One of the only Chicago hotels with a front door opening on to Michigan Avenue, the InterContinental Hotel Chicago is easily the best hotel for Lights Festival parade watching. Take your pick from two prime spaces in the house – either Eno's wine bar or Michael Jordan’s Steak House, where mini grilled-cheese sandwiches and demitasse of tomato soup will be offered to everyone dining that evening. Heck, you can even watch the parade while checking in at the front desk.
The Peninsula might not have the best public spaces from which to see the parade, but the rooms definitely deliver. If you want to make a full night of it, book a room with Michigan Avenue views, order a fun kiddo tray of goods like popcorn and gummy bears, and ogle the parade in your jammies.
Meanwhile toward the end of the 1.2 mile parade route at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, see the Reindeer on the River choir perform at 3:45 p.m., ride the Gingerbread Express (a souped-up elevator with a snow-covered Alpine Valley window box), then head down to the Riverwalk for a prime view of the finale fireworks.
Where other Chicago hotels may lack direct parade views, they make up for it with hot bevies and treats. Visit Park Hyatt Chicago’s seventh-floor NoMI Lounge before the parade to sample the gourmet Park Chocolate Bar. Guests at Hotel Palomar will be greeted with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies upon return. Ritz-Carlton is throwing its own party at 7:45 p.m. when it will light up its lobby tree decorated by American Girl Place, and serve free cocktails and hot cocoa.
Photos: The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival