The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means one thing in Chicago. No, not sub-zero temps (at least not yet) — SHOPPING!! We live in one of the best cities in the world for working your way through the holiday wish lists. But all that shopping can be exhausting. Take a much needed time out for afternoon tea to rest and recharge. Our fair city offers the time-old tradition that will turn a day of shopping with the kids into a cherished memory. Here are our picks for getting in touch with your inner Brit with a spot o’ tea.
photo: credit Maria Chambers
Palmer House Hilton: Lockwood Restaurant & Bar
Palmer House’s traditional Holiday Tea is the perfect way to warm up this holiday season. The refined tea experience allows guests to select their own tea blend, steep and sip while snacking on savory sandwiches and sweets. The unforgettable experience is situated in view of the Palmer House’s iconic lobby and set to the tune of live a harpist, strumming holiday compositions.
Nov. 22-Dec. 29, Thurs.-Sun. Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, The Loop. More details.
High Tea with Mrs. Claus
All aboard the Operation North Pole Express! For the last eight years, the incredible staff and volunteers of Operation North Pole (ONP) have helped spread the spirit of the holidays to children and families affected by illness, and Christmas 2019 looks to be nothing less than spectacular. Proceeds from the event will benefit lodging for families attending the Winter Wonderland event.
Nov. 17; Victoria in the Park, 1700 Elmhurst Rd., Mount Prospect. More details.
Teddy Bear Tea at Hotel Zachary
Create new and warm winter memories with high tea for you, your little one and their favorite stuffed buddy with Hotel Zachary’s Teddy Bear Tea. On Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 29, families are invited to the Alma Room for a festive tea service. With two seatings, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., children and adults can indulge in a pot of house-made hot chocolate, tea sandwiches and delectable sweet treats before a guest storyteller arrives.
Hotel Zachary, 3630 N. Clark St., Lakeview. More details.
photo: The Peninsula
The Peninsula: The Lobby
Afternoon tea at The Peninsula, served in the heart of the hotel at The Lobby, has become a local favorite and beloved attraction. Guests will find a delightful selection of traditional scones, tea sandwiches and desserts to share and enjoy. They also accommodate vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets. NOTE: Most weekends in December are already sold out, so be sure to book quickly!
Nov. 29-Jan. 12; The Peninsula’s The Lobby, 108 E. Superior St., Near North Side. More details.
Tea with Mrs. Claus at The Peninsula
The fun really begins at The Peninsula when kids get special attention with their very own Holiday Children’s Tea with Mrs. Claus. Activities include cookie decorating, storytelling, a visit from Peter Bear and Santa Claus.
Nov. 30 & Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21 & 22; The Peninsula 5th Fl., 108 E. Superior St., Near North Side. More details.
photo: The Langham, credit © 2018 Galdones Photography
The Langham Hotel: Pavilion
For the die-hard holiday shopper who starts on State Street and treks to North Michigan Ave, the Langham hotel is the perfect place for a shopping halftime. Pavilion is hosting Wonderland Tea which includes cucumber sandwiches, orange cranberry and gingerbread scones and desserts. Guests can choose from a variety of teas such as The Langham Blend, a sophisticated twist on a classic English breakfast and Palm Court Blend, a unique blend of the finest quality Chinese white tea, with hibiscus flowers, rosehip, and pink rose petals.
Nov. 17-Jan. 5; The Langham Hotel, 330 N. Wabash, Near North Side. More details.
photo: Tea at The Drake courtesy of Sarah Larsen
The Drake: Palm Court
If you want to feel like royalty, afternoon tea at the Drake is for you. After all, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and the Empress of Japan — each of whom has enjoyed tea at the famous hotel — wouldn’t settle for just any cuppa. During the holiday season Palm Court will transform into a winter wonderland complete with festive decorations, seasonal pastries, a harpist and even a merry band of carolers on select days in November and December and throughout the “12 days of Christmas.”
Nov. 4-Jan. 12; The Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton Place, Near North Side. More details.
photo: Chicago Children’s Theatre
The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party
Chicago Children’s Theatre invites families to celebrate the holidays at the company’s ever-popular, seasonal smash hit, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Back for its 5th year, kids are encouraged to dress in their holiday best, or just come as they’re comfortable, to this incredibly charming, meticulously designed puppet show starring Peter Rabit and his favorite animal friends.
After the show and photos with the cast, families meander to a Victorian-style dining hall, adorned with beautiful holiday decor and communal tables for cookies, warm cocoa and coloring activities.
Dec. 7-Dec. 29; The Station, 100 S. Racine, West Loop. More details.
photo: Vanille Patisserie
Vanille Patisserie’s French-inspired afternoon tea experience will transport you and your bébés to the city of lights. Enjoy Vanille signature pastries, scones, finger sandwiches and French macarons while sipping on the finest of Benjamin’s Tea and Hot Chocolate with house-made marshmallows.
Locations in Lincoln Park and Hyde Park. More details.
—Maria Chambers & MaryKate Hickey