The Chicago River, known for its stunning architectural features. During the holiday season, the river and its surrounding areas come alive with festivities and a vibrant display of lights and decorations. Here are six things to do around the Chicago River.
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
In 1992, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival was established, and it quickly became a staple of Chicago's holiday celebrations. Held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the festival includes a magnificent parade along Michigan Avenue, featuring grandly illuminated floats and marching bands. This event attracts thousands of spectators, and the parade route culminates at Pioneer Court, where the lighting of over one million lights takes place, transforming the area into a dazzling winter wonderland.
The Chicago Riverwalk
The development of the Chicago Riverwalk has significantly enhanced the holiday experience along the river. The Riverwalk features a wide array of dining options, art installations, and recreational activities. During the holiday season, the Riverwalk is decorated with festive lights, creating a charming atmosphere for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Christmas Carol Cruise
One of the unique holiday traditions on the Chicago River is the Christmas Carol Cruise. Local boat tour companies offer these special cruises during December. Passengers can enjoy the stunning views of Chicago's skyline while listening to holiday carolers and taking in the beautifully decorated buildings along the river.
The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting
Every year, the city of Chicago hosts an official tree-lighting ceremony, featuring a towering Christmas tree adorned with thousands of lights. The tree is typically placed in Millennium Park or at Daley Plaza. The event draws a large crowd and marks the beginning of the holiday season in the city.
Holiday Riverwalk Market:
In recent years, the Chicago Riverwalk has been home to a Holiday Riverwalk Market during the festive season. Local vendors set up shop, offering unique gifts, holiday treats, and crafts. This market provides an opportunity for both residents and visitors to do some holiday shopping in a picturesque setting.
Head to the Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza, an enchanting open-air holiday market inspired by the traditions of Nuremberg, Germany. Shop for unique gifts and indulge in festive treats.