Guide To Chicago For The Holidays

December 21, 2013 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo Presents Zoo Lights/Todd Rosenberg Photography 2011

With the holidays just around the corner, you might be wondering what to do and where to go in Chicago. Whether you’re a long-time resident and are entertaining out-of-town guests or are visiting the Windy City for the first time, you’ll want to hit the hot spots and have fun. From getting here to spending time exploring museums in the area, there’s plenty to do this holiday season. Check out the following guide on how to get to Chicago, as well as what to do while you’re here.

O’Hare International Airport

10000 W. O’Hare Ave.

Chicago, IL 60666

(773) 686-2200

If you’re not getting to Chicago by dashing through the snow, then you might want to consider arriving at O’Hare International Airport. With approximately 1,100 daily direct flights, you’re sure to find a flight arriving at the airport. Once you’ve arrived, skip the taxi and use public transportation, including the Blue Line of the El train and Metra’s North Central Service line. You can also check out Chicago Midway International Airport, which offers approximately 230 daily direct flights and is also accessible by public transportation, including the El’s Orange Line.

Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers

301 E. North Water St.

Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 464-1000

With its stunning views of downtown, Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, you’re sure to love staying at Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. The hotel is located in Chicago’s Near North Side and is close to Navy Pier. It’s also near the Magnificent Mile, so you or your out-of-town guests can pick up any last-minute gifts, and it is near the museum campus so you can explore the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium or Shedd Aquarium. You can also squeeze in a workout at the hotel’s fitness center; after all, don’t you want to get a jumpstart on your new year’s resolution?

Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo Presents Zoo Lights/Todd Rosenberg Photography 2011

Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo Presents Zoo Lights/Todd Rosenberg Photography 2011

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL  60614

(312) 742-2000

Are you looking for something to do on Christmas Day? Then consider checking out Lincoln Park Zoo. Established in 1868, the zoo is considered a must-see by both Chicagoans and visitors alike. The zoo has more than 1,100 animals from all over the world, including polar bears, meerkats, beavers, bald eagles, snowy egrets, green tree pythons and emperor newts. The zoo also has an ice skating rink, which is located at the zoo’s Farm-in-the-Zoo exhibit. And here’s a bonus, admission to the zoo is free.

Museum of Science And Industry

5700 S. Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 684-1414                 

If you want to get into the holiday spirit, then a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry is in order. In its annual exhibit “Christmas around the world and holidays of light,” which runs through January 5, 2014, the museum will display more than 50 Christmas trees decorated with ornaments from around the world. While you’re at the museum, make sure to check out its other exhibits, including personal favorite Colleen Moore’s fairy castle, the U-505 submarine and Science Storms. And what trip to the museum is complete without watching the baby chicks being hatched?

Related: Best Permanent Exhibits In Chicago

Ann Sather Restaurant

5207 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60640

(773) 271-6677

How do you like your eggs? At Ann Sather Restaurant, you can start your day by choosing from a selection of hearty breakfasts, including omelets, wraps and Swedish pancakes. If you’re looking for a way to warm up from the cold Chicago winter, consider stopping by for lunch and choosing from the restaurant’s selection of hot sandwiches and soups; salads and cold sandwiches are also available. In addition to its location in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, Ann Sather has three other restaurants in Chicago. Some of the Ann Sather locations will be open on Christmas Day. To make reservations and to see which restaurants will be open on that date, you should call in advance.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

6649 N. Lincoln Ave.

Lincolnwood, IL 60712

(847) 673-0800

Entertaining guests this holiday season? If they have a taste for pizza, make sure you stop in at a Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria location. No matter where you go in the Chicago area, you’re likely close to a location. Whether you choose the traditional deep-dish pizza or go for one of the restaurant’s specialty pizzas (you must try The “Lou”), you will be quite pleased. Although the pizzerias are closed on Christmas Day, fear not; you can always pick up a frozen pizza the day before and then bake it at home in your oven.

Related: Best Food Destinations In Chicago Locals Love

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at

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