I love visiting the Grand America Hotel around the holidays because they do such a lovely job with the decorations and it’s a nice warm holiday outing. Plus, there’s a hot cocoa bonus at the end!
My advice: park on the lower parking level near the elevators (make a double right at the bottom of the ramp). The ballroom elevators take you right up to the giant gingerbread house on the main level. From there, make a right and take the long way around to the lobby. You’ll get a great view of the large tree in the courtyard and you can see all of the smaller trees in the hallways. Visit the toy store and see the window displays before popping in to see what’s left from the holiday rush.
Continue around to the patisserie if you’re traveling without any food allergies and grab some madeleines. Skip the Garden Cafe unless you have extra time (and money), because the Lobby Lounge is just as lovely and you can grab some hot drinks and a little something to snack on. Continue around to the shops on the other side of the lobby and if you keep going down past the spa, you will have seen all the windows and you’ll be back at the gingerbread house. Don’t forget to get your free cookies!