John Hancock Observatory Brings Interactive Winter Wonderland Back to Chicago

CHICAGO John Hancock Observatory is thrilled to announce the return of Winter Wonderland—back for its third year.  The much-anticipated holiday events boast different themes every weekend in November and December (see below), like America’s Next Top Elf and Breakfast with Santa, and offer an incredible value for families.  Kids get in FREE everyday and receive a FREE child pass to The Museum of Science and Industry every daySanta stops by every weekend from 12-4pm for a FREE 3×5 family photo on his sleigh, with a special visit on Christmas Eve.

“We have made ourselves known for a truly magical and dynamic schedule of events throughout the winter months and this year is no different,” said Daniel Thomas, general manager, John Hancock Observatory.  “We’ve brought back all of the Observatory features families love as part of their annual holiday traditions and have added additional enticements for more people to join in the fun.”

Take in breathtaking views of Chicago’s holiday lights and décor from more than 1,000 feet above The Magnificent Mile®, with the city’s largest Christmas tree, the Tree of Lights, directly below on John Hancock Center’s Garden Plaza.  Celebrating 17 years of lighting-up every child’s face, the celebrated Winter Wonderland Holiday Train takes center stage just inside the doors! Chicago’s world-famous skyline never looks better than when decorated with holiday lights, and never sounds better than when its stories and history are narrated by David Schwimmer on our always-FREE multimedia tour by Discovery Audio.

A Weekend High

Every weekend throughout November and December, the Observatory features an event that is sure to bring the whole family together. Including the most popular events from years past, the Observatory has created an interactive environment that is sure to inspire guests of all ages and leave lasting memories for years to come:

November 6, 7– America’s Next Top Elf – Bring your kids dressed in their best elf costumes to strut their stuff on the blue carpet!  Radio Disney’s Road Crew will be onsite to help judge and bring the energy to this magical annual event.  The winner will receive (4) tickets to meet and greet the Radio Disney artist at the annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, presented by Harris.

November 13, 14 – Face Painting – Face Painting more than a thousand feet up! Get decorated before or after your picture with Santa with Chicago’s best face painters! We’ll have professional and friendly face painters from 12-5pm.

November 20, 21 – The World’s Highest Coloring Competition.  John Hancock Observatory will provide the crayons and holiday-themed pictures —you provide the talent and creativity!  All completed pictures will be displayed on our Winter Wonderland Wall for the duration of the holiday season and the best one will win a FREE birthday party ($600 value) at John Hancock Observatory!

November 27, 28 – Cookie Time! Come show off your best holiday decorating skills when you design your own holiday cookies. Complete with all the fixings (sprinkles, frosting and tasty treats) for you to enjoy your creation at record heights or take home for your own holiday parties.

December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19Breakfast with Santa Experience a magical holiday high more than 1,000 feet in the air as you enjoy breakfast in our award-winning Lavazza Espression concept café. And, make sure to get your picture taken with Santa while you are here! Even though we’ve added another weekend, these spots at this great event fill-up fast! Call one of Santa’s extra special helpers to reserve your spot at 877.875.6940 now.

December 24 – Pictures with Santa Santa stops by before making his rounds around the world for an EXCLUSIVE photo opportunity. Get your last minute wish-lists in and smile for a FREE photo. Come by the Observatory to spend part of your Christmas Eve with Santa and the best views of a colorfully lighted Chicago.

For more information and terms & conditions on all of our holiday events, contests and promotions this season and for helpful tips to plan your trip, visit us at


About John Hancock Observatory

Located inside the iconic John Hancock Center, John Hancock Observatory is open every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and, at 875 North Michigan Avenue, stands in the heart of The Magnificent Mile® surrounded by hundreds of shops, restaurants, attractions and entertainment venues. Highlights include spectacular 360° views spanning 80 miles and four states, a FREE multimedia tour and the city’s only open-air Sky Walk, all accessed by the fastest elevators in the country. John Hancock Center and John Hancock Observatory are owned and operated by affiliates of Golub & Company.

Learn the latest from Chicago’s skies by becoming a fan of John Hancock Observatory on Facebook at and following its updates on Twitter, @aThousandFeetUp.

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