What to Do in Chicago for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

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Photo by Tord Sollie on Unsplash
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While this year has been one for the books, we still have a lot to celebrate. As we close out 2020, there are plenty of fun and festive ways to welcome the new year in Chicago, from a romantic dinner for two, to taking in the city views from one of Chicago’s hottest rooftops – from the privacy of your very own igloos! 

Geja’s Café

Enjoy a romantic date night for two with the city’s most romantic restaurant, Geja’s Café

Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage, is offering two special promotions to ring in the New Year both outside on their patio with their New Year’s Eve Package, or in the comfort of homes with their New Year’s Eve @ Home Fondue Experience on December 31, 2020. For those looking for an intimate outdoor experience, Geja’s is offering a special New Year’s Eve Package, $135 per person with tax and gratuity included, with reservations available for 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. This package includes a half bottle of Taittinger Brut La Francaise (a bottle per couple) along with a three-course fondue dinner. Each table will be outside and has a covered fireplace for a one-of-a-kind experience. Reservations are very limited. Those who prefer to celebrate in the comfort of their homes have the opportunity to enjoy their New Year’s Eve @ Home Fondue Experience. Patrons choose which Premier Dinner they would like, and Geja’s supplies the equipment. The New Year’s Eve @ Home Fondue Experience includes their signature Swiss Gruyere cheese fondue with an assortment of dippers that include breads, apples, grapes, and veggies. The experience is then followed by the Geja’s salad with Dijon vinaigrette; your choice of protein with an assortment of veggies and choice of eight dipping sauces; and concludes with a Dark Belgium Chocolate fondue with an assortment of dippers. www.gejascafe.com, 773-281-9101

Hyatt Lobby

Ring in the New Year at one of the hottest rooftops to open in 2020

The summer’s hottest new rooftop located atop the new Hyatt Place Wicker Park at 1551 W. North Avenue is cooling off with a brand new “Winter Wonderland” setup, perfect for an intimate evening out this New Year’s Eve. Kennedy Rooftop’s new digs include Boozy Igloos and a Curling experience as the perfect Covid-friendly rooftop option this winter season. With spectacular city skyline views spanning from the John Hancock to the Willis Tower, guests in groups of 6 or less can make their reservations for the holiday online now. www.kennedyrooftop.com

Luft Balloons

Get ready for the clock to strike midnight with your very own balloon drop

What better way to embrace the goodbyes of 2020 than with your very own balloon drop? Luft Balloons, 345 W. Armitage, is letting you bring the party home this year with their New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop, available for $65. Simply hang the bag from the ceiling with the attached tabs and pull the dangling rip-cord to let the balloons fall. The drop is fully arranged and inflated and features 1 Disco Ball, 2 Stars, 1 3’ Globe, 2 Confetti Dot, and various sizes of black, gold and silver latex balloons. Orders are available for pickup or delivery in the Chicago area. www.luftballoonstore.com, 773-857-0081

Shake things up with a family-style dinner from Chilam Balam

Chilam Balam, the popular BYOB Mexican restaurant located at 3023 N. Broadway St., is offering a festive New Year’s Eve family-style takeout menu, which will be available for pickup between 3 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 31. The takeout menu includes margarita mix or virgin sangria (just add your own tequila or red wine, respectively), Guacamole with tostadas, Smashed Potato Salad with brussel sprouts, chorizo, tomato mayo, valentina and scallions, Coconut Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with plantain black beans, rajas, young coconut and tortillas and Cheesecake en Nogada with pomegranate and almonds. The takeout menu is available family style for groups of two for $90 or groups of four for $160. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available upon request. www.chilambalamchicago.com, 773.296.6901

Paper Source

Decorate and celebrate with Paper Source 

Staying in this New Year’s Eve, while it might be different, doesn’t have to be boring! Paper Source offers a wide variety of fun decorations and activities to ring in the new year on the right note! From photo props to confetti and banners, they specialize in helping you set the scene for the best celebration. www.papersource.com 

George Trois

George Trois Group offers memorable meals to go for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

Chef Michael Lachowicz of George Trois Group in Winnetka (64 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, IL 60093; 847-441-3100) is making sure that holiday celebrating will be memorable this year, even if a bit unique compared to holidays past. The Aboyer team will be offering delicious three-course holiday meals for curbside carryout this Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

“I want to provide my guests with memorable meals designed to enhance the joy of the season,” said Lachowicz. “Throughout the year we have focused on comfort and these menus will be just as uplifting, the Aboyer way—short, sweet and decadent.”

