Like baubles on a tree, Chicago's holiday events and traditions delight the senses, add sparkle to your social calendar, and come in every shape, size and color.

Be mesmerized by an explosion of twinkling lights at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Millennium Park (November 17), Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (November 17-18), ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo (November 25-January 1) and Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier (December 1 - January 7, 2018). Shop till you drop (or you've had one too many spiced wines) at Christkindlmarket Chicago (November 17 - December 24), Randolph Street Holiday Market (November 18 - 19) and the One of A Kind Show and Sale (December 7-10). And if the winter air is just a little too frosty, take in holiday themed events at the city's world-renowned arts institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago's Holiday Thorne Rooms (November 22-January 8), the Museum of Science & Industry's Christmas Around the World exhibit (November 16-January 7) and the Joffrey Ballet's unique interpretation of The Nutcracker (December 1-30).

Whichever events you choose, you're sure to find that Chicago truly is a winter wonderland.


While Christmas events span from November to January, a winter getaway to Chicago should definitely take advantage of favorite holiday happenings. Here's a quick calendar roundup of some of the biggest events to plan your trip around, all happening on back-to-back weekends: