As I write, it’s freezing, foggy and particularly quiet outside, so far. If I went three blocks west to Michigan Avenue I’d find a different story, but by noon, those crowds will make their way down my street to explore or ask for directions because they are lost. This, my friends, is holiday season in downtown Chicago and while 99% of the time I love my city beyond belief, holiday shoppers with umpteen bags and cameras pointed up in the air have me running. The worst part: when I lived in the suburbs, I used to be one of them! I used to look forward to wandering around and lugging shopping bags back to Ogilvie. Now, the days when I go to the grocery store and it takes me 25 minutes to exit and walk back home due to newfound explorers and greater- Midwest minivans…those days have irritated me enough and eventually resulted in annual Winter Staycations.
You may ask, why would you want to go to a hotel? That’s where the crowds are! Yes, that is true. However, if you choose days and hotels wisely, it will be peaceful. Furthermore, if you are in a nice hotel on the weekend pretending you are on vacation, the crowds won’t bother you so much because you have fewer worries and can act like them, too. If you are on a Staycation, you don’t need to go to the grocery store or answer the I’m-so-unbelievably-lost questions. You are eating out and people will either ask the hotel concierge or will walk outside and see where they want to go. Staycations have allowed me to remember why there are so many people in Chicago during the holidays—because it’s wonderful! The city is gorgeous, there are lights everywhere, there are fabulous restaurants and attractions etc. It’s so easy to forget how great the city is when you live in the heart of the hustle and bustle.
I encourage all who live here, especially those who live in the thick of the crowds, to take a Staycation sometime this season. I’ve noticed my demeanor and tone have changed just while writing this article because now, I’m not thinking about how much I hate the crowds and cameras; instead I am thinking about how pretty our city is during the holidays and how much fun it is to relax, go shopping, eat out, and be on vacation in general. Un-Scrooge yourself and take a Staycation.
Here are five MORE reasons to take a Staycation:
1. You can go to the spa
2. There are probably two to three restaurants or bars in the hotel. If it’s cold, you just have to go downstairs to eat or be merry.
3. The bed is made for you; simple, but oh-so-nice.
4. Room service (late night AND/OR breakfast in bed).
5. The hotel bathrooms probably have a nice tub…take a bubble bath with room service wine or Champagne. You can use the delicious-smelling soaps they leave for you.
Five Chicago hotel packages I have my eye on this season:
1. The Peninsula Chicago: Winter Moments Package
2. The Fairmont Chicago: Sleep In and Stay Late
3. Park Hyatt: Bed/Breakfast/Park
4. Waldorf Astoria Chicago: Celebrate Package
5. Four Seasons Chicago: “Honey Let’s Do This” List