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Celebrating the

Holidays! 2012 Holiday Activity Guide

This Week

In Chicago


Our city during the holidays is a magical place—from holiday shopping on the Magnificent Mile to horse-drawn carriage rides, from ice-skating in Millennium Park to afternoon teatime at the Drake. We are excited to share what our city has planned for you this upcoming holiday season. Check out page 6 for the biggest holiday events, page 36 for holiday plays taking the stage, and page 44 for a gift guide featuring items from some of our local shops. New this year: throughout the magazine, we’ve added QR codes, “smart” bar codes that you’ll see marked with a “Scan Me” message. Download a QR-code-reader app with your iPhone or Droid, scan the code, and you’ll be taken to an online video that brings the event to life.

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Happy holidays, and stay warm!

Welcome to

Chicago!

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holiday activity guide


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Holiday Favorites Winter WonderFest Holiday spirits soar at the 12th annual Winter WonderFest (pictured above) celebration at Navy Pier. Featuring stunning décor, awesome rides and attractions, and an indoor iceskating rink, Winter WonderFest is a family holiday favorite. Find Santa Claus and his toy-making elves at the Family Pavilion Stage. Nov. 30–Dec. 15: Sun.– Thu., 10am–5pm; Fri.–Sat., 10am–10pm. Dec. 16–Jan. 6: Sun.–Thu., 10am–8pm; Fri.– Sat., 10am–10pm. FREE admission; premium wristband (includes indoor ice-skating), $20; regular wristband (excludes indoor ice-skating), $16. 600 E. Grand, 312.595.PIER. See 6

holiday activity guide

winterwonderfest.com for holiday hours and more information.

Mag Mile Shopping Christmas on Michigan Ave. means one thing: mega holiday shopping. (For more, see page 16.)

A Carriage Ride Explore Chicago’s downtown, lakefront, and neighborhoods in all of their holiday splendor on an old-fashioned handsome cab ride with Antique Coach & Carriage, where you can see the Christmas tree in Daley Plaza and the Macy’s building

decorated for the holidays. Perfect for couples or the whole family. $80 per hour; $40 per half hour. Departs from the SE corner of Michigan & Huron, 773.735.9400.

Ice Skate at Millennium Park Lace up your skates and do figure eights at Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. The ice rink is free and open to the public, and skate rental is available for $10. Nov. 16–Mar. 10. Mon.–Thu., 12pm–8pm; Fri., 12pm–10pm; Sat. (through Dec. 22), 10am–10pm; Sat. (starting Jan. 5), 10am–9pm; Sun., 10am–9pm. Michigan and Washington, 312.742.1168.


Thinking warm and happy thoughts...

Caroling at Cloud Gate

Do more than holiday shopping at Macy’s on State Street (top left). Experience the wonder of the 45-foot Great Tree and see the 45th annual animated Christmas windows. 111 N.

Take in the elegant surroundings of the Palm Court at the Drake Hotel. Its Tea Lobby features live harp music and Palm Court blended teas and pastries. Reservations are recommended. 1–5pm. Adults, $36; children (4– 12), $18. 104 E. Walton, 312.787.2200. (For more on tea in the city, see page 28.)

Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker The world-renowned Joffrey Ballet transforms the Auditorium Theatre into a winter wonderland of magical toys and

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Macy’s on State Street

Afternoon Tea

waltzing snowflakes during the annual production of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker (top right). Dec. 7–27. $31–$132. 50 E. Congress, 800.982.2787. (For more, scan below and see page 36.)

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Celebrate the holidays by participating in a holiday singalong in Millennium Park. Caroling at Cloud Gate (bottom) features Chicago choral groups. Nov. 23–Dec. 21. Fri. at 6pm. FREE. Michigan and Randolph, 312.742.1168.

State, 312.781.4483. (For more, see page 42.)


