Winter WonderLoop: Affordable Family Fun

December 6, 2012 2:00 PM

(Credit: Christkindlmarket Chicago)



By Lauren Wulf

Winter WonderLoop
Chicago Loop
Now-December 31, 2012

There is no shortage of fun, free things to do this holiday season in the Chicago loop! Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) fourth annual Winter WonderLoop will surprise and delight pedestrians in downtown Chicago this winter with “Random Acts of Holidays” from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on each Saturday from Dec. 1-22, 2012. Specific details on these free, family-friendly experiences around the Loop will be announced each morning at, and on CLA’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Holiday revelers can also visit the Winter WonderLoop website for more than 100 special offers, events, promotions and destination ideas from CLA member businesses and organizations until Dec. 31, 2012. Event highlights are listed below.

Visitors in the Loop will encounter “Random Acts of Holidays” that include: street performances from Goodman Theatre and Joffrey Ballet; giveaways of hot beverages, pastries and prizes from Corner Bakery; free pop-up photo booths, complete with props, from SmileBooth; strolling carolers and bands from local colleges and high schools; and Berghoff Restaurant mascot “Herman the German” giving away custom steins, ornaments and treats.

Along with these events, special offers and promotions, Winter WonderLoop gets pedestrians into the holiday spirit with seasonal displays and decorations, including CLA’s unique year-round light and sound installation Lightscape: a Multisensory.



Select Winter WonderLoop Offers

For a full list of offers and events visit

Comfort Suites (320 N. Michigan Ave.): Winter WonderLoop guests will receive 20% off the best available rate, complimentary Wi-Fi, a glass of wine, breakfast and best-view room placement. Exclusive city discount welcome packet included. Visit or call 312-384-1208 and ask for the LTHEAT rate. (November 19 – December 31).

Lockwood Restaurant (17 E. Monroe St.): Mini pastry chefs in the making will be able spread holiday cheer by participating in cupcake decorating with a member of the hotel’s renowned pastry team. Half off with mention of Winter WonderLoop during phone reservation.

210 North Wells Self Park (210 N. Wells St.): Park at Wells & Lake for just $8.00 for up to 12 hours. This offer is only valid on Saturdays and Sundays between November 19 and December 31. Stop by the garage office on Level 2 and mention Winter WonderLoop to receive the discounted rate.

Chicago Institute of Natural Health (8 S. Michigan, Ste. 1420): Feeling stressed this holiday season? Treat yourself to a massage at the Chicago Institute of Natural Health. Mention Winter WonderLoop to receive 50% off a one-hour massage (a $50 value).

(Credit: Christkindlmarket Chicago)

(Credit: Christkindlmarket Chicago)

10 Wonders of the Loop

Presented in partnership with Time Out Chicago

Window Shopping at Macy’s

Admire Macy’s iconic seasonal window displays as you walk down State Street. Macy’s on State Street, 111 N State St (312-781-4483,

Holiday Music on Lightscape: A Multisensory Experience on State Street

As you search for that last-minute gift, let the music of the holidays, choreographed to lights, lift your spirits.


Do a bit of shopping or just revel in the quaintness of it all as Daley Plaza transforms into a picturesque German marketplace for the holidays. Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Sts (312-744-3315, Nov 21–Dec 24, Sun–Thurs 11am–8pm, Fri–Sat 11am–9pm; free.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Plaza

Catch an eyeful of the gorgeous Chicago skyline as you whiz around the rink. 11 N Michigan Ave (312-742-5472, Nov 16–Mar 10, Mon–Thurs 12pm–8pm, Fridays 12pm–10pm; free.

LunchBreak Series

Tune into some live music from around the world every week at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Randolph Café. On Dec. 9, don’t miss the Dance Along Nutcracker. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St (312-744-6630, Alternating Tue, Thurs, Fri 12:15pm.

Ice skaters show off their skills (or lack of) at Millennium Park's McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (Credit: Mason Johnson)

Ice skaters show off their skills (or lack of) at Millennium Park's McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (Credit: Mason Johnson)

Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago

Watch the big cats in front of the Art Institute get decked out in their holiday finest. Don’t worry if you miss the ceremony—the lions and their wreaths will be available for photo ops all season long. Art Institute, 111 S Michigan, (312-443-3600, Nov 23; 10am; free.

Caroling at Cloud Gate

Celebrate the season with song. Cloudgate, Millennium Park, N Michigan Ave & E Randolph St, ( Nov 23–Dec 21, 6–6:50pm; free.

Winter Garden at Harold Washington Library

Take a breather and warm up inside the beautiful Winter Garden. Harold Washington Library. 400 S State St, (312-747-4300, Open daily, 9am-9pm; free.

Do-it-Yourself Messiah at Harris Theater

Sing Handel’s masterpiece along with the pros at the annual Do-it-Yourself Messiah. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph St, (312-334-7777, Dec 17, 18, 7pm; $10.

Skydeck Chicago

It’s a winter wonderland 103 flights above Chicago. Willis Tower, 233 S Wacker Dr (312-875-9696,; $17.50, kids ages 3–11 $1, Oct–Mar 10am–8pm.

Lauren Wulf, CBS Chicago

Lauren Wulf writes about living in Chicago on a budget on her website, A Poor Girl’s Guide Chicago.

Watch & Listen LIVE