A perfect staycation during the holidays is right here in the Windy City! Pack up your car and head to Chicago for more holiday experiences! The City of Chicago has much to offer during the holiday season! Macy’s and The Walnut Room are a few stops you don’t want to miss during the holiday season. We have tips for your day in the big city to soak up some holiday cheer and navigate The Walnut Room so you can have a great experience!
My family heads to Macy’s on State Street every year at Christmastime. The Walnut Room process is a little overwhelming and has taken us a few years to figure out. We hope our blunders over the years can help make your family’s time memorable knowing the ins and outs!
Location and Hours
The Walnut Room is located at 111 North State St. on the 7th Floor, in Chicago. Their hours vary each day, during the holiday season, so check here before you leave. The Walnut Room restaurant is coveted by many as a childhood Chicago tradition of eating under The Great Tree. The Great Tree is celebrating its 112th year and will be lit on November 2, 2019. The Great Tree measures 45 feet high, containing 6,600 lights and over 2,000 ornaments.
Strollers are not allowed inside the restaurant. There is stroller parking available directly outside the restaurant, but be sure to bring anything valuable with you. Restroom are available inside the restaurant.
Reservations and Walk-Ins
Macy’s offers very limited reservation options between November 2 – January 5. You can find open reservations here, although I didn’t see any available at this time. However, if you have a group of 20+, Macy’s does offer some limited reservations by contacting them. Wait times are shorter during the week, right when they open. Peak times (11am – 4pm) on weekends can be 3+ hours wait time.
The process for walk-ins is quite daunting, but hopefully with these tips you’ll find it more manageable! As soon as you get to Macy’s head to the 7th floor and look for the iPad/tech station. There is usually a lengthy line for putting your name down.
Tip: I usually have one group member stand in line to give our information. While they wait in line, I take the kids around the corner to the Santa mailbox that has supplies for writing letters to Santa and a cute mailbox.
The iPad/tech station will put your name on the waitlist and give you an estimated seating time. I have found the times to be fairly accurate!
You will receive a text when your table is available. Head to the seating attendant, 7th floor near the tree, and they will check your name and send you in line to be seated.
Tip: Once you get to the seating hostess, you can request a table near the tree and choose to wait a little longer to actually eat under the tree.
Heading to the Walnut room and looking for a table for two or eating alone? Skip the line and head to the bar area! There is no waitlist for the bar area. There are high top tables and a wine bar that has open seating. When you are facing The Great Tree, the bar area is to your far right. You can order food there, as well!
While waiting for your text message that your table is ready, you can leave the store or shop inside Macy’s. My family chooses to head outside and check out the Macy’s windows during the waiting time period. We usually have plenty of time to shop and visit Santaland too, but always head outside first to make sure we get time to see the windows. Check below to read more about Macy’s Window Display.
Dining Info, Menu, and Buffet Option
Macy’s is encouraging its visitors to order the Great Tree Buffet. The buffet cost $30 adults, $11 for kids 12 and under, and no charge under 12 months old. The buffet is offered all day, starting now through January 5, 2020. The buffet includes appetizers, hot entrees (including mini pot pies), kid friendly choices (chicken tenders, mac n cheese, fruit), and holiday desserts. They still have their regular limited menu to order from if you choose against the buffet. Entree items range from $11-$19.
Do you have a child obsessed with princesses or fairies? The Walnut Room has a special winter fairies that come to your table and give your child a wishing stone and make a Christmas wish with them. They also sell books about how the fairy princess came to the Walnut Room. My parents bought the kids the book and each year we have the fairy princess sign a new page. There is a boy and girl version available for purchase outside the Walnut Room, by the Frango Store, or online!
Macy’s has been stunning Chicago spectators with its famed holiday window displays and Marshall Field’s before them for 112 years! This year’s theme is Believe in the Wonder. Windows are open for display on Saturday, November 9, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Check out the CBS report for more information.
Dine with Santa
Between November 1, 2019 – January 5, 2020, Macy’s State street offers dining with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dining with Santa is located on the 7th floor in the Narcissus Room. This is on the same floor as the Walnut Room, but you cannot see the tree. Also experience delightful holiday entertainment of face painters and balloon artists, during your meal.
Breakfast seating is at 9am, lunch seating is at 12pm, and dinner seating is at 6pm. Reservations are available for dining with Santa here. Prices range from $14.95 – $17.95 for kids and $23.95 – $30.95 for adults. Children under 1 are free.
Located on the 5th floor of Macy’s, Santaland has been Santa Claus’ home in Chicago for over 70 years. Reservations are not needed. Hours vary each day, so check before you visit here. Admission to Santaland is free. Professional photographs are available to purchase with packages starting at $18.99.
Come meet Old Saint Nick and tell him everything on your wish list. He’s only here until the December 24, 2019. Thursday, November 28th, Santaland is closed, but look for Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Special Needs and Accommodations
If you require special arrangements, they encourage you to call 312-781-1000 ext. 6105 or 6112.
Santa Cultural Requests
If your child’s vision of Santa is African American, we have good news for you! Chat with an elf upon arrival to Macy’s Santaland on Saturdays and Sundays between 12:00 – 4:00 pm and they will do their best to facilitate your request.
Check out this savings pass we found for Macy’s on State Street!
Macy’s does not have a parking lot attached to the store, but there are plenty of garages nearby. We usually use Spot Hero to try to find discounted parking.
Looking to complete your day in Chicago and Christmastime? Check our Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest for more holiday fun! Or visit our Holiday Fun Guide with Christmas events and more.