Chicago Holiday Events

Nov 22, 2019

Chicago Holiday Events – Get Out and Make Some Memories!

Christmas is a time for festivities that comes only once a year. So when it hits, you want to be at a place where you can enjoy to the fullest. One such area where the spirit of Christmas comes alive “My Kind of Town.”

The city holds on to the Christmas traditions of old and displays them in a modern way. You get to witness these in the form of special events in and around Christmas.

There are five events in particular that you do not want to miss out on this Christmas in Chicago. It is also less likely to have more than an inch of snowfall this time around. So, whether you are with family, a friend, or a lover, it is time to come out for a once-in-a-year experience!

Some of the Best “Can’t Miss” Chicago Holiday Events in 2019

Shop and Dine at Christkindlmarket Chicago

The hustle and bustle at Christkindlmarket is a sight to behold around Christmas every year. It is a tradition that is no different this year, as you can enjoy the marketplace at Daley Plaza in Chicago and Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville.

You will find loads to do and enjoy at Christkindlmarket. The market place has open-style shops of all sorts which boast merchandise from all around the world. You can get yourself a couple of nutcrackers to get into the Christmas spirit or buy some dazzling glass ornaments to go with the Christmas lights.

Schnitzel and mulled wine

But it does not end with the shopping. You can’t enjoy Christmas on any empty stomach, and Christkindlmarket ensures you never go hungry. You can get your hands on a light snack such as pancakes and pretzels, or something more fulfilling in the shape of schnitzels and burgers. There is nothing like a warming mulled wine or hot chocolate to go with your food.

Christkindlmarket remains open every day until the 24th of December. On Christmas Eve, the place remains packed from the early open hours and even more so towards the closing hours in the late afternoon.

Holiday Tip

The early bird gets the worm, and you will want to be at Christkindlmarket around noon to get the best feel of the place. Over a million visitors attend annually.

Dates: November 15 – December 24; Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 8 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm (special holiday hours on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve)

Venue: Daley Plaza – 50 West Washington Street

Admission: Free

Note: Christkindlmarkets are also held in Wrigleyville and Milwaukee. Visit the website for more information.

Take in the Awe-Inspiring Christmas Light Displays Around Chicago

Only a few other places in the world parallel lighting displays around the City of Chicago in the period around Christmas. It is difficult to rate a spot as the best in all of Chicago for the lights. There are quite a few places in the city worthy of that title. You will find one of them closer to your location, but if you have the time, we recommend checking out the dazzling displays at all of them!

The Lincoln Park Zoolights

The Zoolight Event at the Lincoln Park Zoo is a sight for sore eyes, with its millions of bulbs warming the hearts on cold December nights. You get to roam around and feast your eyes, coupled with a glass of wine to enjoy the occasion. On certain nights, the place holds special functions like musicals and adult-only events. A night stroll in the park is a pleasant experience throughout December. This is an annual Chicago holiday event that you won’t want to miss, even for one year.

Illumination: Tree Lights

Illumination: Tree Lights is the event name of the dazzling display of lights at The Morton Arboretum. It is a light-decorated path that stretches a mile. The reflection of the lit trees in the nearby water gives the place a magical effect. There is no shortage of entertaining music and drinks to go with the view. You can check out the spot at its best between the end of November and early January.

The Lightscape

Yet another event name: The Lightscape is a towering display of lights at Chicago Botanic Garden. The event is a first in history and runs between late November till the first week of January. You will need to buy a ticket online to get into the place, which costs less than $20. But the investment is well worth it with the sparkle of lights and music.

Millennium Park Ice Skating

The snowfall in the cold months around Christmas is a nuisance to a lot of people in Chicago, but it also has its perks. One of these is the ice skating rink that opens in Millennium Park. There are no entry charges for the skating rink. If you have skates, it’s entirely free. Otherwise, you can rent them for less than $15 at the place. The lighting and the open sky over the skating rink make the experience special. There is no other place that gives the same Christmas vibe in all of Chicago.

The best time to go to the spot is in the evening when all the lights are on. You can also have a great time in the morning on weekends. The skating rink remains open beyond Christmas till March 8th of 2020.

Dates: November 15, 2019 to March 8, 2020 – Monday through Thursday 12 pm to 8 pm; Friday 12 pm to 10 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 9 pm

Venue: Millennium Park, McCormick Tribune Rink

Hit the Theater – Joffrey Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Outdoor activities are not the most desirable for many people in the cold of December. The theater is the perfect place for such people to enjoy their time. Around Christmas, you get to witness the latest version of The Nutcracker, revived by Joffrey Ballet.

It is a seasonal must-attend that you can experience at the Auditorium Theatre. The entry fee to the theater varies over November and December, with the lowest prices in the early iterations of the play. As such, you should make time for the event as early as possible to witness some of the traditions of Chicago.

Dates: November 30th through December 29th (evening and matinee performances)

Venue: Auditorium Theater

TIP: If you love plays, musicals, and other live entertainment events throughout the year, be sure to visit the OTL Free Tickets Club hosted in this City Guide. Chicago members have experienced amazing shows for the past five years with complimentary “seat filler” tickets.

Visit the Museum of Science and Industry’s Grand Tree and Christmas Around the World

The Museum of Science and Industry gets a reformation around Christmas. The museum welcomes all the diverse communities of Chicago with its decorated, artificial trees.

There is a king of all trees, called the Grand Tree, at the center of all the small trees. This tree stands at over 40 feet, which is the equivalent of a three-story building! These trees remain in the museum throughout December in the spirit of Christmas.

Other than this decoration, the museum itself is a marvel for science (and Christmas) enthusiasts. It has exhibits that appeal to both the young and old. The museum is massive, and it may take you a quarter of a day to get through it all! So it is best to visit the museum on a completely free day.

Dates: Through January 5, 2020

Venue: Museum of Science and Industry


Get Out and Enjoy These and Other Chicago Holiday Events

There are many worthwhile things to do and places to visit in Chicago around Christmas.

Not many cities in the world celebrate Christmas with the same enthusiasm as the people in the Windy City with all of the annual Chicago holiday events. It is an astounding city to be in close to Christmas, one that you should explore at least once in your life. If you keep saying, “maybe next year,” then make it THIS year!

Chicago Events Calendar

We’ve also got plenty more events and ideas for things to do in the Chicago area on the Chicago City Events Calendar powered by Evvnt. 

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