Chicago in December : Best Places to Visit & Things to Do

Chicago, a city on Lake Michigan’s shore, is one of the largest cities in the US famous for its vintage architecture, skyscrapers, museums and food. The city witnesses the magical winters in December. It makes it a perfect destination for embracing the sparkling city, enjoying the outdoor activities, skating through the ice rinks and celebrating the festive season with utmost zeal. Pack your bags with winter clothes and get ready to enjoy the beauty of the winter wonderland with hot chocolate drinks, Christmas cookies, spiced nuts, adventure activities and whatnot. 

Know all about Chicago in December with this article.

Weather in Chicago in December

December, the beginning of winters in Chicago brings the biting cold in the city with the first snowfall. Temperature goes down to a range of maximum 1.7⁰C and minimum -6⁰C making the place extremely cold, yet fun. The temperature in night stoops to -12.2⁰C with around 58.4 mm dense icy rains. The blanket of snow covers the city, making it a winter wonderland. Sun shines for 4 hours with reduced day duration in the windy month of December.  

Is Travelling to Chicago in December a Good Idea? 

Lake Michigan in December

Dense fog and the frozen lake will force you to layer up with winter clothes and enjoy every bit of this ice-cold month in Chicago. Moreover, the winter does not witness many tourists in the city, reducing the hotel prices, making the winter trip to Chicago much more affordable. So, suppose you are a winter lover and want to enjoy the snow-covered city. In that case, December is an ideal month to visit Chicago as you may witness the festive season, decorated shimmery city, and a lot of fun activities. 

7 Best Places worth Exploration in Chicago in December

1.  The Forge: Lemont Quarries Adventure Park

View of The Forge: Lemont Quarries Adventure Park

Lemont Quarries Adventure Park is a popular adventure park sprawled over 300 acres which bloom during winters. Winter season brings many adventure activities to the park, including ice skating, mountain biking, bouldering, tactical laser tag, and AR games. Additionally, the cosy settings under the stars for dome dining doubles the taste of their winter’s menu. Grab a spot in the holiday light show and live music performances to make your Chicago trip in December memorable. 
Where: - 14657 Main Street, Lemont IL 60439 

2.  The Press Room

Christmas Decor at The Press Room
The aroma of warm nuts, spiced latte, sauerkraut, pretzels, Nutella waffles, potato pancakes in winters is as exciting as it sounds. In Chicago, the Press Room lets you experience this under a single roof in December with its annual Christmas market. Stroll through the fair and shop some German steins, handcrafted ornaments, Italian ceramics, wine, nuts and sweets while enjoying some scrumptiously delicious bakery items of the winter market. Ticket includes a holiday cocktail and a patio table apart from the market entry. 
Timings: - 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM (Daily)
Where: - 1134 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607, United States

3.  Lawry’s The Prime Rib

Dinner room at Lawry's The Prime Rib

Are you a history buff and want to learn about the vintage architecture of the city? Then, Lawry’s The Prime Rib is a perfect destination for you in Chicago. The historic mansion offers private tours to the visitors for exploring the 128 years old McCormick Mansion, its puppet theatre, Opera workshop and colonial-era rooms. The tour also includes food and a souvenir from the Lawry’s mansion. Don’t forget to reserve your tour 48 hours before to avoid the last-minute rush. 
Tour timings: - 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM (Tuesday – Sunday)
Where: - 100 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611, United States 

4.  Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo in Winters

Brookfield Zoo, also known as Chicago Zoological Park organises its annual fest, Holiday Magic for 24 nights in December where pathways are lit with more than one million LED lights making it sparkle like a star-way. A stroll to the 600-foot long tunnel of lights along with a musical gala, a 20 foot lit orbit for a picture-perfect spot, and various animal sculptures beautifies the space. Relish some funnel cakes, burgers, wines and hot chocolate on a winter night in the zoo for a winter holiday spree. 
Ticket Price: - USD 24.95 (Adults), USD 17.95 (Children)
Where: - 8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL 60513, United States

5.  Maggie Daley Park

Ice Rink at Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park, a 20-acre public recreational park features rock climbing walls, tennis courts, lawn area, play garden and various sports arena making itself an ideal family destination. Though the place is fun and pleasant throughout the year, the December month calls for a snowy cover on the park making it even more frolic. Ice skating ribbon in the Maggie Daley Park lets you weave through the park for a lively experience in Chicago in December. Reservations are compulsory, with or without your skates. 
Timings: - 06:00 AM to 09:00 PM
Ticket Price: - USD 5
Where: - 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

 6.  The Dawson Winter Market

Dawson Winter Market

In December, a winter market on the pretty courtyard style patio in Chicago's frosty cold is amusing to explore. Walkthrough the snow-covered lanes and fill your shopping bags with local delicacies, culinary gifts, crafted cocktails and whatnot. Dawson Winter Market nudges your happiness level up to a notch or two with their freshly baked pies, candied pecans, confectionaries, Thai Coffee, brownies, truffles, and grove steaks. 
Timings: - 10:30 AM to 08:00 PM (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: - 730 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

7.  Art On TheMart

Want to catch a glimpse of the largest permanent digital art projection on the planet, Art on TheMart is a not to miss destination if you are in Chicago in December. The brilliant and colourful video is projected over The Mart’s prime facet for letting the visitors view the most mesmerising artwork for free. While moving from the lane or visiting the mall for shopping; don’t miss the animated artwork in December if you are in Chicago. 
Timings: - 7:00 PM onwards
Where: - 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60606, United States 

8 Things to Do in Chicago in December

1. Explore Chicago’s Skyline

Chicago's Skyline in Winters

In winters, Chicago looks ethereal covered with snow, the buildings, roads, parks, every inch of the city turns into a snow wonderland. Here, exploring the city from the skyline becomes a must. Buy a ticket for either 360 Chicago or Skydeck Chicago for a mesmerising view of the snow-covered Chicago.

