CHICAGO — Outdoor holiday attractions like Christkindlmarket and Zoo Lights are always popular, but the balmy Christmas Eve weather has more people out than usual.
Hovering around 53 degrees in the city, it’s bringing new meaning to the phrase warm wishes for the holiday season.
“Oh this is unbelievable,” Art Elam said. “This is truly unbelievable.”
According to WGN’s weather department, there have only been eight Christmases with high temperatures in the 50s since official records began back in 1871.
The total is expected to rise to nine on Wednesday. It will be warmer on Christmas than it was on Halloween when Chicago was dealing with snow. On Thanksgiving, it was in the 30s.
At Lincoln Park Zoo, it was a gridlock. Patrons told us they had trouble finding parking spots nearby.
“Wall-to-wall traffic,” said Tom Chibucos. “Red lights everywhere, headlights everywhere.”
Even though it didn’t feel like Christmas, Matt Hess found some holiday magic outside of the zoo’s main gate.
“Getting this parking space, did not expect that at all,” Hess said. “An early Christmas present.”
Zoo Lights is closed tonight and Wednesday, but will open up again on the 26th and runs through Jan. 5
Christmas Eve is the last day for Christkindlmarket.
Last-minute shoppers were out and about on Christmas Eve too. With a healthy economy, The National Retail Federation expects Americans to spend about $30 billion, a four percent increase over 2018.
Americans spend $1,000 on average on gifts, meals and travel.
"I want a nerf gun and a real phone," a young boy told us.
An increasing number do shopping online these days, but for others, shopping the traditional way at brick-and-mortar stores is a Christmas Eve tradition.