7. Explore The Museum of Science & Industry

History buffs will appreciate the German submarine, replica coal mine, and the Apollo 8 spacecraft exhibits found at this large museum. One of my favorite exhibits, The Henry Crown Space Center, includes fantastic interactive displays. Also be sure to schedule a show at the Omnimax, a 5 story domed theater.

Tourists & locals alike will be awed by the spectacular, seasonal “Christmas Around the World” exhibit featuring dozens of trees, decorated to represent each unique culture.

Address: 5700 S. Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60637

8. Visit the Wild Reef Exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium - Chicago, IL

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is one of the best you will ever visit. This grand aquarium features a large display of all kinds of marine life, not to mention a fantastic location on the lake! Plenty of things to do before and after your visit. The Wild Reef is a spectacular exhibit, which features numerous different varieties of sharks. The exhilarating feel of getting so close to the sharks can’t be topped!

Address: 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60605

9. See a Broadway production at the The Ford Oriental or Cadillac Theater

Wicked at The Chicago Theater

The Oriental and Cadillac Place Theater are the top spots in Chicago for catching a Broadway production. These beautiful theaters offer a number of holiday productions, including 2013 productions of Elf The Musical and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.

Address: 24 & 151 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

10. Cheer on the Chicago Bulls

Visiting Chicago during the winter season will give you the perfect opportunity to see one of Chicago’s most beloved teams live in action. With games running several times a week, from October-April, you should have no problem fitting one into your itinerary! Visit the Chicago Bulls site for times and ticket prices.

Address: 1901 W. Madison St. Chicago, IL 60612

11. Book your tickets at The Chicago Theater

Various plays, concerts, comedy shows, and other events are scheduled year-round at this historic State Street theater. One of the best times of the year to plan a visit is during the holiday season: what better way to get out of the cold than spending your evening at this architectural wonder?

Address: 175 N. State St. Chicago, IL 60601

12. Enjoy lunch at a fun themed restaurant

There are a handful of entertaining restaurant choices for those seeking more than your average meal. Dining out with a little something extra always makes for a more special experience. After all, what is the point of dining out if you are not going to have a memorable time? Medieval Times is a dinner/show experience featuring fun medieval style games. Ed Debevics, a lively 50’s style diner, is another option.

Hard Rock Cafe is always fun, no matter which city you visit. Great music, decor, and fun entrees are awaiting you at this rock themed chain! Hard Rock Cafe is decorated beautifully around the holidays, making it the perfect place to stop for a fun, festive lunch or dinner before heading off to your other activities. The Twisted Mac and Cheese is out of this world!

Address: 63 W. Ontario St. Chicago, IL 60654

13. Attend a special event (celeb meet and greet) at Hollywood Blvd/Palms

hollywood-blvd-in-naperville-il

Hollywood Blvd/Palms Cinema is a unique dinner & movie theater concept located in the Chicago suburbs (Woodridge and Naperville). These theaters frequently offer special celebrity hosted events, including meet and greets. During recent years, they have shown “It’s a Wonderful Life” hosted by Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in the film.

These festive events give you the opportunity, not only to meet your favorite celebrities, but also learn some background information about filming process and the opportunity to mingle with other fans.

Tip: You can usually find discounted tickets on Groupon. Recent deals have included 2 tickets for $9 or 4 for $18.

Address: 1001 W. 75th St.(Woodridge location) 352 Illinois 59 (Naperville location)

14. See the Chicago Bears play at Soldier Field

Watching a football game on TV just isn’t the same as seeing one in person. You are not a true Chicago Bears fan until you have roughed through the cold to cheer on your team. Visit the Chicago Bears website for information on this year’s schedule and ticket prices.

Address: 1410 Museum Campus Drive Chicago, IL 60605

15. Shop at Water Tower Place

Water Tower Place - Chicago, IL

A walk down the Magnificent Mile would not be complete without paying a visit to Chicago’s grand 8 floor shopping center extraordinaire . Water Tower features a unique architectural design, a number of high end specialty shops, and a convenient central location.

Address: 835 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611