Tag: Zoo Lights

Getting in the Christmas Spirit with Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

Getting in the Christmas Spirit with Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

I love this time of year. And especially all the traditions that come with it. Visiting family, exchanging gifts, and baking way too many Christmas cookies, then come the Chicago traditions: ice skating at Millennium Park, visiting the Christkindlmarket, and heading to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the ZooLights.

On Saturday night, a group of my friends enjoyed a little bit of Christmas magic at the zoo. I was blown away by how many light displays covered the zoo. I would love to know just how many hours it took to set up and just how many light bulbs light up each night. They sure have a way with turning the whole zoo into a Christmas wonderland.

If you get the chance to visit I’ve got some advice for you:

Don’t drive. Traffic near the zoo is absolutely insane. Who knew other people wanted to see the ZooLights too? I would strongly recommend taking the L or the bus to avoid all that, it may have taken us just as long to find parking as it did to see the lights. But if driving is your transport of choice, be sure to have good holiday tunes and snacks handy so that you can at least enjoy the extra driving around.

Dress warm. This should be obvious, because it is winter in Chicago after all. I underestimated how long we would be outside walking around, especially because of our far parking spot. Bundling up and wearing comfy shoes will make your lights experience all the more cheerful.

Let yourself be like a kid. The ZooLights is very much a family oriented environment, so take a hint from all the kids that are bound to be running through the crowds. The lights look absolutely magical all through the zoo, enjoy it! And don’t be scared to pose by your favorite animal made of lights–the swans and I enjoyed our photo shoot.

Be cheerful. Sure it’ll be cold and there will be crowds, but keep in the holiday spirit. My friends and I strolled through the zoo while singing along with the Christmas carols playing over the speakers, eating chocolate covered pretzels, and drinking hot chocolate. We may have been a little too cheerful for our own good.

This city is full of all kinds of holiday events and I’ve loved having them become college-holiday traditions for me. Thanks Chicago, for spreading so much Christmas joy.

Chicago Winter

Chicago Winter

There are many reasons I love Chicago but at the top of the list is winter. This is especially true just before Christmas. Here is a list of all the things I have done over the past month and everything I look forward every year.

1. Ice Skating: Always a fun thing to do, especially, on those days when the sun comes out and you feel like you  need to take advantage of the great weather.

2. Zoo Lights: Christmas music combined with tons of lights and a zoo… It’s kinda awesome!

3. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party: Always a classic and there is always an uglier sweater than the one you have on. It’s amazing what the 90s produced in terms of clothing.

4. The First Snow: Better late than never, time to get out the pig skin and play some football in the snow.

5. Christmas Lights: The lights are everywhere and downtown has the parade each year to celebrate turning them on.

Best Winter Dates

Best Winter Dates

It is that time of year. Lights fill the streets, trees are found in the windows, snow is starting to fall and it is time to take a girl on the best possible date ever. I’ve noticed that winter offers the best possible dates available. Let’s not kid ourselves, a dinner and a movie date is lame and cliche. Here are some of the outings I’m personally looking forward to trying and the best ones that have worked in the past.

1. The Perfect Night in the City – So it starts with ice skating at the Grant Park rink. Don’t be confused this is not the same as the rink in Millennium Park. Behind that rink a block down is another smaller rink that is half the price, has a better view and lacks the crowd. Then walk down Michigan Ave. pass the beautiful sights and end at the Hancock center where you can take her to the 96th lounge for drinks and desert above the entire city. From there you really have the best 360 view of the city and the food is amazing.

2. Evanston Light Contest – For this date it would be best to start with dinner at one of the smaller restaurants in Evanston. Then after a nice dinner take her through the local neighborhood and look for the best decorated house. During this time a couple Christmas songs together would lighten up the mood. From there the rest of the night is up to you.

3. Zoo Lights – In Lincoln Park you will be able to find plenty of perfect restaurants to take your date. Either way after dinner is where the fun starts the zoo turns all the Christmas lights and they have random arts and crafts placed throughout the zoo that you can do with your date. Yes it is a bit childish but personally I love pretending to be 10 again and I have never had a date that does not love going to zoo lights. Plus, you are at the zoo and many of the animals are still out to be seen.

4. Dinner and a Movie – This is not the normal dinner and a movie, on a night that is cold and snowing the best thing to do is stay inside and who better to be with than that special someone. To make it a perfect night simply make her dinner to start off the night, move to some hot chocolate and end with a Christmas movie of choice.

5. Christmas Tree Watching – On this date after dinner downtown at the restaurant of your choice take her around the city and look for the best Christmas tree (this could also apply to decorations in general). Maybe stop and see Santa, definitely walk by Macy’s and just a prior hint the best try is always at daily plaza. But this date is set up to give time to talk and enjoy the Christmas spirit.