the rink is filled with a diverse group of skaters representing all of the cultural backgrounds and ages that make Chicago great. So really, you have no excuse not to go.

Visit the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza now through December 24. Easily accessible by the CTA, the market is free to enter and invites visitors to step into a winter wonderland filled with visions of a German Christmas. From holiday-inspired glass figurines, ethnic dolls, wooden Christmas ornaments, beer steins and traditional German cuckoo clocks, there is something for everyone. You will even find Polish ceramics and other Eastern European Christmas gifts and decorations too. While at the market, take time to indulge in traditional German dishes like sauerkraut and bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels, marzipan and Glühwein (hot spiced wine) served in a collectable Christkindlmarket souvenir mug you get to keep.

Ride the 2014 CTA Holiday Train. Fun for all ages, the train leaves the station starting November 28 and returns December 23. Passengers will get free candy canes as they ride the train that is decorated from head to toe with the sights and sounds of the holidays. Santa and his elves even hitch a ride delivering food baskets donated by CTA employees to those in need. And, while Santa is riding the ‘L,' this year's CTA Holiday Bus is being led by Ralphie the Reindeer and his 3-D antlers from December 2 through December 23. Inside, the bus features festive holiday decorations created by students from Mahalia Jackson Elementary school and a den for Santa den that includes a fireplace and cozy lounge chair for scheduled pictures with St. Nick.

Get into the holiday spirit by visiting the free Lincoln Park ZooLights Presented by ComEd and PNC Bank starting November 28 through January 4. In addition to festive lights, the holidays at the zoo also include free ice skating, crafts, musical light shows and the popular Lincoln Park Zoo Sculpture Show. This year the zoo is featuring it's first-ever BrewLights Presented by Louis Glunz Beer where you can purchase tickets to sample beers and even discount rides home with Curb. While visiting the zoo remember to take photos with Santa at the Helen Brach Primate House, ride for free on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel and listen to live music at the Kovler Lion House by Jugo de Mango and Bailey Dee and her Late Night Bait.

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