Yay Christmastime! Even though it’s over *sad face*
Christmas has and always will be my favorite time of year. I’m not sure why; it could be the gifts, it could be the lights, it could be the only thing that makes winter bearable, but this post isn’t about that. Instead, it’s about one of my favorite activities to do during the Christmas Season.
Bring on the hot spiced wine, German pretzels, vendors galore, and general cheeriness associated with the holiday season! Our annual getaway to Christkindlmarket in Chicago has quickly become my favorite holiday tradition. Hop on the Hiawatha in Milwaukee, enjoy a few beverages (hey, you’re not driving – TREAT YO’SELF), and next thing you know it, you’re in the big city.
We’ve lucked out the last couple of years with being able to find a very affordable hotel room within walking distance of both Union Station and the market. (Insert ad for booking.com / booking.yeah) Otherwise, getting a cab or an Uber usually isn’t difficult and would be inexpensive for the short trip to the market. I recommend walking though, unless it’s nasty outside. Enjoy the holiday lights around the city!
The first stop at the market is the hot spiced wine vendor, of which there are several throughout the market. Get your souvenir mug filled to the brim with delicious wine which is totally worth the mouth burn you are bound to get from drinking it too quickly. This is actually the only necessary stop at the market in my book, although I cannot pass up any pretzel that I see, and there is a bomb currywurst stand that we’ve gone to every year as well (DonerMen).
As for the other vendors, I’m usually surprised by the prices, both good and bad. We’ve really only bought ornaments at the market, from two different vendors, and I didn’t mind the prices especially since they were homemade. The candy place is hit or miss with the line of people waiting to get in, and once you do get in, you’re usually rushed through. If you decide to go though, get the Hot Wine hard candies. YUM. I can pass up the other things like jewelry and scarves, but there are plenty of options if you’re there looking for gifts or just shopping for yourself.
This year it was snowing like crazy at the market, but that only added to the Christmas cheer in my book, even if my hair ended up getting soaked and I came down with a cold later in the week. #worthit
After the market, and possibly a stop for pizza, we head over to Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park for some beers and arcade games. They also host a lot of live music events, so if you want a chance to get to play all the games (or just play the Addams Family pinball all night), it’s best to get there on the early-ish side. Or go on a Sunday night, like we did this year. This year I tried their Polyjuice Potion-inspired beer, which tasted kind of like what I imagine Polyjuice Potion would actually taste like (i.e. I only had one before swirching to a different drink).
Last but not least, we discovered the perfect late-night eatery this year for post-Emporium adventures: Cheesie’s! It’s also good for eating fairly early in the night, because you started drinking at 11 a.m. and now it’s 9:30 p.m. and you need to eat dinner number two to make it back to your hotel (just throwing this out there, no particular reason why). And yes, I discovered this place from a post by a WWE wrestler, whom we asked our server about and the guy had a damn picture with the wrestler from when he came into the restaurant. We met a guy who met a famous wrestler, so we kind of met a famous person.
dined gorged ourselves on fried mac n’ cheese bites and The Tenderizer: a grilled cheese with chicken tenders and other delicious goodness, all grilled and melted together for easy stuffing into your drunk face! See, I told you this place was perfect!
After eating our weight in cheese, we headed back to the hotel via stealing an Uber ride from some other Uber-seekers, so I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to get an Uber again. But once again, #worthit