Chicago is one of the
great cities of the world for holiday celebrations. The changing seasons bring
exciting festivals, inspiring exhibits and outdoor fun throughout the city.
And Chicago comes alive with shopping, song, and streets lined with twinkling
lights. You may even see a blanket of snow on our festive garland.
NEW this season: Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park combine to become a festive "Winter Campus" home to Chicago's official Christmas Tree lighting, and the riverfront sets the scene for a spectacular New Year's Eve countdown outdoors, "Chi-Town Rising".
ACTIVITIES AND TOURS
Ice Skating - Millennium Park / Maggie Daley Park / Peninsula Sky Rink
2015-16 Dates: Open late November to early March
Kick off Chicago's
winter season with a fun-filled day of ice skating at Millennium Park's
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. The rink draws more than 100,000 skaters annually,
and is free and open to the public. Skate rental is available for $10.
Or, try out the new ice skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, a winding, quarter-mile long loop celebrating its 1-year anniversary this winter.
At Peninsula Hotel, the skating rink is open to hotel, restaurant and spa guests daily. Here, you can glide four stories above Michigan Avenue, with views of Chicago's iconic John Hancock building and The Magnificent Mile. Fees collected are donated to two children's charities.
Caroling at Cloud Gate - Millennium Park
2015 DATES: Fridays, November 27 - December 18
A Chicago holiday
tradition. Enjoy the beautiful voices of
a variety of choral groups and participate in a holiday sing-along.
Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour
2015-16 DATES: November 27 - January 3 (dates & times vary)
A lightly narrated
2-hour tour shows the best of Chicago's holiday lights and sights and stops at
two brilliant holiday attractions! You will find yourself caroling all the way
to The Magnificent Mile, Macy's Holiday Windows, John Hancock Tree, Navy Pier,
Daley Plaza Tree, the Art Institute lions and much more! Stops to explore include (30 minutes each):
Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza and Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Christkindlmarket - Daley Plaza
2015 DATES: November 20 - December 24
traditional German Christmas inspired by the famous Nuremberg Christmas market
dating back to 1545. Visitors will find Chicago's iconic Picasso sculpture
surrounded by red and white crested huts glowing with warmth and overflowing
with curios. Daley Plaza is transformed at this outdoor market offering
exquisite handmade gifts, unique ornaments and German delicacies like brats,
goulash, potato pancakes, cookies and Gluhwein (a warm spiced wine).
along The Magnificent MileTM (Michigan Avenue) or State Street
No city does shopping
like Chicago. Whether it's along the
famous Magnificent Mile or on State Street (that great street), you will find
everything you need!
A Christmas Carol - Goodman Theatre
2015 DATES: November 14 - December 27
For three decades, Charles Dickens' classic story, exceptional actors and miraculous stagecraft have made A Christmas Carol a perennial holiday favorite and beloved Chicago tradition. Audiences delight in the "Bah, Humbugs," the arrival of the ghosts, the music and dancing and Scrooge's joyful discovery of life and love.
A Charlie Brown Christmas - Broadway Playhouse
2015-16 DATES: November 14 - January 3
Charles Schulz's lovable Peanuts characters come to life on the Broadway Playhouse stage this winter, on a mission to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown and friends will bring audiences holiday cheer and remind them that love and family mean more than commercialized gimmicks of presents and decorations.
Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker"
- The Auditorium Theater
2015 DATES: December 4-27
masterpiece, featuring the full Joffrey company, local children's choruses, and
more than 120 young dancers, creates a winter wonderland of beauty, magic and
CSO's Merry Merry Chicago with the Von Trapps - Symphony Center
2015 DATES: December 18-23
CSO's Merry Merry Chicago with the Von Trapps is just
the ticket for heartwarming holiday cheer. The merry musicians of the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra and special guests are joined by the talented von Trapp family great-grandchildren of the family depicted in "The Sound of Music." The joyous celebration features timeless carols, a sing-along of holiday favorites including "Christmas in Chicago," and a certain someone visiting from the North Pole!
SPECIAL EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS
Macy's on State Christmas Traditions
2015 Dates: November 5 - December 31
Themed and decorated windows along State Street unveil a story of Christmas cheer. Marvel at our 45-foot Great Tree decorated with over 1,200 themed ornaments and 25,000 dazzling lights in the famed Walnut Room.
