[Skip to Content]

Chicago Loop Alliance releases updated ‘Holidays in the Loop’ list

Posted  4 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160

MEDIA: Photos and video available for download

SOCIAL: #BackInTheLoop    #inTheLoopChi   
@loopchicago     @ChicagoLoopAlliance    @ChiLoopAlliance     @Chicago-Loop-Alliance


CHICAGO—In order to ensure Chicagoans and visitors safely enjoy the holiday season to the fullest, Chicago Loop Alliance has updated “Holidays in the Loop” in accordance with the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Businesses and attractions in the Loop and beyond are featured in the curated list, including many virtual and socially distant, outdoor activities. For ideas on how to make the most of the holidays in Chicago’s official downtown, check out the listings below and the full online guide here. Chicago Loop Alliance has also tracked Loop deals, where to eat and where to shop in the Loop, as well as how to get back in the Loop safely. For more details, visit LoopChicago.com/Holidays.

“It’s been quite a year,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “Everyone deserves a joyful and safe holiday season. We’ve gathered the best attractions in the city to make it fun and easy to plan for the holidays. This is the most wonderful time of the year in the Loop. We want folks to know that despite what a challenging year it’s been, Chicago’s official downtown is ready to welcome everyone with the magic and cheer you’ve come to expect from the Loop during the holidays.”

New this year, Chicago Loop Alliance is also matching local artists with Loop businesses for a holiday window painting project. Holidays in the Loop Painted Windows are scheduled to be painted now through Nov. 22 and will remain up through the first week of January 2021. So far theWit Hotel, StayPineapple Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet and 130 S. State St. have signed onto the project.

“We want to celebrate the holidays in the Loop in a way that people can enjoy safely and from a distance,” said Chicago Loop Alliance Director of Planning Kalindi Parikh. “We also want to support local artists and businesses. We’ve done storefront window painting projects in the past and found them to be really impactful, so we’re excited to be incorporating this tactic into holiday celebrations.”

Celebrate the Holidays in the Loop

What: Macy’s Walnut Room
When: Now through Jan. 3
Where: 111 N. State St.
Description: The Walnut Room reopened for Great Tree viewing and take-out orders on Nov. 7. Macy’s is offering the opportunity to bring the Walnut Room dining to your home through convenient, family-style takeout orders and meal kits. Limited reservations remain available for Nov. 15-Jan. 3 on OpenTable.com. When indoor dining is permitted to resume, reservations will be required in advance. 

What: Art on theMART: The Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza
Description: The Nutcracker presentation for Art on theMART, set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. The performance runs nightly at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The projections — displayed on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-facade — can be viewed for free from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

What: Macy’s State Street holiday windows
When: Now through Jan. 5
Where: 111 N. State St.
Description: Since the early 1870s, Macy’s has been stunning spectators with its famed holiday window displays and celebratory events. Macy’s was the first store to feature holiday windows created for the pure fun and joy of the season and, with that, began a tradition that still lives on today. Be sure to go inside the store to see the Macy’s Christmas Tree, too—but don't forget your mask!

What: Holidays in the Loop Painted Windows by Chicago Loop Alliance
When: Nov. 22-Jan. 8
Where: Various locations on State Street including theWit Hotel, StayPineapple Chicago and 130 S. State St.
Description: Chicago Loop Alliance has paired local artists with Loop businesses for a holiday window painting project. Enjoy beautiful artwork outside and at a safe distance. 

What: City of Chicago’s 107th Christmas Tree
When: Nov. 20-Jan. 7
Where: Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.
Description: This year's official lighting will take place virtually, but Chicagoans are encouraged to visit the festive site on their own. This year’s Tree is a 45-foot Blue Spruce donated by the family of Catherine Townsend of Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood (19th ward). Millennium Park holiday programs are produced by DCASE and presented by Powering Chicago, with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and Chicago Transit Authority.

What: Merry Christmas from DePaul: A Project Bluelight Production
When: Nov. 20-Jan. 31
Where: 247 S. State St.
Description: The School of Cinematic Arts, in collaboration with the Division of Mission and Ministry at DePaul University, presents the 2nd annual Christmas tradition reminiscent of the fabled Christmas windows that once lined downtown State Street. Produced by animation and production design faculty and students, the “Merry Christmas from DePaul” window utilizes state-of-the-art technology to build an imaginative, 3-D experience rooted in the message and vision “Christmas at DePaul”—designed to touch our humanity, evoke a sense of communal joy, celebrate DePaul’s Catholic identity, and share the magic of Christmas.

What: Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon
When: Nov. 20-Feb. 28
Where: 337 E. Randolph St.
Description: Come and skate the quarter mile Alpine inspired ice-skating ribbon, while taking in the magnificent views of the Chicago Skyline. Masks and reservations required.

