Everyone knows about the typical tourist attractions in Chicago for a family staycation, but there are other hidden gems your family can enjoy together this winter break. If you live in the City of Chicago, or in a nearby suburb, you probably already enjoy many of the typical staycation amenities available. So what do you do when your family needs to get away for a vacation but you need to stay close to home? Participate in some of the local events that will keep the family happy and make you feel like you went on a magical vacation for the day, or rent a hotel room downtown for the weekend and do all these events together and enjoy the winter break as a family.
The Morton Arboretum has its 33rd annual Hunt for the Yule Log on December 26, 2010 from 2 to 4 pm. The whole family will be involved in figuring out the answers to clues to find the elusive Yule Log. If your children are a little young for this event, there is a drop in Yule Twig Hunt from 11 am to 4 pm at the Children’s Garden area. After the excitement of the Yule Log, there are other great activities to attend such as a bonfire and a log-sawing celebration. Since it is cold in December, and this is an outdoor event, be sure to dress appropriately.
Santa on a Train is always a popular event in many communities. Whether it’s a Metra train ride based on Polar Express the book with a reading and gift, or the CTA Holiday Train decked out in its holiday finery, there is a Santa traveling by train near you. Most of the Polar Express train rides are reserved through a local park district. Almost every weekend leading up to Christmas has a Polar Express train ride to board near your location. Most Polar Express rides tend to cost from $10 to $20 per person, depending on whether you are a resident of that park district or not. The CTA Holiday Train doesn’t cost extra to ride and features a flatbed car with Santa in his sleigh waving to passengers. The Holiday train runs from approximately 1 pm to 9 pm on weekends and 3 pm to 7 pm on select weekdays on the various L lines.
The Winter WonderLoopis the Chicago Loop Alliance’s second annual offering of stories and movies for the family throughout the Loop. P resented by the Illinois Center for Broadcasting – Chicago Campus, there are free Holiday Movies in the Park in Pritzker Park on State and Van Buren. Show times are Wednesday evening at 5:30 pm, from December 1 – 15 . Bring the family to the free Story Time at Hotel Burnham, 1 W. Washington St., on November 20, December 4 & 11th at 11 am for hot cocoa and hear special guests read classic holiday tales.