Visit the North Pole without leaving the Midwest

 
 

Winter is near, which means it's time to look at the holiday calendar and plan how to fit in some merrymaking amid the chaos. Here are three places just as jolly as the North Pole, yet closer.

 
 

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

Wonderfest at Navy Pier, Chicago
Winterwonderfest.com

From the Kris Kringle carousel to the Reindeer Express train ride through Santa's Workshop to the indoor Ferris Wheel, this magical indoor festival should be a yearly must-do for every Chicagoan. Plan your visit around the crowds.

 
 

The Osthoff Resort, Lake Elkhart, Wisc
Osthoff.com

During select weekends in December, this gem of a resort less than three hours from Chicago hosts an authentic Old World German Christmas market along with a host of holiday activities like making ornaments with Mrs. Claus, breakfast with Santa, a brunch featuring St. Nicholas and real reindeer, and a caroling hayride.

 
 

Galt House Hotel, Louisville, Ky. 
Christmasatthegalthouse.com

This hotel, about five hours from Chicago, becomes North Pole's southern satellite office during the holidays with a Peppermint Express kiddie train ride, a Snow Fairy Princess Tea, the Mistletoe Marketplace and the Colors of the Season Holiday Dinner Show. Of course, Santa is on hand to take requests from kids on the nice list.

 
 
 







 
 
 
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