What: Outdoor public art tours with DCASE
When: Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 and 19 at 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Where: Throughout the Millennium Park Campus and Chicago Cultural Center
Description: In-person, outdoor tours highlight significant works or art throughout the Millennium Park Campus and Chicago Cultural Center. Tours cover artworks across the Millennium Park Campus by Edra Soto, Anish Kapoor and Kerry James Marshall, among others.

What: Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo
When: Nov. 21-Jan. 3
Where: 2001 N. Clark St.
Description: Zoolights, a Chicago tradition, is back at Lincoln Park Zoo for a fun and safe holiday activity! Enjoy socially-distant visits with Santa, a holiday pop-up bar, an Enchanted Forest, Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ, sweet treats of all kinds, and much more!

What: CTA Holiday Train and Bus
When: Nov. 27-Dec. 21
Where: Throughout the city
Description: One of Chicago’s most beloved holiday traditions – the CTA Holiday Train and Bus – will continue in 2020, though with restrictions in place to keep everyone healthy for the holidays. Santa and his elves will stay socially distanced this holiday season, meaning that customers won’t be able to board the CTA Holiday Train or the CTA Holiday Bus. Instead, the CTA Holiday Fleet will run along each rail line and multiple bus routes, spreading holiday cheer across the city. As in previous years, when the CTA Holiday Train rolls through stations throughout the CTA system, riders will see an eye-catching, fantastically festive, six-car train decorated with holiday scenes, thousands of sparkling lights and bright LED signage displays. Santa and his reindeer, once again, will ride along outside, on a flatbed car in the middle of the train, traveling from line to line to wave to children and their families. Find the schedule and more information here.

What: Private Holiday Lights Trolley Tour
Where: Aries Charter
Description: Ready to get your family out of the house for some good, old-fashioned holiday fun? Get together safely with those you love and sleigh the season with a Holiday Trolley or bus ride driven by Aries Charter Transportation! Aries Charter can help you experience the magic of holiday light tours without distraction! Allow them to drive while you enjoy the festive light displays. It’s a unique and safe alternative to make 2020’s holiday season brighter. And let’s face it, we could all use a little extra cheer right now!

What: Shoreline Sightseeing
Where: 600 E. Grand Ave.
Description: From architecture river tours that show the highlights and history of Chicago's greatest buildings to tours on Lake Michigan that give you a whole new perspective on the Chicago skyline, Shoreline Sightseeing covers the waterfront. With the city’s largest fleet – 11 touring vessels and six water taxis – and dozens of architectural guides, Shoreline Sightseeing is one of Chicago’s most popular tours.

Celebrate the Holidays in the Loop – virtually

What: Christkindlmarket
When: Now through Dec. 31
Description: The first-ever virtual Christkindlmarket “Home for the Holidays," features an online marketplace, family-friendly events, and fun interactive activities. The market features ornaments, gifts, sweets and treats from Germany and beyond, as well as special limited-edition gift box sets, including German holiday favorites and "must-haves." Other special activities include live online events, prize giveaways, and intercultural storytelling. Visitors can also explore German customs, and participate in giveaway events and a daily Advent Calendar.

What: “The People’s Palace” Virtual Tours
When: Now through March 1
Description: The virtual tours are on-demand and cover the stunning architecture and history of the Chicago Cultural Center, completed in 1897. Explore the Tiffany Dome, and other building high points where the country’s top architects and craftsmen used the most sumptuous materials, such as rare imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, and mosaics of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone, to create an architectural showplace.

What: Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Holidays
When: Nov. 19
Description: Presented in lieu of an in-person tree lighting ceremony for the public, the holiday greeting from Mayor Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman takes on a new form. Produced by Kurtis Productions with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and DCASE. Special acknowledgements of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and music performances recorded at the Epiphany Center for the Arts featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de México Ensemble and Percy Bady and friends – with a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” The event will be archived and viewable throughout the holiday season.

What: “A Christmas Carol”
When: Dec. 1-31
Description: Enjoy this gift to the Chicago community. Experience Goodman Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" anew with a FREE audio streaming version. The voices you love--including Larry Yando as Scrooge--and Goodman Theatre's signature soundscape come to vivid life in your home. Whether your loved ones are across the miles or across the room--come together and listen to Chicago's favorite holiday tradition for more than 43 years. 

What: Re-ACTIVATE – A Virtual Fundraiser
When: Dec. 3
Description: Chicago Loop Alliance is proud to present Re-ACTIVATE, a virtual fundraiser to support the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation and the recovery of the Loop neighborhood. Live painting, compelling conversation, and celebrity guests await!

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. CLA is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events.


Exclusive Loop deals, recommendations, and news direct from Chicago Loop Alliance.