Shopping, shows, sights and lights, Chicago’s festival markets and moments seem to be descending at express-train speed. But instead of shouting “stop the train,” take control of the season with a holiday staycation that balances shopping with spa time and specialty cocktails and festivals with fitness center wellness.
Several Chicago hotels are putting together packages that make staying downtown a fun alternative to insanely commuting to catch events. Because holiday gifts and sights stretch from Macy’s on State to the Magnificent Mile. a good plan is to make your holiday headquarters a hotel near Michigan Avenue either north or south of the Chicago River. The “where” depends on what events you want to fit in and your personal style.
Two places that fit the spa, fitness, and cocktail requirements for your holiday staycation, plus have rooms with great views and seasonal deals, are the Peninsula Chicago on East Superior Street and North Michigan Avenue and The Wit at State and Lake in the Loop.
At the Peninsula Chicago, it only takes an elevator ride to the 19th floor to fall in love with the half-Olympic size pool overlooking the Magnificent Mile and the Fitness Center with its all-glass city views. They are part of the Wellness Center that continues with spa facilities up another level.
At night, go to the Z Bar on the 6th floor for hand-crafted cocktails, gourmet cuisine, and city lights. Listed in the Forbes 2019 Travel Guide of World’s Best Hotel Bars, the Z Bar is chic and a relaxing place to wind down.
Also check out the Peninsula’s Holiday Packages, such as Holly Jolly Chicago, which includes complimentary skating at the hotel’s Sky Rink and dessert at the hotel’s Chocolate Bar for two Friday or Saturday evenings—absolutely perfect for your holiday staycation!
Go to the Z Bar at the Peninsula before or after a show. (Photo by Neil John Burger)The hotel is perfectly located for: the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on November 22 – 23. It’s also perfect for finding gifts at Water Tower and along the Mag Mile. Be sure to go over to the new, world’s largest Starbucks Roastery in the former Crate & Barrel building. You can get way more than a latte there.
Staying here also means seeing Lookingglass Theatre’s award-winning “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” or exploring the Driehaus Museum, an exceptional mansion with Tiffany glass lamps and a Tiffany window exhibit, without having to worry about driving or parking.
As to style, Peninsula Chicago is a 5-star luxury hotel that complements its North Michigan Avenue Magnificent Mile corner at 108 E. Superior St., Chicago.
You’re in the Loop when you stay at theWit, the ultimate place for a holiday staycation.
Well-situated at State and Lake Streets, the hotel is just a block north of Macy’s, where you can shop its new perfumery or toy shop, lunch under the tree in the Walnut Room, or just peer into the store’s cute holiday windows.
Staying here makes it easy to Carol at Cloud Gate (think the Bean) and ice skate on one of Millennial Park’s rinks. Save time to sip German beer and nosh on potato pancakes at Christkindlmarket a couple of blocks west of the park on Washington Street.
A short bus ride south takes you to the Auditorium Theatre for the Joffrey Ballet’s’ gorgeous The Nutcracker. Or merely walk a block west to see Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. You’ll see why the show is on the mus-do holiday list for many Chicago-area families.
If you haven’t seen the Art Institute of Chicago’s Thorne Miniature Rooms now is a great time to go because some are decorated for the holidays. Plus, you can take a selfie outside by the wreathed lions.
Exploring the nearby holiday events will help burn off the treats you will want to try after seeing Chef Toni’s gingerbread village in the lobby that has edible characters and sweets available for purchase online at A Bit of theWit.
In between shopping and shows, stop at the hotel’s State and Lake Chicago Tavern, Executive Chef Nathan Sears’s gastropub with artisanal American cuisine.
The place to hang out here is ROOF at theWit, 27 stories above the madding crowd. A Chicago Loop theater ticket will get you a complimentary drink with the purchase of a drink. Among the top 10 rooftop bars in the country, it features a DJ on weekends plus champagne on Sundays and Thursdays.
The other places to de-stress from holiday dashing are the Spa @ theWit and the fitness center, which has floor-to-ceiling views of the city.
As to style, theWit is a Four Diamond hotel with a sleek, contemporary vibe in the Doubletree by Hilton group at 201 N State St, Chicago.
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Featured Image Credit: Maggie Daley Ice Skating Rink