Candyland comes true
Even those who loathe shopping can find something to love about the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show. Explore artisanal products in the world of chocolate through tastings and educational demonstrations and seminars. The family-friendly event can be a fun city jaunt or a jump-start on holiday shopping. Take in live pastry demonstrations by the world famous French Pastry School, walk through a chocolate sculpture garden, attend seminars created by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and visit a pairings pavilion highlighting fine chocolate alongside beer, wine and spirits. There also will be free samples.
Noon to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Navy Pier, Festival Hall B, 600 E. Grand Ave. Chicago. Tickets cost $25 and $10 for children 3-12. tinyurl.com/buzoz35.
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Hotel for the holidays
Taking off for grandma's place or clueless about where to stash the extra relations this holiday season? Hyatt Regency O'Hare offers travelers an exclusive Park, Sleep & Fly Package that includes a one-night stay at the recently renovated hotel, free access to the 24-hour gym and free self parking for up to 10 days. The hotel also has complimentary shuttles to O'Hare International Airport.
The package costs $89 through Jan. 31 at the hotel, 9300 Bryn Mawr Ave. Visit www.ohare.hyatt.com and enter code: PRKFLY in the "Special Offer Code" box. (847) 696-1234.
Turkey trot to the lake
Looking for something different for Thanksgiving? How about a family celebration on the 21st-century version of the Mayflower: the Odyssey, the largest cruise vessel to ply the waters of Lake Michigan. There will be special Thanksgiving cruises with traditional buffet menus including an assortment of holiday favorites complete with DJ entertainment and the Chicago skyline as a backdrop.
Thursday, Nov. 22, at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Lunch cruise boards at 1:45 p.m. with the cruise from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Cost is from $49.90, children's prices are 40 percent off. The dinner cruise boards at 6 p.m. with the cruise from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is from $69.90, children's prices are 40 percent off. Reservations required. (866) 305-2469 or www.odyssey.com.
Christmas, Indy style
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the world's largest Christmas tree that stands at the epicenter of downtown Indianapolis at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This tree, called the Circle of Lights, has been named as one of the top five must-see Christmas trees in the nation and Forbes named Indianapolis as one of the nation's top 10 best shopping cities. Embrace the holiday season with a Cheers to the Holidays getaway package at Conrad Indianapolis, which includes an overnight stay, a holiday welcome amenity, continental breakfast for two, complimentary valet parking and a $10 tastings wine card. There also is a special Black Friday hotel rate.
The getaway package, which runs through Dec. 30, starts at $219. The Conrad Indianapolis, 50 W. Washington St., offers a special $129 room rate for the night of Thursday, Nov. 22. visitindy.com/indianapolis-hotels-conrad-indianapolis.
Deerly beloved gather here
As spouses set out for an early winter weekend of bonding, hunting and storytelling by the campfire, women can delight in a no deer widow left behind weekend at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Deer widows can revel in a weekend of pampering, shopping, fine dining and nature while staying at the 900-acre Grand resort. A Shopping and Wine Tasting package is available to groups of eight or more, which includes two-night accommodations, $99 spa treatment, private transportation, wine tour, 20 percent off shopping pass to Gallery of Shops and a $10 casino voucher to nearby Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel.
Available through Dec. 30 at 100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd., Acme, Mich. Pricing starts at $249 per person. (231) 534-6178 or www.grandtraverseresort.com/.