ZooLights The Lincoln Park Zoo becomes a winter wonderland, illuminated by more than 2 million lights, at the annual ZooLights extravaganza (above). Visit the polar bears and penguins while enjoying warm drinks, cool crafts, ice carvings, visits with Santa, and carousel rides. Open Nov 23–25; Nov. 30; Dec. 1–2, 7–9, 14–16, 21–23, 26–31; Jan. 1–6. 5–9pm. FREE. 2001 N. Clark, 312.742.2000.

Club Lucky Rated on Yahoo’s list of Chicago’s Top 10 Restaurants for best decorations, Italian restaurant Club Lucky draws you in with its outdoor blinking electronic snowflakes. Once you step inside the Bucktown restaurant, see hundreds of dazzling handmade snowflakes dangling from the ceiling, garlands galore, thousands of Italian lights, oversized wreaths, and beautiful ornaments. Bask in the glow, and sip one of the special holiday martinis. 1824 W. Wabansia, 773.227.2300. (See page 29.)

Winter WonderLoop Experience holiday magic in the Loop with the 4th annual Winter WonderLoop, featuring opportunities to enjoy holiday treats and special 8

holiday activity guide

promotions throughout the Loop. Nov. 19–Dec. 31. For a complete list of events, promotions, and discounts: winterwonderloop.com. (See page 21.)

Santa House Have your picture taken with Santa and see the city’s 64-foot Christmas tree at Daley Plaza. Nov. 20–Dec. 24. 50 W. Washington.

Home for the Holidays The Art Institute of Chicago lions are decked out in wreaths (below), and the Thorne Miniature Rooms are adorned with tiny holiday decorations. Throughout Nov. and Dec., the Art Institute hosts holiday-themed events and lectures. 111 S. Michigan, 312.443.3600. artic.edu.


Pickle in the Pine A distinct holiday custom for generations, the Pickle in the Pine has had a long and storied run at the venerable Berghoff restaurant. 17 W. Adams, 312.427.3170. (For more, see page 26.)

Snow Much Fun At the Chicago Children’s Museum, winter starts early with Snow Much Fun. Every Thu. in Nov. (5–8pm) and daily in Dec. (10am–5pm), build snow forts, throw snowballs, dress up as a snowman, and more. If you love ice-skating but hate putting on skates, you can skate in your socks on the Pretend You’re On Ice rink from 11am to 4pm 10

holiday activity guide

daily (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). Free admission Thu. from 5 to 8pm. Children/adults, $12; seniors, $11. Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand, 312.527.1000.

Christmas Around the World It’s a cultural holiday experience at the Museum of Science and Industry, as 50 Christmas trees, beautifully decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities, represent various cultures and holiday traditions for the annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit (above). The museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage with more than 30,000 lights and

1,000 ornaments. Every once in a while, you may experience an indoor snowfall. Nov. 15–Jan. 6. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Daily, 9:30am–4pm. Adults, $15; seniors, $14; children, 3–11, $10. 5700 S. Lake Shore, 773.684.1414.

Santa in the Sky The city’s highest Santa in the Sky returns for its fifth year (above right). Sitting 1,000 feet above the Mag Mile, the John Hancock Observatory is chock full of holiday fun, including the Winter Wonderland Holiday Train and Pictures with Santa. Each full-fare youth admission gets a FREE child Shedd Pass ticket to the Shedd Aquarium. Adults, $17.50; chil-


May every joy be yours...

The largest traditional German American Christmas market is right here in Chicago’s Daley Plaza. Browse more than 50 vendor booths at the 16th annual Christkindlmarket (top left) for one-of-a-kind handmade treasures: holiday ornaments, nutcrackers, cuckoo

A Christmas Carol Goodman Theatre's holiday classic A Christmas Carol (top right), consistently included among the Midwest's

best holiday events, returns for its 35th year. Nov. 17–Dec. 29. $25–$82. 170 N. Dearborn, 312.443.3800. (For more, scan below and see page 36.)

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Christkindlmarket

clocks, beer steins, wooden and plush toys, and European chocolates. Enjoy imported German beer or warm up with a cup of Glühwein (hot spiced wine) served in a souvenir boot-mug, alongside other German delicacies, such as bratwurst, potato pancakes, and schnitzel. Nov. 20–Dec. 24. Sun.–Thu., 11am–8pm; Fri.–Sat., 11am–9pm. FREE. 50 W. Washington, 312.494.2175.

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dren (3–11), $11.50. Every Sat.–Sun. from Nov. 17 through Dec. Nov: 10am–2pm (plus Fri., Nov. 23); Dec.: 1–5pm (plus Mon., Dec. 24). Breakfast with Santa: Dec 1–2, 8–9, 15–16, 22–23, with 8:30 and 11am seatings. Adults, $45; children (3–11), $35; children (under 3), $15. 875 N. Michigan, 888.875.VIEW.


The Rockettes

Wonderland Express

From Dec. 14 to 30, see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular: Starring The Rockettes (above), as the dancers perform new numbers in front of new sets with breathtaking special effects at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont. $35.50– $89. 5400 N. River Rd. in Rosemont, 847.671.5100. (For more, see page 36.)

Wonderland Express pulls into the Chicago Botanic Garden transforming the 385-acre oasis into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, garden-scale trains, and miniature Chicago landmarks. Nov. 23–Jan. 6. 10am–6pm. Adults, $12; children/seniors, $10. 1000 Lake Cook Rd. in Glencoe, 847.835.5440.

Enchanted Railroad

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

Make special family memories with the recently redesigned Enchanted Railroad model train display. The annual holiday favorite returns to the Visitor Center at Morton Arboretum. Nov. 23–Jan. 6. 9am–4pm. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Adults (18–64), $12; seniors (65+), $11; children (2–17), $9. Discount admission on Wed. 4100 Illinois Rte. 53 in Lisle, 630.968.0074.

Holiday Light Show A drive-thru tradition, the annual “A Winter Wonderland” Holiday Light Show returns to the Cuneo Museum and Gardens, with more than 250 light displays. From Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. 6–10pm. Mon.–Thu., $5 per car; Fri–Sun., $10 per car. Enter north of Rte. 60 on Lakeview Pkwy. in Vernon Hills, 847.362.3042. 12

holiday activity guide

See the Brookfield Zoo’s 30th annual Holiday Magic (right), featuring nearly 1 million twinkling lights, a dazzling light show, ice-carving demonstrations, live music, and more. Select Dec. dates from 4 to 9pm. Adults, $13.50; kids, $9.50. 1st Ave. & 31st St. in Brookfield, 708.688.8000.


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Looking for Santa? Find him... 1,000 feet up at John Hancock Observatory (875 N. Michigan; 888.875.VIEW).

Welcoming shoppers at the 900 Shops (900 N. Michigan; 312.915.3916).

Covering the downtown Loop shopping corridor and Theater District at the Macy’s SantaLand (111 N. State; 312.781.4483).

Under the city’s official Christmas tree at Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington; 312.744.3315)

Greeting the kids at Winter WonderFest on Navy Pier (600 E. Grand; 312.595.PIER).

Bringing some joy to the animals during the ZooLights Festival at Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 N. Clark; 312.742.2000).

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holiday activity guide


The Magnificent Mile

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Truly Magnificent ’Tis the season to go shopping. With hundreds of retailers located on the Magnificent Mile, shoppers can find gifts for loved ones of all ages. Michigan Ave. is home to some well-known flagship stores, such as Nike Chicago, AT&T, Banana Republic, and the new Burberry store, as well as some local gems. Be sure not to miss the stores in all of Michigan Avenue’s multi-level shopping malls. The splendid shopping stretch famously gave birth to the concept of the vertical shopping mall, paving the way with the illustrious Water Tower Place (835 N. Michigan, 312.440.3166) back in 1975. Across the street sits the glitzy, seven-story 900 Shops (900 N. Michigan, 312.915.3916), anchored by the Bloomingdales department store. Finally, a few blocks south, find the Shops at North Bridge (520 N. Michigan, 312.327.2300), home to the high-fashion retailer Nordstrom. To help guide you through all of the holiday madness, KEY guides you to find the stores that best suit your gift-giving needs:

