Hundreds of thousands will line Michigan Avenue to watch as an array of floats, marching bands and musical performers – along with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Santa Claus – make their way down the Avenue, with millions of twinkling white lights strung from the Mile’s more than 200 trees lighting their twilight path. The 5:30pm parade culminates at the bank of the Chicago River, where a spectacular fireworks display will light up the night sky.
But the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is more than just a parade, of course. For many of the Avenue’s merchants and restaurants, kicking off the holiday shopping season means rolling out some great deals and special offers:
Get a unique perspective on the festivities from aboard a decorated (and heated) Wendella tour boat on the Chicago River. The special Lights Festival Cruise departing at 5:45pm on November 19 features onboard carolers, complimentary cookies and hot chocolate, a 90-minute narrated river tour, and an ideal view of the fireworks. 400 N. Michigan; 312/337-1446.
Nothing gets an anxious youngster through the waiting and anticipation of December like a daily dose of candy. On November 19th and 20th, this popular sweet shop is offering a candy-filled Christmas Countdown Calendar for just $3, or free with a $15 purchase. 520 N. Michigan; 312/527-1010 and 3425 N. Southport; 773/472-7800.
Art of all kinds will be featured over the Lights Festival weekend, with nominally priced holiday glitter tattoos for kids and hand-painted, personalized Chicago skyline ornaments available on November 19th. 835 N. Michigan; 312/988-9253.
Texas de Brazil
In celebration of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, you are invited to Breakfast with Santa. Join Texas de Brazil for a special breakfast menu, children’s entertainment, and a surprise visit from Ronald McDonald. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. November 19th from 9am-noon. Adults $25, children under 12 $15. 51 E. Ohio; 312/670-1006.
Head over to Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse or Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier following the parade on November 19th and warm up with a complimentary Italian Hot Chocolate at this popular watering hole. 33 W. Kinzie. 312/828-0966 and 700 E. Grand; 312/527-9700.
Back by popular demand, Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago invites you to celebrate the launch of the holiday season with Reindeer on the River, a festive afternoon featuring special Christmas time guests - two live reindeer, as well as fun reindeer-themed take-aways for children, holiday music and seasonal refreshments. November 19th from 3pm-8pm. FREE. At the Riverwalk, 401 N. Wabash; 312/588-8700.