Christmas in the Heart of Downtown Chicago

0 Posted by - December 3, 2015 - Tours, WendyCity

Christmastime in Chicago is a dazzling and bustling time, especially downtown.  Sure, the nearly 50-year tradition of the Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza has moved to Millennium Park, but that’s just a few blocks away, and Daley Plaza is still festive with Christkindlmarket and Chicago Temple carillon singing out over downtown.

Christkindlmarket has been a popular winter attraction in the Loop since 1997.  It was inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, but Chicago’s event had its debut on Pioneer Court in 1996.  Have some warm, spicy Glühwein, pick out an ornament for your tree, and soak up the European flavor of Christmas beneath the Picasso.


Lovely WendyCity tour guests

The First United Methodist Church Chicago Temple is playing a special set of music during weekdays this month.  (For a fascinating look at the skyscraper carillon, more here.)  Erik Nussbaum, Director of Music and the Arts, sent along this list of tunes.  Do you have a favorite?  (I will have to stay in the Loop until 7:46 pm!)

  • 8:46am                 The King of Glory Comes
  • 9:46                        Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
  • 10:46                     The Coventry Carol
  • 11:46                     O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • 1:46pm                 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • 3:46                        Let There Be Peace on Earth
  • 4:46                        Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus
  • 5:46                        O Come, All Ye Faithful
  • 6:46                        Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • 7:46                        Creator of the Stars of Night
Chicago Temple spire, 1929, taken from the Sherman House Hotel - from-the-Sherman-photo CHM-DN-0088286.jpg

Chicago Temple spire, 1929, view from the Sherman House Hotel – photo CHM-DN-0088286

Finally, here is a fun retro view of Christmas in Chicago, 1960, via the rich Chicago Film Archives.  It is a nine-minute walk along State Street and Michigan Avenue, through a child’s eyes.  I love to show this little video on my Marshall Field’s Christmas tour; it takes my guests back, often to their own childhood.  A little boy gets so immersed in the magic of Christmas in the city, he becomes separated from his parents!

But, as you might expect, there is a heartwarming ending when he finds both his parents …and the true meaning of Christmas!  Take a listen at the 7:20 mark and you’ll hear the Chicago Temple carillon pealing away.

big downtown christmas

There is so much going on in Chicago this time of year.  More to share in future posts..!

Let me know if I can help you with your Chicago holiday plans in any way.

Bob Segal

Featured image and this image by Bob Segal (

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