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For babies, tikes, and toddlers: Go with the classic brands that kids love, such as the Disney Store (717 N. Michigan, 312.654.9208), with everything from clothes to home décor emblazoned with Disney characters. Or you can try American Girl Place (835 N. Michigan, 312.943.9400) or the LEGO Store (835 N. Michigan, 312.494.0760), both located in Water Tower Place and stocked with toys for your little ones. The Chicago-based Galt Toys + Galt Baby (900 N. Michigan, 312.440.9550) has a wide selection of strollers, toys, baby gear, nursery furniture, and cribs. For fashionistas: The vast, newly reopened global Burberry flagship (633 N. Michigan, 312.787.2500) carries both staples and trendy Just off the Mile items, and the gorgeous plaid façade is not one to be Just a short walk off the Mag Mile, missed. You can find big brands at the concept Ann enjoy these shopping destinations as well: Taylor store (600 N. Michigan, 312.587.8301) and Mary Mary Forever 21, aka XXI (540 N. Michigan, A gift-giver’s haven decorated like a winter wonderland, inside a 133-year-old brownstone. 312.329.0485), or at hip overseas contemporary 706 N. Dearborn, 312.654.8100. stores such as British retailers Topshop (830 N. P.O.S.H. Michigan, 312.280.6834) and Allsaints (700 N. Antiques and vintage items, dinnerware and Michigan, 312.283.0400), Sweden’s H&M (800 N. glassware, flea-market finds and unique gift items, Michigan, 855.466.7467), and Spanish clothing all in one store. 613 N. State, 312.280.1602. and accessories store Zara (700 N. Michigan, Tessuti 312.255.8123). For a totally Chicago shopping experiA men’s fine clothing retailer, where you can ence, try Akira Chicago (835 N. Michigan, buy a custom suit or a pair of jeans. 50 E. Oak, 312.266.4949. 312.280.4820), featuring trends from more than 150 local and national designers.

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holiday activity guide


For sports fanatics: The Nike Chicago flagship (669 N. Michigan, 312.642.6363) reopened this fall, with four stories and more than 50,000-square-foot of pure Nike heaven. In honor of Michael Jordan’s 13 seasons with the Bulls, the concept store is home to the world’s largest selection of Jordan Brand footwear, apparel and equipment. For fine art: Find paintings and prints from the Old Masters to contemporary works at Atlas Galleries (535 N. Michigan, 800.423.7635; 900 N. Michigan Ave., 800.545.2929). If glass art is more your thing, find one-of-a-kind, hand-blown glass vases, bottles, and home décor at Lotton Gallery (900 N. Michigan, 312.664.6203). For unique jewelry: Gorgeous bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more from dozens of local and national designers await you at Local Charm (835 N. Michigan, 312.202.1210). You can also stop into Pandora Jewelry (835 N. Michigan, 312.915.0647) for its fine pieces in sterling silver, 14k solid gold, and two-tone.

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Holidays in the Loop Chicago’s Loop neighborhood is always buzzing with activity, but no more so than around the holidays. Here’s a holidaytheme itinerary for how to spend a funfilled afternoon in the Loop: Start your day off right at Yolk (1120 S. Michigan, 312.789.9655) with one of its specialty omelets or pancakes. If it’s not too cold, stroll down Michigan Ave., or take the #3 or #4 bus, past the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan, 312.443.3600) and the wreathed lions out front, to Millennium Park. Burn off your brunch with an ice-skate at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (Michigan and Washington), starting at 12pm. You may be hungry again, so grab a brat and one of its famous root beers at the Berghoff (17 W. Adams, 312.427.3170), a German restaurant with lots of

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink


holiday spirit. Or nosh on snacks from German American outdoor market Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington, 312.494.2175), starting Nov. 20. (for more, see page 36). Get some holiday shopping done at cap company New Era’s flagship store (207 S. State, 312.663.4495) or at Block Thirty Seven Shops on State (108 N. State, 312.261.4700), with shops including Akira Chicago, Local Charm, and Magnolia Bakery. Hop across the street and into Macy’s on State (111 N. State, 312.781.4483), where you can see the famous holiday windows (this year’s theme is “The Magic of Christmas”) and the Christmas tree, all lit up in the Walnut Room (for more, see page 42).

Block Thirty-Seven Shops on State

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If that’s not enough shopping for you, keep going—you’ll find holiday specials all season long through the Chicago Loop Alliance’s Winter WonderLoop, with dozens of participating shops and restau-


rants in the Loop, running from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. On Black Friday and on all Sat. from Dec. 1 to 22, experience Winter WonderLoop’s “Random Acts of Holidays”—free and spontaneous experiences around the Loop, ranging from strolling carolers to street performances from the Joffrey Ballet to free beverages and pastries from Corner Bakery.

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At night, there’s a lot of holiday theater to choose from. At the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph, 800.775.2000), you can see Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical (Dec. 5–16), or see A Christmas Carol (Nov. 17–Dec. 29) at the Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn, 312.443.3800). You can also watch The Joffrey Ballet’s Sca n The Nutcracker (Dec. 7– 27) at the Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress, 800.982.2787). If you see the show Mon.–Fri., stop into Midtown Kitchen + Bar (203 N. LaSalle, 312.379.5086).

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A Dilly of a Tradition Stockings hanging from the fireplace. A plate of cookies for Santa. Eggnog. Some holiday phenomena can only be explained by tradition. And yet, even at their strangest, many of these quirky traditions eventually come to define the Christmas season for many folks. Little eccentricities that would make little sense at any other time of year are somehow foregone conclusions in Dec.

“ W The in B gs e in s t t h G ri e lle Ci d ty ”

The Berghoff

Take the Pickle in the Pine, for instance. A distinct holiday custom for generations of Chicagoans, the pickle ornament continues a long and storied run at the venerable Berghoff restaurant (17 W. Adams; 312.427.3170). Each year, families will come downtown to enjoy a classic meal and a few authentic German brews, and children are invited to comb through the lighted branches of the decorated tree in the Century Room to find the pickle ornament. This year, children under 12

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who are lucky enough to find the pickle will be treated to a FREE root beer. It’s a Merry Christmas— German, by way of Chicago. After dinner, the Christkindlmarket at nearby Daley Plaza beckons those in search of even more European holiday tradition (50 W. Washington; 312.494.2175). Now in its 16th season, this open-air, German-style market features more than 50 food and craft vendors, selling everything from bratwurst to blown-glass ornaments (Nov. 20–Dec. 24). Who knows? You might even find a pickle for your tree at home.


Warm Sips There are plenty of places for you to stay warm in Chicago, even when the weather’s chilly—malls on Michigan Ave. and museums, just to name a few. But there’s nothing like a hot chocolate, tea, or coffee to really warm you from the inside out. Here are some places to get some delicious hot drinks in Chicago’s downtown: FOR TEA Argo Tea (various locations, including 1 N. Dearborn, 16 W. Randolph, and 819 N. Rush), a chain started in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, is dedicated to this delicious, soothing hot drink. Choose one of the special tea drinks, such as the pumpkin chai, or one of 30 varieties of loose-leaf teas. Stop into the Drake hotel (140 E. Walton, 312.787.2200) every afternoon from 1 to 5pm for its Afternoon Tea. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches, pastries, and scones with fine, fresh teas such as Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong, a rich Chinese black tea, or a caffeine-free Chamomile Citrus. Add some extra warmth to those beverages with one of the Drake’s tea cocktails.

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You can also find delicious tea service at the Peninsula Chicago (108 E. Superior, 312.337.2888), with custom black teas including the Peninsula Chai, plus finger sandwiches including smoked salmon with dill cream cheese, pastries, and salads, with vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options available. Add on some bubbly for an additional fee. The Lobby Bar at the Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe, 312.726.7500) serves Afternoon Tea from 2 to 4pm in the historic Palmer House lobby. Enjoy teas from the rare tea cellar teas, such as Cloud Kissed Green and Field of France Rooibos, along with petit fours, pastries, and sandwiches. Add $10 for a glass of champagne or a mimosa.


Club Lucky’s award-winning holiday decorations


FOR HOT CHOCOLATE Near Millennium Park, try the Oaxacan Hot Chocolate from Mezcalina Restaurant and Black Coffee Gallery (333 E. Benton, 312.240.5000). It’s a little spicy and a little sweet. Stop in after some iceskating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, and it’ll feel like you’re a kid again. Find rich, chocolatey hot cocoa at Hershey’s (822 N. Michigan, 312.337.771) or right across the street at Godiva Chocolatier (845 N. Michigan, 312.280.1133). Celebrity chef Rick Bayless’s XOCO (449 N. Clark 312.334.3688) serves frothy, thick hot chocolate—perfect for dunking churros in. FOR COFFEE

Penninsula Hotel Lobby

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in Chicago. Their coffee is always freshly roasted, and, if you’re a real coffee geek, you’ll enjoy that the store’s primary method of brewing is the pourover. While it’s a little slower to make, the coffee tastes fresher because it hasn’t been sitting in a pot all day. You can also get a good cup of freshly roasted Intelligentsia coffee at Local Root Café (601 N. McClurg, 312.643.1145). An adorable coffee shop lies on the bottom floor of Sunny Side Up and Coffee Shoppe (42 E. Candy Cane Coffee Superior, 312.930.4242), at Red Head Piano Bar which lives in a historic brownstone. Stop in to get a cup or two of Sparrow Coffee Roastery coffee, a local ecofriendly company.


Santa’s Little Helpers One of the best parts of the holidays are all the fun specials on restaurant and bar menus—especially the delicious drinks and cocktails that warm you right up. See below for some of our holiday favorites this year: CLUB LUCKY This Bucktown Italian spot serves the Sleigh Ride (far right), a “secret concoction” of rums, Amarula, and cinnamon sugar, garnished with a white chocolate cigarette. It’s “reminiscent of the old-fashioned Christmas cookies,” says GM Thomas Kleiner. 1824 W. Wabansia, 773.227.2300. GOOSE ISLAND BREWPUB Served only in Nov. and Dec., Goose Island Brewpub’s Christmas Ale (left) is a complex brown ale whose recipe changes just slightly from year to year. Enjoy it with ham, turkey, or lamb. 1800 N. Clybourn, 312.915.0071; 3535 N. Clark, 773.832.9040. MICHAEL JORDAN’S STEAKHOUSE This one will knock your socks right off (and nicely accompany a good steak): the Holiday Flip includes Pig’s Nose Scotch, Falernum, Boston Bual Madeira, whiskey barrel bitters, and a whole egg, with hints of maple, cinnamon, and allspice. 505 N. Michigan, 312.321.8823.

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holiday activity guide


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Holidays On Stage


Holiday Traditions A Christmas Carol celebrates its 35th anniversary this year at the Goodman Theatre, where it will continue to delight Chicago audiences as it always has. A portrayal of the discovery of life and love, this classic Charles Dickens’ story brings the “Bah! Humbug!” to Chicago. Nov. 17– Dec. 29. $25–$82. 170 N. Dearborn. 312.443.3800. Kick up your holiday celebrations with one of Chicagoland’s most popular family events. Complete with magical toys, dancing snowflakes and exotic sweets, Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker features unforgettable characters along with the Chicago Sinfonietta’s musical accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s classic score. Auditorium Theatre. Dec. 7–27. $31– $132. 50 E. Congress, 800.982.2787.

The Santaland Diaries

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Travel back to a 1940s radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday classic It’s a


Wonderful Life with live sound effects, an original score, and a stellar cast that brings Bedford Falls to life in It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph! playing at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. Nov. 23–Dec. 30. $19–$39. 2433 N. Lincoln, 773.871.3000.

Adults Only—Shamefully Funny For those looking for an alternative to the holiday classics, head to the Second City or UP Comedy Club for the Nutcracking Holiday Revue, featuring Second City’s trademark improvisation with a sprig of holiday mischief. Nov. 22–Dec. 30. $25. 1616 N. Wells, 312.337.3992 OR 230 W. North, 3rd Floor, 312.662.4562. See secondcity.com for schedule.

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Whether naughty or nice, The Santaland Diaries at Theater Wit should be on everybody’s holiday list! Don’t miss David Sedaris’ funny, unconventional story of his life as a struggling young writer who reluctantly takes a job as an elf at Macy’s while trying to maintain his dignity. Nov. 23–Dec. 30. $24. 1229 W. Belmont, 773.975.8150.

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What if Justin Bieber had never been born? It’s a Bieberful Life at the ComedySportz Theatre asks this burning question every Fri. through Dec. 29. The tween pop sensation has been having a bad time, with declining sales and lots of scandals. Luckily, he is visited by an angel (who may or may not look like Robert Pattinson). $10. 929 W. Belmont, 773.549.8080.


The House Theatre’s The Nutcracker

Family-Friendly The House Theatre’s fantastical adaptation of The Nutcracker centers on Young Clara journeys to save Christmas, playing at the Chopin Theatre. She fights the Rat King and saves her family, all with a little help from a magical Nutcracker. This modern holiday production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song, and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope. Through Dec. 30. $25–$35. 1543 W. Division, 773.769.3832. Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life on the Cadillac Palace Theatre’s stage with Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos, an endlessly cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit. Dec. 5–16. $18–$85. 151 W. Randolph, 312.384.1502. The Annoyance Theatre presents its annual family-friendly Christmas Pageant—a retelling of the classic holiday stories “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Nov. 30–Dec. 28 (Fri. and Sun.). 38

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$18; children under 12, $14. 4830 N. Broadway, 773.561.4665.

A Christmas Carol‚ a dazzling annual holiday tradition‚ returns to Drury Lane Theatre, which also offers families the opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa on select performance dates. Nov. 23–Dec. 22. $12. 100 Drury Ln. in suburban Oakbrook Terrace, 630.530.0111. From Dec. 14 to 30, the Rockettes perform five new numbers in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular: starring The Rockettes at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont. Showcasing their signature eye-high kicks and precision dance style, the dancers perform five brand-new numbers along with cherished favorites, such as the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the “Living Nativity.” 35.50–$89. 5400 N. River Rd. in suburban Rosemont, 847.671.5100. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella (glass slipper, midnight, pumpkin), but this musical adaptation at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place takes place during the holiday season. From Nov. 23 to Jan. 6, see Emerald City’s version of this favorite fairy tale for a musical holiday wish come true. Best suited for ages 3–10. $16–$27. 75 E. Chestnut, 800.775.2000.


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BAR AND LOUNGE Downtown is the place to unwind after a day at the office or for visitors new to Chicago to relax and meet new friends.

440 NORTH STATE STREET (312)464-1400 WWW.DOWNTOWNBARANDLOUNGE.COM 40

holiday activity guide

Tour Toward the Lights Even though the skies get dark earlier, Chicago brightly shines throughout the holiday season. If you want to see all of the city’s beautiful lights displays throughout the holidays, try a trolley tour with Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. or a Segway tour with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tour. You’lll hit all the favorite holiday attractions— Millennium Park and its brightly lit trees, plus the famous “Bean”; State St. and the Macy’s holiday windows; the huge Christmas tree in Daley Plaza; and Christkindlmarket, a traditional German holiday market, where you can hop off and explore (and perhaps grab a hot chocolate). Chicago Trolley tours runs Fri.–Sun., Nov. 23– Dec. 23, and daily, Dec. 26–31. Departures at 6, 6:30, and 7pm. Adults, $26; children, $19. Departs from the John Hancock Observatory, at the SE corner of Delaware and Michigan. Reservations required: chicagotrolley.com. Absolutely Chicago Segway tours depart from Millennium Park. Thu.–Sat. 6:15pm. $60. Call for reservations: 312.552.5100.


