It’s the most wonderful time of the year and if you’re looking for the perfect staycation in the Chicago area, we’ve found your match. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it can be hard to find time to jet away to a Swiss chalet, but Swissôtel in downtown Chicago brings Santa and the Swiss Alps to you.
Swissôtel Chicago’s Santa Days begin December 7 and run through December 22, with plenty of activities for the entire family. For the sixth year, the 2,000 square foot Presidential Suite will be transformed into a winter wonderland and Santa’s home away from the North Pole. New this year, the Santa Suite will don a Swiss theme, complete with a chair lift up the “mountain.”
Once you’ve checked in to one of the elf- decorated suites, grab your wish list and head to the Santa Suite. Inside, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture photos with The Big Guy or in front of one of sixteen snow-covered Christmas trees. Then sip on hot chocolate and nibble on gourmet treats, like gingersnap eggnog frosting sandwiches and red velvet cheesecake truffles. The festive suite will also boast an array of activities for the littlest members of your family, including a special mailbox for your letters to Santa.
After your visit with Santa, head downstairs to The Palm for dinner. The restaurant was renovated in 2018 and features the same stunning views found throughout the hotel, a family-friendly atmosphere, and exquisite food. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Italian cuisine, hand-selected chops, or Nova Scotia lobster, the menu is sure to please your taste buds. Be sure to try one of The Palm’s signature cocktails to compliment your meal. If you prefer a more casual dining option, Amuse, located in the lobby lodge, offers seasonal small plates and cocktails in a cozy environment. Guests can enjoy a special fondue menu and winter cocktails, like the Thyme of the Season (Suntory Toki Whiskey, Grand Marnier, fresh grape- fruit juice and honey), through December 21.
If you’re looking for an adults-only night out, Après Ski After Dark is the newest festive fête at Swissôtel. On December 13 and 20, guests 21 years and older are invited back to the Santa Suite for a selection of photo-worthy holiday cocktails and camaraderie.
After a night out, grab the family and head to the penthouse ballroom, Élevé, on December 14 for Pancakes and PJs. You won’t even need to switch out of your pajamas for the special holiday breakfast with Santa. Enjoy multiple food stations including a Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice pancake station, where standout dishes include hand-carved ham pancake sandwiches, pancake tacos, and berry merry Christmas pancakes.
The hotel is also offering special overnight accommodations like the Trees of Hope Package, which includes a donation to SOS Children’s Villages of Illinois and access to the Santa Suite. It’s the perfect opportunity to indulge while spreading holiday cheer.
Being steps away from Magnificent Mile, Swissôtel is the perfect base for exploring other holiday activities throughout the city. Here are a few events you won’t want to miss:
A Chicago holiday classic, head to Lincoln Park Zoo as it’s transformed into an illuminated wonderland. Zoolights runs January 5. Admission is free with the exception of special events including Brewlights and Zoo Year’s Eve. lpzoo.org/zoolights
The Joffrey Ballet’s holiday favorite runs through December 29 at the Auditorium Theatre. The tale, reimagined by Christopher Wheeldon, is set on Christmas Eve in 1892 (months before Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair) and follows the journey of young sculptress Marie. Tickets start at $35. joffrey.org
THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA
Tony Award nominee Renée Fleming stars in the Lyric Opera’s story of first love. Alex Jennings (Netflix’s The Crown) and rising star Solea Pfeiffer also appear. Matinee and evening performances run December 14 through 29 at Lyric Opera. Tickets start at $49. lyricopera.org