Winter is coming, and so are the activities!

After consuming a ridiculous amount of turkey this week, we here at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel, like many others, have turned our attention to the upcoming holiday season. Winter in Chicago  is one of the most magical and underrated times of the year. The lights twinkle, the city slows down a little bit and even though the wind can chill you to the bone there is always something right around the corner to warm and lift your spirits. While heading downtown to partake in the holiday festivities and see Macy’s window display is a yearly excursion that we recommend it is  Chicago’s North Shore which offers plenty of holiday fun that’s sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

Ice Ice Baby


Father and Son participating in open skate at Watts Park Ice Center in Glencoe. Photo courtesy of Glencoe Social Club.

What could suggest a  Norman Rockwell Christmas more than ice skating on an outdoor rink under the lights as snow flurries flutter down?  Most Chicagoans would tell you the best place to skate outdoors would be Millennium Park.  We here at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore hotel know better. Millennium Park with all its charms has one major drawback— the crowds. We always have an amazing time skating and people watching, but depending on the day and time the wait to get on the ice can test the patience of little ones and adults alike. So when planning a day on the ice we choose Watts Ice center located in Glencoe. Nestled in Watts Park there are  two lighted outdoor rinks which are open from November 25th through March 1st.  Not only does Watts Ice Center have daily open skate times, but it also boasts something that Millennium Park cannot, open hockey ice time for all those still aspiring to become a Blackhawk. For all those seasonal skaters, Watts Ice Center offers skate rental and a concession stand featuring a hot chocolate that will warm you all the way to your toes.

Watts Ice Center is located at 305 Randolph St, Glencoe, IL 60022, a short ten minute drive or a ride in our complimentary shuttle from The Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel.

One Gift, Two Gift, Red Gift Blue Gift

If you are like us then each gift you select is meaningful and unique for those special individuals in your life. While some years those gifts just seem to fall in your lap, other years it seems almost impossible to find that perfect present. Over the years we’ve hunted out the best and most memorial gifts at a few very special Holiday Markets across Chicago’s North Shore. Our favorite market has to be the Annual Native Fine Arts Holiday Market. A pop up market located at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, this market only happens once year. This year it will be open from December 3rd and 4th. Especially unique in its offerings this market’s items are handcrafted by Native artists. We are sure that any gift you give from this market will be sure to wow. We can’t wait to see what the artists have in store for us this year.

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is located at 3001 Central street Evanston, IL 60201 a short fifteen  minute drive or a short ride from The Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel. 

Light it up!

Holiday tree lighting on Chicago’s North Shore. Photo courtesy of First Bank and Trust.

During this season, there is nothing more magical than seeing the twinkling of  holiday lights on a holiday tree. One of our favorite events here at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel has always been the lighting of a holiday tree and the festivities surrounding it.  This year we are especially excited because we will be enjoying not one but two holiday tree lighting ceremonies. To kick off  the holiday season, Winnetka will be lighting their annual tree on December 2nd. We don’t know what we are more excited for— the tree lighting, the carolers dressed in Victorian period costumes, the hot cocoa, or the holiday story hour to follow at The Book Stall. On December 9th we will be heading over to Evanston to partake in their holiday tree lighting ceremony. Both the Evanston Children’s Choir and Northwestern’s oldest theatrical tradition Waa-Mu will be performing. We cannot wait for both of these unique tree ceremonies, and we hope to see you there!

Winntetka’s tree lighting will be taking place at Metra Park 754 Elm Street Winnetka, IL and Evanston’s tree lighting will be taking place at Fountain Square, Church St. & Sherman Ave,Evanston, IL.

Let it Snow

The Chicago Botanic Gardens is by far one of our favorite places to visit all year round as we’ve posted about in the past. However their unique take on winter with Wonderland Express is something wonderful to behold. Where else can you experience having it snow inside?  We don’t know how they do it but the folks over at the Chicago Botanic Gardens must have some special holiday magic to be able to make real snow appear indoors! December at the Chicago Botanic Gardens hosts a plethora of events going on.Open from November 25th through January 2nd, the Chicago Botanic Gardens events are a treat for the whole family. This year the railroad garden will feature none other than the home of our World Series Champions the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field! The railroad garden features a miniature Chicago made entirely out of none other than natural materials. Make sure to check out what other exciting events they have going on each weekend here. We know we will be sure to check out the ice sculpting on December 11th.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022, a short walk or ride on our complimentary shuttle, and The Renaissance Chicago North Shore hotel.




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