Your Guide To Chicago In December

Everything You Need To Know For A Great Time During Your Stay in December

••• Chi-Town Rising

A number of annual elaborate Christmas events and productions, plus New Year's Eve makes this city the place to be this month. There's definitely a chill in the air because it's December, after all, but that's only a minor distraction. We hope you enjoy your time in the city!


  • Average High Temperature: 35°F (2°C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 21°F (-6°C)
  • Average Precipitation: 2.4"
  • Average Snowfall: 8.98"


    • Despite what the averages say, weather during December can widely vary; sometimes it's unseasonably cool, and others can get downright cold. Packing layers of clothing is definitely in order.

    • We also recommend checking out Chicagoland shopping malls for additional apparel, including comfortable shoes if you plan to walk a lot.


    • The city is lit up, getting everyone in the holiday spirit, from Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo to the official Chicago Christmas Tree.


    • There is a chance of flight/travel problems if a snowstorm comes through; here's where to dine and drink if you get stranded at Midway or O'Hare airports.

    • Hotel prices go up as it's prime-time holiday season.

    Where To Experience Holiday Tea in Chicago

    3 Arts Club Cafe. There's so much to appreciate about the newest tea offering on the Gold Coast, and we're especially grateful for the complimentary valet service.

    The 3 Arts Club Cafe is located in the flagship outpost of Restoration Hardware, which means that everything you see on premises is for sale. Treat yourself to one of the selections from the Rare Tea Cellars menu, ranging from Emperor's Jasmine Pearl to chamomile mint, and pair it with artisanal prosciutto, charred carrots or smoked salmon.

    Everything's a la carte. 1300 N. Dearborn Pkwy., 312-475-9116

    The Drake Hotel. A favorite among foreign dignitaries, royalty and celebrities alike, this iconic, Italian- inspired hotel offers traditional tea service yearround from 1 to 5 p.m. Occasionally there is live harp music and fashion shows by local designers. It's $53 for adults; $30 for children 12 and under. 140 E. Walton Pl., 312-787-2200

    The Lobby at Peninsula Chicago. Guests choose from several afternoon tea menus at The Lobby, ranging from traditional to gluten-free and vegetarian experiences. Menu choices include such options as miniature crab salad sandwiches, peach financiers, vanilla panna cotta and miniature roasted eggplant sandwiches. Guests may also reserve a la carte tea service. Afternoon tea occurs 2:30, 2:45 and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 3:30, 3:45 p.m. Sunday. Prices range $50 to $60 (champagne tea service), plus $18 for children 12 and under. 108 E. Superior St., 312-337-2888

    Palmer House Hilton. In addition to the usual adult-focused afternoon tea, Palmer House offers a special menu just for kids. Bertha’s Tea Party includes an assortment of sweets (cookie lollipop, cheesecake, fruit gelee) and savory bites like peanut butter & honey sandwiches.

    For an additional $8, kids get a mocktail. Tea takes place daily 2-4 p.m.; reservations required. It’s $38 for adults; $18 for children. 17 E. Monroe St., 312-917-3404

    Soho House Chicago. With this West Loop hot spot, plus Thompson Chicago, Virgin Hotels Chicago and the aforementioned Langham, Chicago has been experiencing a British invasion for the past few years. And while the Langham's tea service offering a formal experience, Soho House showcases a hip, laid-back atmosphere with lots of fashionable-looking folks hanging about. Held in the first-floor Allis lounge, it can be experienced a la carte or as a package. The standard afternoon tea (finger sandwiches, scone, a selection of fancy cakes, tea) is $24; it's $32 when you add a glass of sparkling wine. Tea occurs 3-5 p.m. daily. 113-125 N. Green St., 312-521-8000

    December Highlights/Events

    Christmas Around The World at Museum of Science and Industry

    Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

    Christkindlmarket Chicago

    Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights

    Ice Skating at Millennium Park

    Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park

    Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

    New Year's Eve fireworks at Navy Pier