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Holiday Lights in the Loop

If you’re looking to see holiday lights in downtown Chicago, the Loop is the place to be! Here are some of our favorite places in the Loop to get in the holiday spirit.

City of Chicago Christmas Tree

Looking for things to do for the holidays near the loop?

Courtesy of Max Bender

The 106th annual Christmas Tree in Millennium Park was celebrated with a lighting ceremony in late November. However, the 60 foot evergreen will be brightening up the city every nigh through January.

Menorah Lighting at Daley Plaza

The annual menorah lighting in Daley Plaza is a great way to celebrate Hannukah! Enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment by AD the DJ and Charlie the Rapper.

Museum of Science and Industry Holiday Lights & Christmas Around The World

The 45 foot tree is adorned with 30,000 lights and surrounded by over 50 smaller trees, each decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s different communities to reflect their cultures. The occasional indoor “snow” flurries add to the charming holiday ambiance.

CTA Holiday Train

Ever wonder why the downtown area is called “The Loop”? The neighborhood gets its name because the CTA L train tracks make a “loop” around the center of the city. During the holidays, hop aboard the CTA’s holiday train for meet and greets with santa and his reindeer and holiday cheer. The special holiday trains are covered in multicolored lights, red bows, garlands, and candy cane striped ribbon. The tradition started in 1992 and has grown in popularity and decadence over the years. Click here for a schedule of when to check out the CTA holiday train.

Looking for things to do for the holidays near the loop?

Courtesy of Sawyer Bengston

Macy’s on State Street

Macy’s on State Street is known for having eye catching, festive windows. Step inside and head to historic The Walnut Room, where you’ll see the Great Tree and enjoy a holiday themed cocktail. With the whimsical decorations in the Macy’s windows, Christmas music coming from speakers in the flower beds, and tree covered lights, hopping along State Street takes on a whole new atmosphere

Looking for luxury apartments for rent near the Loop? Contact us today! We’d be happy to keep you in the Loop!

Decorating Your (Kinda Small) Apartment For The Holidays

As we close in on the holiday season, it’s time to start decorating your home. If you have a small space, decorating can be a daunting task. Don’t worry—we’ve got some great hacks for decorating small spaces this holiday season.

  1. How do I display holiday cards without a fireplace?No mantle? No problem! Use ribbon to display holiday cards on cabinets
  2. How do I get a Christmas tree into my studio apartment?If getting a full-sized Christmas tree isn’t very easy, take a tomato cage and wrap it in a green string of lights.If you want to have a true tree element, use ribbon or twine fasten sprigs of pine tucked into a throw pillow, around a candle, or in and around a mason jar and display on shelves.
  3. What’s a quick and easy holiday centerpiece?Any chance you have ingredients left over from Thanksgiving? Place fresh cranberries in a white or glass bowl surrounded with 3-5 tea light candles or in a candle holder.
  4. My table or island is too small for a centerpiece. How can I make it festive?Switch out your regular candles for blue, red, or green candles—bonus point if they’re holiday scented. Adding a holiday themed runner or tablecloth is another space-efficient way to spice up your serving surfaces. Napkin rings are another great way to liven your table setting.If you really don’t have room for any decoration on your island or table, spice up your bar cart by using your wine glasses to display ornaments or candles.
  5. I’m worried too much décor will make my space look small. How can I avoid that?Develop a theme! Using the same color palette throughout will prevent decorations from overwhelming a small apartment or home as easily. Focus on designs that use height rather than width. For instance, hanging strands of lights or homemade snowflakes from your ceiling or above doorways are a great way to add some winter sparkle. No floor or counter space required!
  6. I’m short on time but want to be festive when entertaining. What’s the best one thing I can do to get my apartment into the holiday spirit?Once again, candles! In the olden days, candles in the window were a sign of hospitality and frequently used to welcome sailors home from sea. Place candles on or next to mirrors to amplify their light. Also, scent is one of the most powerful senses in memory. Using a festive, scented candle (like pine, cinnamon, apple, clove, or cookie) can fill your home with a nostalgic holiday scent to set the mood. This is especially true in small and studio apartments!Swapping out throw pillows for more festive ones on your chairs or sofa is another quick way to infuse your apartment with holiday cheer. The best part? No clean up required!
  7. How can I entertain with minimal counter space?If you’re throwing a holiday party and have more dishes to serve than you have counter space, use multi-tiered stands to maximize space.

Holiday Things To Do Near You

The holiday season is a great time to be in downtown Chicago! Here are a few of our favorite seasonal festivities.


Holiday Treasure Hunt and Tea Party

Stop by the Art Institute for a holiday treasure hunt followed by a tea party. Attendees will make 5 stops in the museum’s galleries and Ryan Learning Center.

The event will conclude with a tea party with live entertainment in the Stock Exchange Trading Room. Each child will receive a holiday themed gift bag.

When: December 9th at 10:45am

Admission: $50 for adults, $25 for children, free for children under 2

Christkindl Market

The Christkindl Market, inspired by German tradition, takes place annually at Daley Plaza in the Loop. Unique vendors with many handcrafted and specialty goods make for great holiday gift shopping. Grab a souvenir mug of spiced wine (and bring your mug back for discounted refills)!

Christkindl Market is a primarily outdoor event. However, between the live music and traditional German fare in the food hall and the specialty ornament shop, theres plenty to do indoor whatever the weather.

When: November 16 – December 24

Admission: Free

Click here for more free things to do in the Loop this holiday season.

Lincoln Park

Zoo Lights

Each winter Lincoln Park Zoo is illuminated by over 2.5 million lights. Photos with Santa, 3D displays, warm spiced wine and snacks, holiday gift shopping, live ice-sculpture carving, carnival rides, light shows, games, and zoo animals are just some of the holiday festivities available at Zoo Lights. In addition to the regular open admission days, there are also several holiday events like Brew Lights,  a beer tasting event on December 6th.

When: Click here for a Zoo Lights calendar, BrewLights is December 6th

Admission: Free admission for Zoo Lights (all ages), $49 ticket for BrewLights (21+)


Winter WonderFest

Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest hosts music, ice skating, carnival rides, games, and refreshments. In addition to admission, tickets include a ride on the Centennial Wheel anytime before March 31st 2019.

When: December 3, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019

Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for children under 42″, free for children under 36″

West Loop

Randolph Street’s Holiday Market

Randolph Street Market is a great place to knock out your holiday gift shopping! The eclectic selection of both vintage and modern items ensures you’ll find unique gifts no one already has. Enjoy shopping through an array of housewares, clothing, art, and trinkets from over 125 vendors. Refreshments include a Bloody Mary bar, an assortment of beverages, and food from local eateries. Free parking for attendees!

When: December 15 – 16, 2018

Admission: $10 in advance or $12 at the gate, discounts available