You’d have to be crazy to say you live in Chicago for the winters, but you’re not crazy to say you love the holiday season in the city. From light parades to ice skating rinks, there are plenty of holiday activities to help get your family feeling festive.
Here is a list of 10 holiday activities around the city for a classic Chicago holiday season:
- Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Christkindlmarket is an open-air, European holiday market in Daley Plaza featuring traditional art, handmade gifts, German foods, beer, hot spiced wine, choirs, and carolers. Free admission!
- The Great Tree at Macy’s Walnut Room. Expect to wait to get a table in the Walnut Room. You can see the Great Tree from the eighth floor of the store.
- Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park. ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo features millions of holiday lights, ice carvings, music, carousel rides, train rides, food, and gift shopping. Free entry.
- Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park. Admission is free, but skate rental is $12 during the week and $14 on the weekend. The ice ribbon will be open through the first week of March.
- Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier. Festival Hall at Navy Pier becomes an indoor Winter WonderFest for the holidays, with music, carnival rides, and entertainment. Expect crowds. Free entry.
- Shopping on Michigan Avenue. View the festive lights, people watch the tourists and get some shopping done before stopping for a delicious holiday lunch at one of the city’s many restaurants in the area.
- A Christmas Carol. The Goodman Theatre’s annual holiday production of the Charles Dickens classic enters its 39th year with seasonal charm intact.
- Christmas Around the World. View more than 50 trees and displays at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World exhibit, a Chicago tradition since 1942. Each tree is decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s many communities, representing their diverse culture and holiday customs.
- Morton Arboretum Holiday Lights. Parents and children alike will love the 50 acres of vibrant LED lights that are hung on the Morton Arboretum’s vast treescape, creating a kaleidoscopic winter wonderland. This year’s “Illumination: Tree Lights” is wowing audiences already; it’s absolutely worth the drive out to Lisle.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas. With The Peanuts Movie introducing Charles M. Schulz’s characters to a new generation of kids, Emerald City Theatre and Broadway in Chicago bring the classic TV special about the true meaning of Christmas to the stage.