Christmas Eve has always been my grandma’s jam. The day started at 10am and ended at 5pm and was jam-packed with traditions. Traditions are also my grandma’s jam. She has one for every holiday and Christmas had the most.
Actual traditions we endured over the years:
- Sing happy birthday to Jesus with a large yule log cake.
- Sing the entire Twelve Days of Christmas song as each grandchild hanging an assigned ornament to the tree (this took forever).
- Christmas card competition. This was just judging all the Christmas cards my grandma had gotten that year. It was definitely the most fun thing we did. There would be rounds and rounds of voting and it got HEATED.
- Stocking stuffers. Just like so much present opening really.
- Sometimes if we had a priest there (so Catholic guys, so Catholic) we would have a mini church service.
Afterward, you’re exhausted and you don’t quite know what to do with yourselves, so my parents never wanted to go home and cook a big nice meal for us especially since we usually hosted Christmas Day dinner at our house. It then became a tradition for us to go out after going to grandmas for a nice dinner that was not at our house. When we lived in the suburbs, it was usually the country club because it was easy and on the way home, but after my mom died my dad stopped going with us to my grandma’s for Christmas (another story, another time) and we started meeting him after for a nice steak dinner downtown. Steakhouses are always open on Christmas Eve which is what started that tradition, and also my whole family loves a good steak or a baked potato (my sister doesn’t eat meat!).
In the spirit of giving, I’ve decided to compile a list of places we’ve gone for Christmas Eve dinner and loved, AND also include some places I know are open for Christmas Eve and I have been before and adore just in case you find yourself joining our family tradition of dining out the night before Christmas.
We are going here this upcoming Christmas Eve! I have never personally been, but I have seen their delicious looking food on Instagram and I am very pumped up!
We have never been here for Christmas dinner, but we did come for my birthday this year and were blown away by the service and the food since it wasn’t what you’d call typical steakhouse fare. If you’re looking for something that is safe for most people (steak, potatoes), but also has a flair for fun then this is the place. They also give you a complimentary drink when you sit down and it’s just got a great ambiance. At this point though, it might be REALLY hard to get a reservation here since it’s such a hot spot, but always call – you never know!
I used to live up in Uptown, which is where my Dad still lives, so we used to go to a lot of places in the Lakeview/Lincoln Park/Lincoln Square area since it was so close to home. This was one of our favorite dinners because it was so quaint, cozy and festive inside. If you’ve never been, their food is divine and highly overlooked because of their location. If they have mussels on the menu, order them.
One of our favorite steakhouses. The food is phenomenal – I mean that butter cake come on. The service is fantastic. They have live music. They decorate for the holidays. This place is always packed on Christmas Eve and there is a reason. The year we went it was so busy we had to sit upstairs! That place is gigantic too so idk how that was even a thing. Highly recommend this place if you want a solid steakhouse holiday experience.
This was another restaurant we went to a few times for Christmas Eve dinner before I moved from Uptown to the West Loop. If you live in the area, you probably know it as a happening bottomless brunch spot, but they actually have really good Italian food for a good price point. It’s a very casual setting but good ambiance and everyone there is very sweet. If you’re looking for something a little less populated, I recommend this place. I would call and make reservations though, it gets a little busier the later in the evening. We usually went around 5:30pm for a few years.
I went here last week for a hosted influencer dinner and was highly impressed. If you’ve never been, it’s a Brazilian steakhouse so you get access to the salad bar which includes basically everything you could ever want to eat including soup, charcuterie, cheese, and tons of salad options – made and premade! Then, they bring out the meat and they don’t stop until you say UNCLE which is my dream meal. Zero jokes there. Then you can access their dessert table which is holiday themed and it’s very delicious and very vegan-friendly. Not that I’m vegan, but they did mention that a lot haha.
As you guys probably remember from my stories with Jim, we attended a special Women in Wine dinner here last Friday which Shula’s will have all month long! You get flights of wine paired with your dinner which includes a flight of filets! Yes, 3 filets of goodness all topped with different things. One topped with lobster, one shrimp and one a simple peppercorn sauce. Not to mention, the wine is all made by female winemakers which is so badass. This promotion doesn’t end until January so make it a point to get there even if you don’t eat out on Christmas Eve!
We’ve never been here for Christmas Eve, but I’ve personally been here for brunch and dinner and this place has great ambiance, food, and service – classic hallmarks for a good Christmas Eve dinner so I recommend. Their roast chicken is FANTASTIC!
Can’t say enough good things about this place. If I have friends in town, I usually bring them here because I love their lasagna, the meatballs…ok, really I love it all. They still have reservations which is surprising so definitely hop on that!
I came here for a holiday dinner with my coworkers and we were wow’ed by their menu. The location of this one is perfect too since it’s right on Wacker and easy to take cabs, trains, buses to get here and it has a great view of the river if you get a window seat.