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posted: 12/16/2012 6:00 AM

On the road: A Grand Avenue Christmas

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  • Milwaukee's Pabst Mansion is decked out for the holidays and offers tours and Dickens Dinners.

      Milwaukee's Pabst Mansion is decked out for the holidays and offers tours and Dickens Dinners.

 
 

Midwest

A Dickens of a Christmas

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Even Martha Stewart would be envious of the holiday décor at Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, Wis. The mansion's display, called A Grand Avenue Christmas, is new each year. Enjoy it during a daylight or twilight tour with Victorian holiday history and warm refreshments. Reserve your spot for one of the Dickens Dinners, a traditional English feast.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 13 at Pabst Mansion. 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. There will be tours on the hour. Admission is $10 for adults; $9 for seniors and students and $6 for ages 6-17. Twilight tour at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. $12-$15 for adults and $6-$8 for children. Dickens Dinners Dec. 19, 20 and 22. (414) 931-0808 or pabstmansion.com.


Cool those post-Christmas blues

Looking for something to do after the Christmas holiday? Head to northwest Ohio for a Winter Carnival at Maumee Bay State Park. Each day there's an indoor fair with a putt-putt golf course, bean bag toss, race cars, hockey toss and other games. Enter the "horse races" and the Cupcake Walk where cupcakes made by the lodge's pastry chef are given away as prizes. There is also the indoor swimming pool, hot tubs, fitness center, Wallyball courts, game room or splash garden, and children's soft play area. Venture outdoors for free use of the resort's sleds or explore the nature center.

Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Jan. 5. at the Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center, 1750 State Park Road #2, Oregon, Ohio. The carnival is open only to lodge guests who get special rates starting at $89.99 on weekday nights and $109.99 on weekend nights. In January, rates are $79.99. (800) 282-7275 and use promo code CARNIVAL.


Chicago

Yule get a thrill

Dress the kids in their finest holiday attire for what has become a Chicago tradition for 18 years. The concert Welcome Yule! consists of all kinds of holiday music favorites at Orchestra Hall. Concertgoers will be able to enjoy audience singalongs and dancing musical surprises.

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21; 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22; and 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23 at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Ticket prices vary. (312) 294-3000 or cso.org.

Music Boxing Day

One of the most popular and fun Christmas traditions in Chicago is celebrating its 29th anniversary this year -- the Music Box Christmas Show. Holiday revelers are greeted by Santa Claus and accompanied by the theater organist. Santa leads the audience in singing popular Christmas carols. Lyrics are projected onto the theater's screen so everyone can sing their hearts out. Then it's time to enjoy a Christmas movie classic -- either "White Christmas" or "It's a Wonderful Life" or both.

Show times vary. Thursday to Monday, Dec. 20-24, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. Chicago. Tickets are $12-$14, single feature, $17-$20 double feature; children under 13 are $10-15. (773) 871-6607 or musicboxtheatre.com.

Holidays are in the house

Young pastry chefs in the making can decorate cupcakes with a member of the Palmer House Hilton's pastry team on Saturday afternoons during the holiday season. Perhaps you'd prefer Yuletide cheer in the lobby on weekends through December when the hotel offers a specialty holiday tea service that includes an assortment of teas, gourmet sandwiches, pastries and petits fours. On Saturday, Dec. 22, enjoy 400 tuba players and experience a Merry Tuba Christmas -- A Concert of Christmas Music," in the historic Grand Ballroom.

2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays in December. Kids' pastry activity and tea service. Tuba concert at noon at 17 E. Monroe, Chicago. Prices for tea service are $38 for adults and $18 for children. (312) 726-7500 or palmerhousehiltonhotel.com.

Midwest

A Dickens of a Christmas

Even Martha Stewart would be envious of the holiday décor at Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, Wis. The mansion's display, called A Grand Avenue Christmas, is new each year. Enjoy it during a daylight or twilight tour with Victorian holiday history and warm refreshments. Reserve your spot for one of the Dickens Dinners, a traditional English feast.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 13 at Pabst Mansion. 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. There will be tours on the hour. Admission is $10 for adults; $9 for seniors and students and $6 for ages 6-17. Twilight tour at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. $12-$15 for adults and $6-$8 for children. Dickens Dinners Dec. 19, 20 and 22. (414) 931-0808 or pabstmansion.com.

Cool those post-Christmas blues

Looking for something to do after the Christmas holiday? Head to northwest Ohio for a Winter Carnival at Maumee Bay State Park. Each day there's an indoor fair with a putt-putt golf course, bean bag toss, race cars, hockey toss and other games. Enter the "horse races" and the Cupcake Walk where cupcakes made by the lodge's pastry chef are given away as prizes. There is also the indoor swimming pool, hot tubs, fitness center, Wallyball courts, game room or splash garden, and children's soft play area. Venture outdoors for free use of the resort's sleds or explore the nature center.

Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Jan. 5. at the Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center, 1750 State Park Road #2, Oregon, Ohio. The carnival is open only to lodge guests who get special rates starting at $89.99 on weekday nights and $109.99 on weekend nights. In January, rates are $79.99. (800) 282-7275 and use promo code CARNIVAL.

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