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  • Beth Delany

Add a Little Magic to Your Holiday Season

You've heard before that Chicago is pure magic this time of year. The Mag Mile is lined with twinkling lights and horse drawn carriages as tourists hustle in and out of stores checking to-dos off the list while brainstorming gift ideas that are original and memorable.

But just north of the Mag Mile, the Palmer House Hotel hosts the longest-running magic show in Chicago -- an experience that would make an unforgettable gift for your nearest and dearest. Dennis Watkins, aka the Magic Parlour, is a third generation magician whose old school approach to magic and illusion is refreshingly spirited and wickedly smart.

It's more than a bag of tricks -- the intimate show leaves guests awestruck and even the most unyielding non-believers will leave their jaws on the floor during the all-encompassing experience. In absence of an unfriendly auditorium setting, Watkins performs for no more than about 40 people at a time in one of the Palmer House's sophisticated private rooms , allowing for unavoidable participation from the entire audience.

Illusions and allurement stem from cards, blindfolds, books, dollar bills and even some audience personal items that patrons won't be able to rationalize no matter how physically close they are to the Abracadabra outcome.

Aside from Watkins's storytelling narration and palpable bewitchment, guests are laser-focused on the unexplainable alchemy that can only be captured in a show with such rich history.

Although rich history can be hard to capture in a holiday gift, a date for two or a family night out at the Magic Parlour is sure to further memorialize a true Chicago experience in the city of wintry magic.

For reservations with the Magic Parlour, head to


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