Chicago at the holidays: Is there anything more beautiful?
For many families, checking out the holiday lights has become a tradition. But what if you could see all the twinkles without having to guard yourself against Jack Frost's fury?
That's where the Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour comes in. Guests board the festive-looking trolleys for a tour through our very own winter wonderland, complete with stops at Lincoln Park Zoo and Christkindlmarket, where guests can get off and explore.
The two-and-a-half-hour tours begin on Michigan Avenue and hit all the holiday hot spots, including Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier and, of course, Macy's on State Street. Along the way, a tour guide "lightly narrates" the ride, doling out fun facts about the Zoo Lights, the iconic Marshall Field's windows and the general history of Christmas in Chicago.
"Not many people think of coming to Chicago in November or December, but it's really pretty," says Trisha Carey, marketing manager for Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. "You get to sit in a trolley and stay warm and still see everything."
She says trolleys provide a cozy space for sightseeing. You'll still want to dress for winter, though, if you plan on getting off at either of the stops.
Carey also says guests will receive coupons for wintertime treats like brownies and hot chocolate.
The holiday lights tour began last year but has expanded in 2012 with five trolleys departing at each of the pick-up times. And Carey promises that even if you took one of last year's tours, it's still worth doing again-and could even become a new holiday tradition.
"It definitely won't be the same tour guide each year, and everyone has their own take on Christmas in Chicago," Carey says. "We're going to try and switch it up a bit... It's a fun, different season."
And a beautiful one at that.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.