Christmas Around the World & Holidays
of Light - Museum of Science
2015-16 DATES: November 19 - January 3
A Chicago tradition
since 1942. The Museum's 45-foot Grand
Tree takes center stage in the rotunda with more than
30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees
beautifully decorated by volunteers from Chicago's ethnic communities to
represent their various cultures and holiday traditions. View the trees, enjoy
intermittent falling "snow" and savor the performances on the Holiday Stage by
school choral groups and ethnic song and dance groups.
Holiday Tea at the Drake Hotel
2015-16 DATES: November 20 - January 3; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Continuing its longstanding tradition of afternoon tea, Palm Court offers "Holiday Tea" from November through December. Visitors will enjoy festive holiday pastries, a harpist will play daily, and for "The 12 Days of Christmas" Carolers will serenade guests in the magnificently decorated winter wonderland.
Thorne Rooms decorated for Christmas at the Art Institute of Chicago
2015-16 DATES: November 20 - January 10
The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, each room is decorated with holiday traditions from the time period.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
2015 DATE: November 21
The largest evening
holiday celebration in the U.S., jump starting the holiday season with a full
day of family friendly activities, concerts by top musical artists and the best
holiday shopping. The day's excitement culminates with a grand evening parade
down Michigan Avenue marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, illuminating
one million lights on 200 trees. The parade concludes with a grand finale
fireworks show over the Chicago River.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
2015 DATE: November 24
The official City of
Chicago Christmas Tree will be lit at dusk in its new location at Millennium Park, and following this seasonal kick-off celebration, visitors also can meet with Santa at the Millennium Park Welcome Center.
2015 DATE: November 26 (U.S.
Ronald McDonald, Santa
and a cast of thousands march down State Street as over 400,000 people line the
route from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. Whether you're gazing at the
gigantic helium balloons, moving to the beat of the marching bands or waving at
the entertainers in decorative floats, there is fun for all at the biggest
holiday parade in the city and the only one in Chicago to feature inflatable
balloons every year.
Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute
2015 DATES: November 27
Celebrate the holiday
season with this Chicago family favorite as the iconic lions at the entrance of
the Art Institute of Chicago are adorned with traditional evergreen
wreaths! Afterwards, head inside for
music and family-friendly activities.
at Lincoln Park Zoo
2015-16 DATES: November 27 - January 3 (select evenings/weekends only)
Enter a winter
wonderland illuminated by more than two million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo's
annual classic. Get a picture taken with Santa through December 23rd, prepare
holiday crafts and watch ice carving. Then escape the cold and experience the
climates, conditions and animals of four continents: South America, Africa, Asia
and Australia in the zoo's Regenstein Small Mammal Reptile House.
Lawry's Dinner and "A Christmas Carol" Live
2015 DATE: November 29
Enjoy the charming
sounds of costumed performers dressed in traditional Victorian attire as they entertain
with Christmas Carols at the equally historic Lawry's, The Prime Rib. This special event also features a four-course prime rib dinner before heading out for a night of theatre to watch live performance of A Christmas Carol.
Pier's Winter Wonderfest
2015-16 DATES: December 5 - January 10
Enjoy more time to have
more fun inside an enchanted 170,000 square foot winter playground! Bring the entire family
for days of entertainment, Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating, huge inflatable slides,
rides, and so much more.
Magic at Brookfield Zoo
2015 DATES: Saturdays and Sundays, December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20
Saturday - Thursday, December 26-31
light festival featuring over one million twinkling lights, animated light
displays and a laser light show.
Holiday Traditions at Clarke House and Glessner House
traditional 10th century Christmas at Clarke and Glessner House
Museums and learn about the origins of many of our beloved Christmas
Chi-Town Rising New Year's Eve Celebration
A free, outdoor party in the heart of downtown will make for a New Year's Eve to remember. See Chicago's star rise sky-high for a special countdown on December 31 outside the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Live music stages and multiple celebrations will spill out from this main party central along the riverfront, with VIP packages and viewing parties available from several partner hotels.