If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday event that’s all about savoring the sensory delights of the festive season with your children, a holiday tea may be just the answer. And if you’re looking to enjoy some time away from the kids to do something special with girlfriends or relatives, holiday tea is, again, definitely a great option. Here are some of our favorites in and around Chicago.
If you love artisanal desserts in the city – Vanille
2108 N. Clark Street, Chicago
Nov. 17-Jan. 7
Seatings at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Price: $49 per person for Holiday Tea
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Gingerbread macaron
Vanille’s Lincoln Park location will feature a holiday tea. If you need a break from the holidays and want straight up tea, head to the new Lakeview location at 3243 N. Broadway, which offers the standard tea menu.
If you love live music – Drury Lane
100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace
Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23
Seatings from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: $35 for adults, $25 for children 3-12, free for children under 3
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Spiced ginger plum tea
Christmas favorites played by a classical pianist and a 20-foot Christmas tree with twinkling lights set a lovely and relaxing seen at Drury Lane. Enjoy seasonal specialties like freshly baked breads and scones, holiday tea sandwiches, desserts (of course), as well as an assortment of seasonal teas, including harvest apple spice and spiced ginger plum. For kids there is hot chocolate and adults can have champagne. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance.
If you love elegance – Palmer House Hilton Lockwood Restaurant
17 E. Monroe St., Chicago
Through Jan. 1
Seatings from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: $50 for adults, $22 for children
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Nutmeg oatmeal apple pie
Enjoy a special holiday tea menu featuring traditional afternoon tea accouterments, plus a festive twist on an array of holiday-inspired pastries, sweets and beverages. Tea is coupled with weekend entertainment. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available when 24-hour notice is given.
If you’re a Francophile – Suzette’s Creperie
211 West Front Street, Wheaton
Through Dec. 31
Seatings at 2:30 p.m. Mondays – Saturdays; 1 p.m. Sundays
$34.50 for adults, $15.50 children’s tea for ages 9 and younger
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Pumpkin cider bisque
Think tea is just for the English? Au contraire, mon frère. Suzettes is an incredibly cute creperie located a short walk from the Wheaton Metra stop, and it upholds the French pastry tradition quite nicely. The atmosphere is warm and cozy, with some wingback chairs that make little ones feel extra special. Grab some Christmas cookies from the adjoining patisserie.
If your children love art – 36th Annual Holiday Treasure Hunt and Tea Party at Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave (use Monroe Street entrance), Chicago
Start times at 10:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
$50 for adults, $20 for children, free for children under 2
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Finger sandwiches
Tea at the Art Institute sounds pretty great in the first place, but the fact that it is held in the historic Stock Exchange Trading room and that Artie the Lion will be in attendance makes it even more special. Kids may have an easier time sitting still after completing the scavenger hunt which takes them to five stops in the museum’s galleries and Ryan Learning Center where they can fill their activity book with stamps and stickers as they learn about the art.
If you have a tween who is tough to impress – The Allis at Soho House
113-125 N. Green St., Chicago
Seatings 2:45 p.m. – 5 p.m.
$34 per person or a la carte
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Chocolate cake
This venue strikes the perfect balance of classic tea in a pretty, modern and relaxed setting. For example, you get the classic tea tower but on modern black and white china. It’s not so fussy that tweens are turned off, but it still feels like a special time.
If you want to take part in a Chicago tradition – Palm Court at The Drake
140 E. Walton Place, Chicago
Through Dec. 31
Seatings at 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$49 for adults, $24 for children ages 3-12
Taste treat we can’t wait to try: Crab salad tartlet
High tea at Palm Court in The Drake Hotel began in the 1920’s. Walking into this Gold Coast landmark, especially around the holidays, feels like stepping back in time to old Chicago and a world where there were no smartphones or modern stresses. With strolling carolers, festive pastry petit fours and stunning seasonal decor, it’s an event.