2.  Attend Chicago Blackhawks Game

Chicago Blackhawks Game in Winters
A hockey fan? Plan a day at a Chicago Blackhawks game and support your favourite team in the arena’s competitive atmosphere. Winter chills, a cup of hot chocolate and ice hockey match, isn’t it a perfect hangout plan for a Chicago trip in December. 

3.  Shop till you drop at Magnificent Mile

Prime facade at The Magnificent Mile

On the streets of Michigan Avenue lies Magnificent Mile, a perfect holiday shopping destination in the city. Housed with some well-renowned brands and stores, a magnificent mile will leave you with some great choices to make from for winter shopping. Additionally, December, the month of festival calls for heavy discounts and pretty Christmas décor around the mall. Grab a go-to snack from its food court and shop till you drop before completing your Chicago holiday in December. 

4.  Enjoy ice skating at Millennium Park

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

Ride on the ice rink in the gigantic park illuminated with city lights filling the holiday memories with adventure. Carry your ice skates and accessories or rent the same at Millennium Park for experiencing the most fun winter sport in the city, that too at a nominal price. 

5.  Plan a ride on the Polar Express

Inside Polar Express Train during Christmas

Every winter, the Amtrak train of Chicago’s Union Station transforms into Polar Express for a merry family holiday experience. Ride through the ice blanketed city of Chicago in Polar Express and entertain yourself with the festive activities. Train ticket includes various fun and frolic activities, a cup of hot chocolates, sleigh bells, and lots of Christmas cookies to binge on. Put on your pyjamas for the exciting train ride and make it a lifelong memory with your family. 

6.  Buy a ticket for Chicago Bulls Game

Chicago Bulls game

Chicago trip in December remains incomplete if you don’t have the Chicago Bulls Game in your itinerary as it is an event which lets you witness the colours of Chicago. Chicago Bulls Game is an indoor winter baseball event where locals gather to attend the enthralling game and support their favourite team with utmost zeal. Buy a signature Chicago Bulls jacket and cheer for your most loved team from the stands to experience the city’s exciting and energetic game.  

7.  Witness the colourful, dazzling fireworks at Navy Pier on New Year’s eve

Fireworks at Navy Pier on New Year's Eve
Planning for New Year’s holiday in Chicago? Don’t miss the city’s colourful and brightest firework, organised every year at Navy Pier. Book a cruise for the dinner night and treat your eyes with the city’s most beautiful firework on New Year’s Eve sipping on champagne. 
Where: - 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

8.  Explore Christkindlmarket 

Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Traditional holiday market in Chicago, Christkindlmarket is a one spot destination in the city for shopping, food, events and cultural activities providing one in all experience to the visitors. Locals and tourists get an opportunity to taste fresh pretzels, hot spiced wine, a musical environment and glittery Christmas ambience, and unique shopping experience every year from November to December in this authentic German market Christkindlmarket.

4 Events to Attend in Chicago in December

1. The Last Speakeasy

Chicago History Museum - Venue for The last speakeasy

An event to celebrate the prohibition’s repeal’s anniversary, The Last Speakeasy is an adult event organised in December by the Chicago History Museum. Dance, games, exhibits, food, drink and whatnot, the event is a perfect night out event if you are in Chicago in December. Dress on the 1920s costume theme and join the party for a perfect evening.
When: - December, 6
Where: - 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States 

2.  Holiday Flower Show

Holiday Flower Show is an awe-inspiring event in Chicago held in December where Lincoln Park Conservatory becomes a blanket of flowers and trees decorated by the Christmas glitter. Be it poinsettias or towering trees, every corner of the conservatory turns into a pretty floral destination. Stroll through every lane of the conservatory for free and make your Chicago trip of December worth remembering. 
When: - November, 25- January, 5 
Where: - 2391 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614, United States

3.  Lightscape 

Lightscape lane

Wandering through the glittering Cathedral of Lights, witnessing the dance performances in the sparkling Field of Light and tuning with the singing trees, all this is possible in the December event of Chicago, Lightscape. Organised by Chicago Botanic Garden, Lightscape is surely a worth attending event which lights up the holiday season with shimmer, colours, music and food in just a 15 minutes’ walk through the lit path. 
When: - November, 21 - January, 3
Where: - 1000 Lake Cook Road Glencoe, IL 60022

4.  One of a Kind Show and Sale at The mart

One of a Kind Show and Sale at The mart

The Mart organises an annual sale in Chicago every December, One of a Kind Show and Sale where thousands or artisans and handcraft artists showcase their best work. Explore every bit of handicraft and buy some accessories, gourmet products, ceramics, jewellery etc. while talking to the designers and makers. Relish authentic food, sip some fuzzing drinks, attend the workshops or fashion shows all under a single roof of The Mart.  
When: -  December, 2- December - 5
Where: - 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654, United States
Don your winter duds and be ready for a fun holiday in Chicago in December!

This post was published by Kadambini Sharma

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