This post is sponsored by Oakbrook Center.
Full disclosure: I have loved Oakbrook Center (on the corner of Route 83 and Cermak Road just off of Interstates 88 and 294) for all the days I’ve lived in the western suburbs (that’s more than twenty-one years). I love it for many reasons: the shops, the restaurants, the environment, the outdoorsy element of it all, and especially because it reminds me of Park Forest Plaza, the shopping center of my childhood. These shopping centers that aren’t enclosed were the mothers of modern malls, and I think they’re totally fun.
While you might think that the best time to visit Oakbrook Center is in the spring when all of the tulips are blooming or in the summer when they have car shows and other kinds of fun in the sun, December is also an excellent time to check it out. In addition to all of the sales that assist in your saving money on your gift list, Oakbrook Center has a bunch of holiday-themed activities for the whole family.
(Speaking of sales, when I was at Oakbrook Center on Monday I conquered my very favorite area of the mall: the little corner where Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, LUSH, L’Occitane, Restoration Hardware, Teavana, and Bath and Body Works are ALL located. One corner-stop shopping FTW!)
Where was I? Oh right: holiday activities for the entire family:
1. Adventure to Santa: Back by popular demand, Oakbrook Center and DreamWorks Animation are again teaming up to present Adventure to Santa, with this year’s narrated tour featuring the cast of Kung Fu Panda. Adventure to Santa elevates the traditional mall holiday visit by blending the latest technology with captivating stories while Kung Fu Panda and his friends guide family members on an unforgettable adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa.
Reservations can be made online at www.adventuretosanta.com with the purchase of a photo package. Adventure to Santa will kick off the holiday season on Saturday, November 5, and will be open during extended Oakbrook Center holiday hours through Saturday, December 24.
2. Holiday Market: Oakbrook Center has a Holiday Market nestled amongst the alluring shops of the Village Green lawn area near Crate & Barrel, offering a variety of locally-made specialty products. Gifts such as hand-crafted jewelry, adorable children’s items, fun treats for a favorite pet, beautiful hand-made apparel and much more will be available for visitors’ perusal. Winter treats, such as donuts, cider, hot chocolate and adult beverages, are available to satisfy all tastes.
Holiday Market vendors this week include:
Christmas in Chicago
My Donut Lady
Gotta B Crepes
Main Street Candy & Toys
Ms. Tittle’s Cupcakes
Sweet P Doll Studio
3. New retail options: Two new athletic stores provide great gift options for both fitness enthusiasts and casual exercisers. Fabletics brings shoppers on-trend designs that inspire an active lifestyle with stylish and high-quality gear at an accessible price point. Providing more than just a class, a cycling studio and a bike, the new Peloton location at Oakbrook Center delivers an engaging experience with the technology to make every workout effective, and the social connection to make every workout addicting.
Oakbrook Center also welcomes two new fashion-forward retailers. A globally-minded company dedicated to creating a unique, inspiring retail environment and philanthropic efforts, Altar’d State offers a place of respite with the latest fashion finds and the most sought-after accessories, along with charming home décor and gifts. ALEX AND ANI creates meaningful, eco-conscious jewelry and accessories to positively empower and connect humanity. The brand’s products are proudly designed and crafted in America and made with love.
For those looking for sweet holiday gifts, Sugarfina’s shelves are lined with colorful artisanal candies in Lucite cubes, any of which can be packaged into three, four or eight-piece bento boxes. Guests can mix-and-match or buy a themed ready-to-go gift set. Sugarfina offers complimentary holiday gift-wrap ribbon with purchase and phone orders for in-store pickup.
Those are just a few ideas to get you started. I didn’t even mention The District, a new dining area, as well as the on-site AMC Theatre that you can visit as a reward to yourself for having so much fun finishing up your holiday to-do list. Make sure you check out Oakbrook Center this week: it’s always a great time!