6 most magical sleigh rides in Chicagoland


By Melissa Haak

Member of the Chicago Parent Blog Network

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling / Ring-ting-tingling too / Come on, it's lovely weather / For a sleigh ride together with you ...”

If you live in the city, there aren’t many options to live out a holiday carol-style sleigh ride, aside from a high-priced carriage ride downtown. If you really want to make a holiday memory, bundle up the family, clear your memory card and head out to the far suburbs or southern Wisconsin and delight in the old-fashioned fun of a horse-drawn sleigh ride. With the amount of snow we are predicted to get this winter, you’ll have the perfect backdrop (and ground cover) for a sleigh ride, caroling optional.

Apple Holler

Located in Sturtevant, Wis., Apple Holler offers horse drawn sleigh rides through its beautiful orchard that ends with a cup of hot chocolate or warm apple cider. Sleigh rides are 30 minutes long, and you can also have s’mores and drinks around a campfire at the end. Rides are $75 for four people and $10 for each additional person. Reservations are required in advance.

Mansell Homestead

Located just 40 minutes from the loop in Peotone, Ill., this serene homestead turns into a winter wonderland when it snows. The horse-drawn sleigh can seat up to three and will take you through rural roads and natural beauty. Sleigh rides are private, require reservations, are 40-45 minutes long and cost $140.

Go Sleigh

Belgian draft horses pull hand-crafted vintage sleighs through the scenic Harvard, Ill. countryside. Sleigh rides are sold as individual tickets for a 30-minute ride and are $18 for adults and $13 for children. Families (up to seven adults and three children) can be booked for a private ride at $119. All rides include jingle bell souvenirs, in-ride Christmas music, warming blankets, padded seats and a fun scavenger hunt! Book or check availability online.

Forest View Farms

With two locations in Tinley Park. and Cedar Lake, Ind., this family-owned business has been providing family-friendly horse fun since the 1950s. Sleigh rides are available for groups and two-passenger rides are available for $50. Call to check availability and schedule a ride.

For all the magic with less of a drive

Historic downtown Long Grove is offering complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides every Saturday and Sunday in December. After your ride, shop or dine at the small family-owned shops and restaurants that line this cute little downtown. Rides are free and are on a first-come, first-served basis, but you must sign up in person at the Galena Canning Company starting at 10 a.m. each day.

Skip the horses, I just need a sleigh

If all you want is an adorable picture of your kids bundled in a historic sleigh while the snow swirls around them, head to Cook Park in Libertyville. A gorgeous vintage sleigh is set up for the perfect photo op in front of the historic Cook Mansion. Bring your camera; there are no photographers.


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