Chef Michael Lachowicz

Aboyer will offer only a limited number of meals, which can be ordered online on Tock. Guests are asked to please order early to ensure your meal.  

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For those looking to enjoy a Chef-made meal from the comfort of home this holiday season, Eldr+Rime, 2300 N. Mayfair Rd., is offering a special Holiday Spread To-Go package available for takeout on Thursday, December 24 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. The three-course takeout meal includes the restaurant’s Little Gem Caesar with charred lemon vinaigrette, parmesan, sour dough croutons and preserved egg yolk, Braised Beef Short Ribs with bone marrow bordelaise, Celery Root-Potato Gratin with parmesan, asiago and herb breadcrumbs, Grilled Baby Carrots with hazelnut brown butter, House Made Potato Rolls with tarragon butter, and Christmas Silk Pie with flaky crust, chocolate-mint filling and whipped cream. The Holiday Spread To-Go serves four for $150, plus taxes and fees. Guests may place to-go orders and reserve pick-up times by calling 414.867.9200. Additionally, Eldr+Rime will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but the regular dine-in menu will be available for in-person reservations on Christmas Eve from 4 – 8 p.m. and New Year’s Eve from 4 – 9 p.m.  Website

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Celebrate holidays with meals from Prairie Grass Cafe. Photo credit: WDNet/Canva

Celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve with Delicious Meals from Prairie Grass Cafe

Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook; 847-205-4433) has delicious meals ready for your holiday enjoyment.

Pre-order Christmas Eve dinner by Monday, December 21 for pickup 2-4 PM, Thursday, December 24 (cold packages) 4-6 PM (hot packages) and New Year’s Eve dinner by Monday, December 28 for pickup 4-7 PM, Thursday, December 31.

The regular menu will not be available on Christmas Eve but will be available on New Year’s Eve. Prairie Grass Cafe will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Chef/owners Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris and the entire Prairie Grass Cafe team would like to thank you for your continued support and wish you a healthy and happy holiday season and new year.

For more information, please call (847) 205-4433 or visit prairiegrasscafe.com. Follow Prairie Grass Cafe on Twitter at twitter.com/SarahStegner, on Instagram at instagram.com/prairiegrasscafe/, on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrairieGrassCafe.

Azul Mariscos + Muelle Nochevieja 2021: New Year’s Eve 2021

WHAT: Azul Mariscos + Muelle—the riverside upscale mariscos (seafood) restaurant in Goose Island—celebrates New Year’s Eve with a Latin America-themed countdown party as well as Azul at Home takeaway offerings. 

New Year’s Eve Countdown Party

Latin American themed party with a countdown at 10 p.m. (Azul will close at 11 p.m.)

Dinner Ticket – $60 per person (tax & gratuity not included)

  • Surf & Turf: Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak served with housemade salsa, corn tortilla, refried beans and your choice of:
    • Grilled Jumbo Shrimp,
    • Lobster – add $10
    • Alaskan King Crab Legs – add $40
  • Small plates & dessert available a la carte
  • Champagne Toast
  • Bottle of Cava to enjoy at Azul or for carryout
  • Bottle Service Specials on site and to-go TBD

Azul At Home 

A la carte offerings available for pick-up or delivery

Food

  • Taste of Azul: Lobster empanadas with chipotle aioli (3 per order), Elote (3 per order), Guacamole, Chips & Salsa – $29 (includes preparation instructions)

Beverage

  • Cantarito: Patron Tequila, jarrito grapefruit soda, peach schnapps, fresh lime juice – Individual $8 | 6-pack $48
  • Patron Chico Loco: Patron Citronge Pineapple Tequila, Patron Silver Tequila, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, Topo Chico Mineral Water – Individual $8 | 6-pack $48
  • Casamigos Tequila Blanco 1L Bottle with Azul Margarita Mix, lime, salt, and tajin – $60
  • Dobel Tequila Blanco 750mL with Azul Margarita Mix, lime, salt, and tajin – $50
  • Micheladas Kit with bottle of Pinches Miches Michelada Mix (original, tamarind, cucumber), limes, chamoy, tajin (Choice of Modelo or Corona 6-pack) – $35

WHERE: 1177 N Elston, Chicago, IL 60642

WHEN: Thursday, December 31

  4 P.M. to 11 P.M.