11 December 2012

Why I love Michigan Avenue’s lights

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, Random

So, work has been a little (a lot) crazy which is why I have been on a blogging hiatus, but I’m back and ready to talk holidays!

I love celebrating the holidays in Chicago. Even when it’s bitter cold and covered in snow, I love, love, love the city at the holidays.

And my favorite part of it isn’t the magical Christmas train or Christkindlmarket in Daley Square, it’s the lighting of Michigan Avenue.

I know, I make it sound like it’s the greatest thing ever, but really, it’s just the trees down Michigan Avenue being wrapped in white Christmas lights.

It’s literally just that. But to me, it’s more because it’s my first real Chicago memory.

Growing up in Wisconsin, going to Chicago was a treat. You were going to the city and it was a treat. You got to go shopping on Michigan Avenue, which has the same stores as back home, but it was different. Because it was the city and they had different stuff or you just felt a bit cooler because it wasn’t bought in Wisconsin, it was bought in Chicago.

And every year, after the holiday, we would come down to Chicago for a day. Go shopping, grab something to eat, and maybe hit up a few sites. Depends what we were in the mood for.

But along with the holiday shopping, we made it a point to walk down Michigan Avenue to see the lights. We would walk from the Wrigley Building to the Hancock Building and just soak in the view and the glow they emitted. I don’t know why it felt so awesome and so holiday but it did. And I looked forward to that visit every year.

Now that I live here, I get to see the lights any time I want, and while it may sound cheesy and I complain about the tourist clogging up Michigan Avenue to shop and clog up the sidewalks, I still love it as much as I did as a kid.

I mean, look at this.

And starting this week, I’ll walk down Michigan Avenue and just let myself take in the scene and enjoy it. It’s nice to relive those memories, even as an adult.

What’s new with everyone else?? What are your favorite holiday memories?


  1. Jill says:

    YES! Just last week I was taking a cab to Water Tower Place and of course, traffic was terrible. I thought that it was ridiculous to to be stuck in a cab when I could be walking amongst the twinkling lights. So glad I decided to hop out!

  2. jaime says:

    So beautiful! Boston’s back bay always has lights like this…it’s magical!

  3. katelin says:

    aw that looks so pretty, i love it. there is a neighborhood nearby that every house dons decorations that coordinate (sort of) and it’s just so fun to drive around and check them all out.

  4. I love Chicago at the holidays. So amgiacl, they go all out which I simply don’t have the energy to do.

  5. I feel the same way about putting up a Christmas tree. I absolutely have to put a big, real tree up every year with colored lights, silver garland and tacky ornaments because that’s the way my parents and I have done it every year. Sure, I could put up a tree that was more attractive, but I love to relive the memories.

  6. One of mine is similar – my family would always go into NYC for an evening to see the tree and look at the lights. We still do it and I look forward to it every year!

  7. Andrea says:

    Midnight mass. Even though I am a very lapsed Catholic, I still have very fond memories of sitting next to my sister at midnight mass …. Getting to church an hour early, listening to the choir and just the wonderful tradition of he mass. It is, oddly, still some of my fondest memories surrounding Christmas.

  8. For me, growing up in Manhattan, it was all the lights and the displays in shop windows. If you’ve ever seen the Christmas montage scene in When Harry Met Sally…that’s basically my favorite Christmas memory, only in my actual life.

  9. Stevie says:

    I had the exact same experience as a child! Going into downtown Seattle was so much fun at Christmas time. The department stores had wonderful Christmas displays in their windows, the Sheraton Hotel had huge gingerbread houses in the lobby, and the lights were wrapped on all the trees. It made everything so bright and festive.

    Now I work downtown and whenever I walk out of my building I see those twinkly lights. It brings such a smile to my face!

  10. natalie says:

    This is my favorite Chicago Christmas memory as well.