Stay and play or shop a magnificent street or mile

Chicago has dressed for the holidays.

The Magnificent Mile is aglow with holiday lights

The Magnificent Mile is aglow with holiday lights

Trees along North Michigan Avenue’s “Magnificent Mile” twinkle outside like the diamonds sparkling at its Cartier and Tiffany’s stores inside.

Across the Chicago River, LED lights seem to grow like reeds out of State Street sidewalks and families follow a “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” story in Macy’s windows.

Holiday ights and shopping make Daley Plaza's Christmas tree and a Christkindlmarket a fun December destination

Holiday ights and shopping make Daley Plaza's Christmas tree and a Christkindlmarket a fun December destination

Just west of State Street, a Christkindlmarket filled with German food, toys and decorations has returned to Daley Plaza on Washington Street between Clark and Dearborn.

Just east of State Street in Millennium Park, choral groups “Carol at Cloud Gate” (popularly called “The Bean”), 6 p.m. Fridays from Nov. 26 through Dec. 16, 2011. If cold enough for ice, skaters glide across the McCormick Tribune Rink in the park. For more information call 312-742-1168

If you can come, look for a hotel that has holiday shop or play and stay deals. Most downtown and Michigan Avenue hotels are running holiday specials.

Go to Millenium Park to hear carolling at the Cloud Gate sculpture and ice skate on the McCormick Tribune Rink

Go to Millenium Park to hear carolling at the Cloud Gate sculpture and ice skate on the McCormick Tribune Rink





Here are a two choices:

JW Marriott near the Art Institute and Auditorium Theatre

The JW Marriott Chicago has “experiential” packages for the holiday season. For Christmas, guests can do “A Night with the Nutcracker Ballet” which is performed at the nearby Auditorium Theatre.

Before the iconic performance of the Nutcracker by the Joffrey Ballet, guests get signature appetizers and cocktails in the JW Marriott Chicago’s Lobby Lounge.

The package includes: Luxury hotel accommodations, two drinks in lobby lounge, two orchestra seat tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet and a noon check-in available upon request. Package rates range from $409-$459; availability December 9 – 27, 2011

Stop at the Art Institute of Chicago for a family photo with a wreathed lion

Stop at the Art Institute of Chicago for a family photo with a wreathed lion

Or check out the hotel’s “Holiday Shopping Package with Macy’s includes luxury accommodations, $100 Macy’s Gift Card to be used for shopping or lunch in the famed Walnut Room with its 45-foot tree. Package rates from $254-$604; availability until January 31, 2012

Reservations for all packages can be made by calling 312-660-8200 or online. JW Marriott Chicago, 151 W. Adams Street (just west of the Art Institute of Chicago), Chicago, IL

Marriott on Magnificent Mile

To shop with a daughter or granddaughter, stay at the Chicago Marriott Downtown on the Magnificnt Mile and take advantage of the American Girl Place® Package.

Rates range from $189 to $499. However, a recent check of rates turned up $249. This Package is valid through December 31, 2011. Use the promotional code:  EW5

The American Girl Place Package includes:  overnight accommodations, American Girl® doll-sized travel bed to take home, breakfast buffet for two adults and two children  ages 12 and under in the hotel restaurant, cookies and milk upon arrival with welcome note, complimentary use of indoor pool and health club, turndown service and letter from your personal shopper at American Girl Place Chicago. To make reservations for the American Girl Cafe call 1-877-247-5223.

Photos courtesy of North Michigan Avenue Association,  City of Chicago and Art Institute of Chicago

Happy Holidays

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