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Plan Your Holiday Trip to Willowbrook, Illinois

A short drive outside of Chicago’s Midway International Airport lands you in the charming, small town of Willowbrook. This hidden gem is slowly being discovered as one of the best places to celebrate the winter season. You will find the unique combination of world-class shopping while experiencing a small-town feel. From booking a hotel to attending a holiday festivity, this guide will point you in the right direction of all the things jolly and what to do during the holidays in Willowbrook.

Troll Hunt at The Morton Arboretum

If you’re familiar with The Morton Arboretum, then you know about its 1,700 acres that holds more than 220,000 live plants. There have been reports of troll sightings in the woods of The Morton Arboretum! Six colossal creatures and a hideout have all been spotted, but why have these giant trolls made their home at the Arboretum and what do they want to know about us? The work of noted Danish artist Thomas Dambo, Troll Hunt marks the first exhibition of its kind in the United States. Visitors can seek out these enormous trolls—one troll reclining on his back measures a monumental 60 feet long—created from reclaimed wood. Find them in and around our Visitor Center and hidden away in the forests.

Willowbrook Ice Arena

Willowbrook is proud to welcome its newest addition, the Willowbrook Ice Arena, which is a great place to enjoy wintertime activities. The state-of-the-art ice-skating rink is designed for professional hockey players and figure skaters, but come this holiday season, you’ll find it quite festive when it opens to the public at a low cost. The public skating hours are Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, so plan accordingly with your family.

Brookfield Zoo

Spend some time outdoors with penguins and polar bears at Brookfield Zoo. Glide through the holidays at the new Chicago Wolves Skating Rink! Admission is $7 for all skaters. There are a limited number of skates available for a $5 rental fee. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Ashton Place

Whether you’re looking for a winter wedding venue or a lavish gathering for a party, you can’t go wrong at Ashton Place. The venue is known for its exquisite atmosphere with ballrooms, cascading staircases and open floor plans fit for the royal family. Up to 180 people can be accommodated here, and the venue offers on-site bistro catering for buffets, plated menus and large family-style meals.

Culinary Delights

If you’re looking for an authentic Chicago deep dish pizza, you don’t have to brave the heavy traffic in the city for a slice. Instead, visit Giordano’s for traditional stuffed-pizza. Expect to wait approximately 30 minutes for your pie to be served to you, but it’ll be worth the wait when you bite into the cheesy goodness. Other legendary Chicago dishes include Italian beef sandwiches and meatballs, but if you’re watching your weight, the salads are known to be quite tasty too. For a more upscale atmosphere, try Jen’s Guesthouse that’s known to decorate the restaurant with holiday lights. Once you step inside, you’ll find a gorgeous fireplace with a picturesque wreath hanging above it, wrought iron chandeliers and a view of a decorated gazebo on the back deck. The menu includes a variety of dishes, such as scallops with risotto, ribs, calamari, filet mignon and Chilean sea bass.

Brew Time

If you prefer a more laid-back setting, grab a brewski at Black Horizon Brewing Company, which is open from Thursday to Sunday. The small microbrewery is rapidly gaining popularity among locals and visitors for its entertaining atmosphere that includes board games, video games, foosball tables and more. All of the brews are served on tap, and during the winter, you’ll find seasonal flavors to sample. 

Shopping

Avoid the hustle and bustle of shopping in bigger cities by getting all of your shopping done in Willowbrook. Start at The Promenade Bolingbrook, an open-air mall with popular stores like Macy’s, Bass Pro Shops, DSW, Coach and many more. No matter which family member you’re shopping for, you’ll find exactly what they love at this destination. Or stop by Oakbrook Center, the largest premier outdoor shopping center in the Chicagoland. You’ll find more than 160 specialty stores including high-end shops like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. In-between shopping, take a break and catch a movie at the movie theater to get further into the winter spirit.

Hotel Packages

Since Willowbrook is becoming a popular place to be during the holidays, multiple hotels in the area are offering hotel packages, including LaQuinta Inn & Suites that offers one overnight stay, a $50 gift card and a complimentary breakfast. Other hotel deals include Econo Lodge and Red Roof Plus, making your stay in Willowbrook a grander and more affordable one.

Enjoy Winter!

Route 66

Route 66

Start your Rt 66 experience in Willowbrook; the beginning of “the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road.”
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Shop & Stay

Shop & Stay

This holiday season shop Oakbrook Center, Chicago Premium Outlets, Bolingbrook Promenade, or Fashion Outlets of Chicago...stay for the fun and enjoy an overnight stay at your preferred Willowbrook Hotel.
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