The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means one thing in Chicago. No, not sub-zero temps (at least not yet) — SHOPPING!! We live in one of the best cities in the world for working your way through the holiday wish lists. But all that shopping can be exhausting. Take a much-needed timeout for afternoon tea to rest and recharge. Our fair city offers the time-old tradition that will turn a day of shopping with the kids into a cherished memory. Here are our picks for getting in touch with your inner Brit with a spot o’ tea.

LondonHouse: River Vista Tea Service


Tea service is offered daily in the Bridges Lobby Bar which offers a stunning view of the Chicago River and its famous bridges. You'll begin with a tea selection of Rare Tea Cellars and Sparrow Coffee teas and a basket of fresh scones and breads. From there, you'll pick sweet and savory bites from a 3-tiered tower crafted by the culinary and pasty teams. Tea service is $75/adults and $25/kids. Reservations can be made on tock

Daily, noon-3 p.m.; LondonHouse, 85 E. Wacker Dr., Loop. Online:

Teddy Bear Tea at Hotel Zachary

Hotel Zachary

Create warm winter memories with high tea for you, your little one and their best stuffed friend with Teddy Bear Tea at Hotel Zachary. On Sunday afternoons families are invited to enjoy a festive tea service, featuring Rare Tea Cellars. Children can indulge in a pot of house-made hot chocolate, tea sandwiches and light bites, scones, cupcakes and more sweet treats. Tea service is $45/adults, $25/ages 12 & under. Reservations can be made on While you're in the area, stop by Gallagher Way's Winterland for non-stop holiday cheer. 

Nov. 28 - Dec. 19, Sun., 1 p.m.; Hotel Zachary, 3630 N. Clark St., Lakeview; Online:

The Peninsula: Afternoon Tea - November

The Peninsula

The Lobby will serve Afternoon Tea, featuring finger sandwiches, sweet and savory treats presented on a tiered silver tea stand for $125/adult, including a glass of Champagne, and $55/kids. Afternoon Tea seatings are Fri.-Sun., 2:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. A string duo provides entertainment. For Afternoon Tea in November, make your reservation via Tock.

Nov.; The Peninsula’s The Lobby, 108 E. Superior St., Near North Side; Online:

The Peninsula: Holiday Afternoon Tea

The Lobby is nothing short of spectacular during the holiday season. The menu features finger sandwiches including Smoked Salmon, Organic Egg Salad, Classic English Cucumber and Cranberry Chicken. Petite seasonal pastries with choux, chocolate and winter fruit creations as well as fruit and plain scones, house-made preserves and Devonshire clotted cream. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available.

Tea service is $125/adult, including a glass of Champagne, and $55/kids. Holiday carolers, Mrs. Claus and a string duo provide the entertainment (note: entertainment varies based on day of the week). For Holiday Tea, make your reservation via Tock.

Nov. 26 - Jan. 9, Daily, 2:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.; The Peninsula’s The Lobby, 108 E. Superior St., Near North Side: Online:

The Langham Hotel: Holiday Tea at Pavilion

The Langham, © Galdones Photography

For the die-hard holiday shopper who starts on State Street and treks to North Michigan Ave, the Langham hotel is the perfect place for a shopping halftime. Executive Chef Damion Henry presents a delectable menu with sweet and savory treats featuring seasonal flavors. Pavilion's afternoon tea sommeliers provide a memorable experience with attentive and elegant service.

Enchanting teas are accompanied by live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon creating a harmonious afternoon of indulgence. Specialty menus for children and guests with dietary restrictions are available upon request. For reservations, please click here.

Nov. 17-Jan. 9, Mon.-Thurs., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. & Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; The Langham Hotel, 330 N. Wabash, Near North Side; Online:

The Drake: Palm Court Holiday Tea

If you want to feel like royalty, afternoon tea at the Drake is for you. After all, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and the Empress of Japan — each of whom has enjoyed tea at the famous hotel — wouldn’t settle for just any cuppa. During the holiday season, Palm Court will transform into a winter wonderland complete with festive decorations, seasonal pastries, a harpist and even a merry band of carolers  Reservations can be made online at OpenTable or by calling 312-932-4619.

Beginning Nov. 3, Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; The Drake Hotel, 140 East Walton Place, Near North Side; Online:

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party

Chicago Children’s Theatre invites families to celebrate the holidays at the company’s ever-popular, seasonal smash hit, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Kids are encouraged to dress in their holiday best, or just come as they’re comfortable, to this incredibly charming, meticulously designed puppet show starring Peter Rabbit and his favorite animal friends.

After the show, go on stage to gently play with the puppets and take pictures. Then, head to the lobby for a festive spread of chocolate milk and cookies!  

Nov. 20-Dec. 24, Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.; The Station, 100 S. Racine, West Loop; Online:


Vanille Patisserie

Vanille Patisserie’s French-inspired afternoon tea experience will transport you and your bébés to the city of lights. Enjoy Vanille signature pastries, scones, finger sandwiches and French macarons while sipping on the finest of Benjamin’s Tea and Hot Chocolate with house-made marshmallows. 

Locations in Lincoln Park & Hyde Park; Online:

High Tea with Gerri

Maria Chambers

Nestled in the historic village of Long Grove, Gerri's Tea Room represents her roots and heritage as a native of Ireland and London-trained culinary aficionado. Opened in 2012, the tea room features a classic experience and introduction to the past time of afternoon tea in an elegant and charming setting. A four-course Traditional Tea is $43/person and a five-course Emporer's Tea is offered for $47/person. Also available is a Prince & Princess Tea, $24/ages 10 & under.

Daily, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Gerri’s Tea Room, 144 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove; Online:

—Debra Flanagan


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