Wednesday, December 30, 2015


A few days before Christmas we went downtown with Mom to see the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute decorated for Christmas and to see the windows at Fields (which I know is called Macys now but it will always be Fields).  We took the L train downtown and caught the last purple express train which was awesome.  The train was fairly empty so we had half a train car to ourselves for a while.

We first visited Millennium Park where we saw the big Christmas tree which was moved there from Daley Plaza, the bean and took the bridge over the road to the Art Institute.  The Thorne Rooms were not highly decorated for Christmas.  They had signs up about several rooms and what traditions were for Christmas during that time period.  Some of the rooms that had signs didn't have anything changed in the rooms.  It was not as interesting as we thought it would be.  We also went to see the large creche that they have and the suits of armor because no visit to the Art Institute is complete without seeing armor :)

We had gotten a pager from the Walnut room before we went to the Art Institute and knew when we needed to be back.  We saw the windows while we were waiting.  They had a story about a boy who went into space with Santa and visited all the planets and saw how each planet celebrated Christmas.  They were really well done but it was too crowded to take many pictures.  Here is what Mars looked like.

The tree in the Walnut room was large as always and beautifully decorated.  The lights around the bottom of the tree behind the buildings would change colors about every 30 minutes.  The lights illuminated the ceiling would also change as would the images they projected on the wall.  The lights on the ceiling changed from blue to red to yellow.  The Walnut room was not quite what I remembered.  It's so much busier and crowded.  There were at least 5 fairy princess floating around the room but they never came to our table instead they visited the middle aged men at the wine bar.  I don't think my kids were enchanted by the experience so I'm not sure that eating in the Walnut room is something I am going to wait to do again unless they ask to do it again.
 After the Walnut room we headed to the Chriskindlmarket at Daley Plaza.  This place was insanely crazy and packed shoulder to shoulder.  We decided to go because N2 had studied about them in school so we figured we would take them to see one.  They were not impressed at all.  We then went to the State of Illinois building and played around in the sculpture in front.  The elevators aren't open to the public to ride any more so we just went on the L back.

We found out that morning that the Holiday Train was on the purple line that afternoon.  We didn't stay downtown long enough to ride it back to Evanston but we thought we could catch it somewhere along the way, ride it one or two stops back towards the loop and then get off and continue on to Evanston. We caught it right when we got to Horward so we hopped on and rode it to the next stop which unfortunately was 20 minutes down the line because the purple line is express from Howard to Belmont.  I say unfortunately because it was PACKED inside and not a pleasant ride.  It was definitely fun to see the train but not to ride.  It was decorated inside and they played holiday music but there wasn't too much Christmas cheer from the elf on our train.
There is a flatcar in between two of the cars where Santa rides.  Luckily it was a warmish day and not raining so Santa must have been comfortable.  It was really fun to see the train and if we were going downtown next year and we had several days to choose from I might choose the day where we could see the train but not ride on it again!

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