Macy’s Holiday Magic For its 45th year, Macy’s on State Street whimsically decorates its windows with animated characters and stories. This year, the theme is “The Magic of Christmas,” which tells the story of Macy’s history at the State Street store—for instance, you’ll see the character Uncle Mistletoe, who debuted in the store’s holiday windows in 1946, when the store was Marshall Field’s. A combination of Field’s favorite uncle and a Dickens-type character, Uncle Mistletoe was an instant hit. Go inside to see the massive Great Tree rising through multiple stories of the building’s main atrium. At 45 feet tall, the Great Tree is adorned for the first time this year with 42 LED star ornaments and 15,000 LED twinkle lights. After a good thaw and hearty meal at the seventh-floor Walnut Room, customers with kids in tow will surely want to schedule time with the big guy and his jolly old elves on the 5th floor in Macy’s SantaLand. Since 1948, Santa has visited with millions of children in the State Street store. Visit macys.com/events for updates, or call 312.781.4483 for more information and special SantaLand hours.

Honked that your holiday parties are Ho Hum?

Make it Merry with Goose Island {Brewpub or off-site catering options available} Unique Party Rooms or Off-site Catering Seasonal Small Batch Beers Brewery Tours Festive Food and Beer Pairings Pop-up Yuletide Beer Garden

www.gooseisland.com 42

holiday activity guide


Something for Steal a smooch under this Mistletoe Kissing Crystal ($18.50) from MARY MARY. 706 N. Dearborn, 312.654.8100. 15% off with coupon on page 19.

Hand-blown glass perfume bottles and paperweights ($95–$155) from LOTTON GALLERY brighten any home. 900 N. Michigan, 312.664.6203.

Find bold jewelry such as this necklace ($178) and bracelet ($98) at LOCAL CHARM. 835 N. Michigan, 312.202.1210; 108 N. State, 312.332.6203. 15% off with coupon on page 18.

Spruce up your coffee table with Chicago painter Michael Cheney’s new book ($150). ATLAS GALLERIES, 535 N. Michigan, 800.423.7635; 900 N. Michigan, 800.545.2929.

The NEW ERA Pigskin Knit Cap ($24.99) is way warmer than a football helmet. 207 S. State, 312.663.4495. 20% off with coupon on page 23.

HARLEY DAVIDSON fans, celebrate the store’s 110th anniversary with these Men’s Nylon Outerwear Jackets ($130–$150). 66 E. Ohio, 312.274.9666.

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everyone!

The PATAGONIA Women’s Better Sweater Coat ($179), lined with fleece, is perfect for a Midwestern winter. 1800 N. Clybourn, 312.951.0518; 48 E. Walton, 312.640.5934.

Get the morning person in your life this Good Morning Mug ($12) from P.O.S.H. 613 N. State, 312.280.1602.

Get your girl the newest doll from AMERICAN GIRL PLACE, Caroline Abbott ($105 with book). 835 N. Michigan, 877.247.5223.

This charm bracelet from PANDORA's new holiday collection combines 14k gold, sterling silver, and diamonds. Charms start at $35. 835 N. Michigan, 312.915.0647.


Celebrating in Space Explore the connections between the sights and sounds of the holidays in Season of Wonder, a show opening Nov. 16 in the Definiti Space Theater in the Adler Planetarium (1300 S. Lake Shore, 312.922.7827). Discover the reason for the winter solstice, witness the beauty of the Aurora Borealis, and explore the winter sky celebrations of cultures all around the world. After, step into the World’s Largest Snow Globe inside the Grainger Sky Theater, where you can see what it’s like to live inside a giant snow globe. Tickets are $10 plus general admission (adults, $12; seniors, $10; children, 3–11, $8). If space isn’t quite your thing (or if you also want an underwater adventure), hop next door to the Shedd Aquarium (1200 S. Lake Shore, 312.939.2438) for the aquatic show A Holiday Fantasea—you’ll see dolphins, beluga whales, and sea lions, oh my! Tickets are $4 plus general admission.

Happy

Holidays 46

holiday activity guide


KEY This Week In Chicago  

2012 Holiday Activity Guide

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