Chicago Transit Authority Gets Into the Holiday Spirit!

I have lived in Chicago for the past 7 years, and this is the first time that I have been able to experience the Holiday Train. For the duration of my commute home from The Hampton Inn & Suites I could not help but smile. Generally my work commute consists of me playing words with friends and listening to Pandora on my phone. But this time it was different, as I mentioned I could not help but smile.

As the train pulled into the Grand station, one block away from the Hampton Inn & Suites, my eyes widened and I felt a wave come over me of true holiday cheer. The train is a little bit shorter than a regular train, roughly about six-cars long. It is decorated with holiday seasonal images and thousands of multi-colored lights on the outside of the cars as well as on top. It is truly amazing how a little holiday cheer brightened up my day on my way home from work.
The best part about the experience is that Santa and his elves were also riding the train with me. As we pull into each station, Santa would waive to the boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees. There were a lot of families and children so it was a little crowded, but their faces truly made my experience that much more pleasant. Santa would stop to visit with the children on the train and his elves would help him pass out candy canes and season’s greetings.
When coming to Chicago with your family, I would recommend taking one ride. It is definitely worth it! According to the CTA, the holiday train operates from about 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on select weekdays and will be running through the rest of December as part of regular rail service. Normal CTA fares apply.

Happy holidays, and I hope to see you on the train!

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Holiday Season in Chicago

Christkindlmarket

Christkindlmarket

As the holidays approach, Chicago begins to get a little chilly. Most often than not, everyone stays indoors and enjoys a cup of hot cocoa with a warm blanket while they watch their favorite shows on TV. For those of us that are visiting the city or for the locals that enjoy the cold winter months, Chicago is always full on wonderful outdoor activities. For this holiday season take advantage of the Daley Plaza’s Christmas Market. If you are staying here with us at the Hampton Inn & Suites on Tuesday, November 20 take a quick 12 minute walk and enjoy the wonderful Christmas delights. The market will be open from 2-8pm on that Tuesday. I was able to attend last year with my younger brother and sister and we had a blast. This is a traditional German Market. It started in 1996 and has been gaining popularity every year. Actually, it is the largest German market in the country and the best part is that all the vendors are serving authentic German food. They always offer sausages, sauerkraut, and potato pancakes. If you have never tried a potato pancakes this is definitely a must try. They are a delicious savory treat! For the younger generation, there are sweets, pastries and candies. To drink, there are German beers on hand as well as the traditional “Gl├╝hwein”, which is a hot spiced wine that is served around the holidays. I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about trying this wine, but once I did I was certainly glad! It was a great warm beverage and the spices in the wine were delicious. So as you come and join us in Chicago this holiday season, take advantage of this fun outdoor activity – admission is free!!

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