Old Man Winter arrived in the Chicago area early this year — certainly well before friends and relatives show up for Thanksgiving celebrations. But holiday visitors will quickly learn that Chicagoans won’t let the bitter windchill stop us from enjoying ourselves. There’s always a lot to do in the City of Big Shoulders, so grab your heavy winter coat, lace up those boots, and consider these favorite activities during Thanksgiving break.
Sip Gluehwein and Snack on Schnitzel at Christkindlmarket
The Christkindlmarket, a German-style Christmas market that takes over Daley Plaza during the early winter months, is a beloved annual tradition among locals. Find unique handmade ornaments and decorations for your holiday tree and warm up with gluehwein, a traditional mulled wine drink which originated in southern Germany. Enjoy live music in the food tent and keep an eye out for Christkind, the German Christmas fairy.
Make New Friends at a Wrigleyville Bar Crawl
Need to take a break from visiting friends or relatives at some point? Hey, it happens. That’s just one reason the Turkeycrawl in Wrigleyville exists. Running all evening the night before Thanksgiving, the group will stop at numerous establishments throughout the neighborhood (the crawl schedule won’t be released until November 26). A ticket purchase is also good for entry to other weekend festivities and events in River North.
Shop and Take in the Views Along the Magnificent Mile
A perennial favorite among tourists and visitors, the upscale shopping and historic architecture along North Michigan Avenue is truly magnificent. Some recent arrivals worth visiting include the glassy, gravity-defying Apple flagship store and the brand-new four-story Starbucks roastery and cafe. Stop by the old John Hancock Center (which has been formally renamed simply 875 North Michigan Avenue) to get a bird’s eye view of downtown and Lake Michigan at the 360Chicago observation deck.
Relax and Watch the Bears Take the Lions
Hungry for some football? Find a cozy spot to relax and watch the Chicago Bears play against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving day. Kick off is at 11:30 a.m., and the only thing more satisfying than a (hopeful) Bears win is a Thanksgiving feast to cap it off.
Lace Up Your Skates and Go Ice Skating
Take your guests down to Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink or the nearby ice skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, where skaters can glide through a path that’s twice the length of a lap around a typical rink. As you take a spin around the ice, you’ll be treated to some great skyline views. Admission is free and you can rent skates at both locations.