Chicago a la Carte: Holiday Tour

  • November 17, 2016
  • 6:45 AM - 8:50 PM
  • Chicago
  • 19


  • NOTE: Member plus guest will cost a total of $82. TO ADD YOUR GUEST: click on the "ADD GUEST" button at the bottom of the data collection form and enter the guest information, as indicated. Thank you.

Registration Fee includes Van Galder Bus travel w/Wi-Fi. Personal expenses and lunch is on your own.

Guest Registration Fee: $46.00

Registration Deadline: November 14
Note: Cancellations after this date will not qualify for a refund.

Registration is closed

Macy's on State Street (2015)

Come join us aboard the PLATO bus on our a la carte holiday tour into downtown Chicago where you may choose among four locations from which to begin your holiday adventure.

(Click on the Red Locations/Text below for a photo preview, or website visit.)

First stop of the day is in "The Loop" at the famous State Street Macy's (formerly the historic flagship store of Marshall Field's). 

Enjoy Macy's annual holiday decor.  It's not the Christmas season until you've seen Macy's Holiday Windows.  For decades, the "windows" have been a holiday tradition.  They have a different theme every year, and tell a holiday story.  You can see the Windows before the December crowds, and view the great holiday tree, a tradtion of the Walnut Room-- also a great place for lunch. Or, pick from 5 other eateries at Macy's. 
You'll want to see
the entire store which will be decked out in spectacular holiday decor, as no other store.  And, of course, you can get a head start on your gift shopping.  There's plenty of space under the bus to stow your packages It's just a short walk to Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Cultural Center, a historical building with 2 stained glass domes, and changing exhibits.  Admission is free, and it's worth seeing.

Second stop of the day: The Art Institute.

The new exhibit is:  Moholy-Nagy: Future Present. The first retrospective of Moholy-Nagy in the United States in nearly 50 years traces the career of a multimedia artist who was always ahead of his time.  And the always popular Holiday Thorne Rooms:  The beloved decorating tradition is back, with an even more extravagant display in the English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period.

General admission to the museum is $19 for seniors. 

Check out the great gift shop and the Institute's new wing.  3 indoor restaurants to choose from for lunch.  And just across the street:  Millennium Park.  You'll want to check it out.  Take a "selfie" while looking at "The Bean".

Third stop: The Museum Campus.

There are three world-class museums located there:  The Field Museum, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Adler Planetarium.  Take your pick!  The Field is featuring a two special exhibitions:  China's First Emperor and his Terra Cotta Warriors and the Cyrus Tang House of China. Senior general admission is $19 or $25 if you want to see any 1 of the special exhibits ($30 for All Access ticket).  Choose from a bistro or a cafe for lunch.  

Go to and for more information about these museum opportunities.


Fourth and final stop: Museum of Science & Industry (our “new” Only-in-November stop) Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights.

Originally built as the Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere full of informative and industrial hands-on exhibits.   And it is the home of the annual Christmas Around the World display of specially decorated trees, scheduled to be up and lit by November 17, the date of our trip.  If nothing else, this will definitely put you in a holiday mood. The Museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage in the Rotunda, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees and displays presenting the cultures and holiday traditions from around the world. Holiday spectacular included in entry fee of $18. Museum Entry does not include special exhibits/events, Omnimax® movies Coal Mine, WOW! Tour or U-505 on-board tours. 


The Downtown Tour: For 20 years our Hop On Hop Off sightseeing tour has been the gold standard for entertaining and informative tours. Covering 13 miles and 13 stops, the DOWNTOWN TOUR is a 2 hour eye-popping adventure through the heart of Chicago, giving you the option of Hopping On and Off at your choice of stops to visit the hottest retail, cultural, and family attractions.  Online Price $33.00.  For map of stops go to:

Plan Your Day

It's all right if you want to visit more than one location, but transportation will be on your own between locations

During the bus ride to Chicago, your PLATO trip organizer will collect the following information:

  • Where you will get off the bus
  • Where you will get back on the bus
  • A cellphone number for at least one person in your party

If you change locations, keep your PLATO field trip organizer  informed of your return boarding location.

During the bus ride to Chicago, you will be given a handout with your organizers' names and cellphone numbers, your bus info, and the boarding schedule in Chicago, to carry with you.

Accessibility Policy. The public spaces in Chicago are handicapped accessible.  However, you must be able to board and exit the bus using its stairs. If you need assistance, we recommend that you bring a friend to give you a hand.

  ~  ~  ~   Chicago a la Carte Itinerary  ~  ~ ~        

Bear in mind that our boarding bus route is like Madison Metro or any other municipal bus service. Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus. When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave. Arrive early and we will all arrive in Chicago with plenty of time to enjoy our day.

– Don’t be late. We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

– Pack water bottles and snacks for sustenance on the journey.


Leave Madison

6:45 AM        Begin bus boarding at Oakwood Village University Woods

7:10 AM        Bus arrives at Capitol Lakes for boarding.

7:30 AM        Bus arrives at East Towne Sears for boarding.

7:40 AM         Bus departs for Chicago (Or, sooner if everyone is aboard)


Arrive in Chicago

 10:30 AM       Arrive at Macy's in the Loop

10:40 AM        Arrive at Art Institute of Chicago

10:50 AM        Arrive at Chicago Museum Campus

11:10 AM       Arrive at Museum of Science & Industry

Depart from Chicago

3:50 PM        Depart from Museum of Science & Industry

4:10 PM        Depart from Chicago Museum Campus

4:20 PM        Depart from Art Institute of Chicago

4:30 PM        Depart from Macy's

Mail-In Registration Forms:

PLATO Members

For further information, contact Chicago a la Carte - Holiday Tour field trip organizer, Sue Peterson, and 608-332-5516





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For more info about PLATO contact:

PLATO Office Operations, ATTN: Edie or Louise
c/o UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715

Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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