Before, during, or after the big event, be sure to check out all the other great ways to celebrate the season during this wonderful Chicago holiday:
Breakfast with Santa
Get in the spirit early, and share the most important meal of the day with the big guy at Texas de Brazil. 9am–12pm. Adults, $30; children (12 and under), $20. 51 E. Ohio, 312.670.1006.
Santa in the Sky
Get a family photo taken with Santa 1,000 feet up in the air at the John Hancock Observatory. Plus, kids can see a balloon artist, get their own free balloon animal, and get their faces painted. 10am–2pm. 875 N. Michigan, 888.875.VIEW.
Stop in to the Michigan Ave. location of Garrett Popcorn for a sample of its Chicago mix, a delicious mix of cheese and caramel popcorn. 625 N. Michigan, 312.944.2630.
In honor of the Lights Festival, Shoreline Sightseeing offers two “Mag Mile and Beyond” walking tours. Beginning with a ride on the Chicago River, guides then lead groups on a walking tour of Michigan Ave. with stops at world-famous Chicago landmarks, providing in-depth and lively commentary on Chicago’s history and architecture along the way. Tour guests will also receive a voucher for a free treat from the Hershey Store on Michigan Ave. Sat., Nov. 17. 10am and 1pm. $20. Departs from the southwest corner of Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312.222.9328.
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
Warm up in the InterContinental Chicago lobby, just steps from the parade action, and don’t miss a minute with a live big-screen video feed of all the fun outside. Plus, the hotel is on the east side of the street, which provides the best views of the action. 505 N. Michigan, 312.944.4100. And afterward, stop into Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse for a drink or a meal. The restaurant is also giving away roasted chestnut bisque to all diners. 505 N. Michigan, 312.321.8823.
Get a water-level view of the fireworks show (plus caroling, cookies and hot chocolate) on Wendella Cruises’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Fireworks Cruise. 5:45–7pm. $30. 400 N. Michigan, 312.337.1446.