There are so many things to do during the holiday in Chicago, it’s actually quite hard to pick between all the different options! Throw in friend and family holiday visits, and your winter calendar quickly fills up. If you have some time to spare, you’ll want to check out Chicago’s downtown and neighborhood events, including tree lighting, parades, ice skating, and shopping!
Here are some can’t miss things to do during the holiday in Chicago.
Daley Plaza (Chicago Loop)
November 18 – December 24, 2016
Christkindlmarket is a favorite thing to do during the holiday in Chicago by residents and tourists, alike. Nestled between Dearborn, Washington, and Clark Street is a seasonal Christmas market, inspired by the Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany. It’s the perfect place to find seasonal decorations, indulge in pastries (and other hearty fare), and drink mulled wine!
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
November 25, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Lincoln Park Zoo is a great place to bring the whole family, any time during the year. But during the holiday season, this lakefront zoo transforms itself into a winter wonderland. Like the zoo, it’s free to attend. Unlike normal zoo functions, ZooLights boasts more than two million lights (with animal designs!), holiday crafts, and sweet treats.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
December 2, 2016 – January 8, 2017
You’ll want to bring your kids to the indoor playground at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest! There are almost too many activities to choose from, including:
- An ice skating rink
- Ferris wheel
- Inflatable slides
In addition to a number of exciting activities, Winter WonderFest also has a number of holiday decorations in the spirit of the season.
Ice Skating in Millennium Park (The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink)
Friday November 18 2016 – Monday March 6 2017
Millennium Park has it all:
- Free use of ice rink (ice skates available to rent)
- Amazing views of the Chicago skyline
- Another ice rink closeby! (Maggie Daley Park)
Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park
Opens in mid-November through March
Just around the corner from Millennium Park’s ice skating rink is another rink at Maggie Daley Park. Like Millennium Park, admission is free. Skate rentals are $12, and lockers are $2. Instead of a rectangular shape, Maggie Daley Park has an ice ribbon, reminiscent of a Mario Kart track. This ice rink can accomodate a whooping 700 skaters at a time.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Friday November 25 2016 – Sunday February 26 2017
There’s so much to do at Lincoln Park Zoo during the holidays! Before you check out ZooLights, make sure to check out Lincoln Park Zoo’s ice rink. Admission is $5, with a $5 skate rental. Relax and warm up in the Main Barn, which will be open with concessions!
Other Events and Activities
A Christmas Carol
170 N Dearborn St
Wednesday December 7 2016 – Saturday December 31 2016
This annual production of A Christmas Carol is in its 38th year! Bring your family to enjoy this Charles Dickens classic.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
175 E Chestnut St Chicago
Saturday December 10 2016 – Sunday January 8 2017
A Charlie Brown Christmas is a holiday production that your kids will actually appreciate you taking them to. Emerald City Theater and Broadway in Chicago have partnered together to bring this classic TV special to life, which teaches kids about the true meaning of Christmas.
2257 N Lincoln Ave Chicago
Thursday December 8 2016 – Saturday December 31 2016
Check out American Blues Theater’s live radio play, based on the Frank Capra classic. It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday tradition in Chicago, complete with 1940-style commercials for local sponsors.
Are you excited about all these things to do during the holiday in Chicago? Or have anything fun you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments!