Oh what fun it is to live in Chicago in December! The holly-jolly mood is in full swing, with a full line up of activities to keep us cheerful. From lit up zoos to holiday craft shows, it’s going to be non-stop from now through the New Year. Sit back and enjoy the sleigh ride with these weekend picks from our Editor.

Chicago Lights Helicopter Tourphoto: Chicago Helicopter Experience



Up, Up, Up! Get a Birds-Eye View of Holiday Lights
Buckle up and take your holiday lights enjoyment to all new heights with a birds-eye view from 1,200 feet above the crowd. Chicago Helicopter Experience is offering guests sky-high views of Chicago’s magnificent light displays. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre
There are always a few versions of Marley’s thought-provoking caper across town during the holidays. The one that’s everlasting (and truly tear-jerking) is at The Goodman Theatre, which was first staged there more than 35 years ago. There is something about this timeless story, combined with the world-class actors of The Goodman, that keeps the “bah-humbug”s away. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Guten Tag, Santa! Christkindlmarket Chicago is Back!
Bundle up for this outdoor market that brings the cherished German and European tradition of the Christkindlmarkt in Germany to Chicago and adds a heap of local charm. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Watch ZooLights Illuminate the Night’s Sky
With the light displays throughout the grounds your fam can stroll through the twinkling winter wonderland created by over 2 million lights, take photos with Santa, enjoy food and drinks, watch ice carving demos, partake in carousel rides and go-’rounds on the Lionel Train Adventure. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Mag Mile

A Dazzling Holiday Trolley Ride
This lightly narrated two-and-a-half-hour adventure shows the best of Chicago’s holiday lights and stops at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoolights show. The tour even includes complimentary treats from Sprinkles Cupcakes for each passenger. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Millennium Park

Ice Skating with a Pretty Sweet View
Take a spin on the ice with a magnificent view at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Navy Pier

A Winter Thrill Fill at Navy Pier
Get your thrill fill at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, which has rides for all ages. Being Chicago’s biggest and best indoor winter playground, it features 170,000 square feet filled with rides, giant slides, Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating rink and holiday decor that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

River North

Shop A One of a Kind Holiday Show
The 16th annual One of a Kind Holiday Show is coming to the Mart! The show will feature more than 600 artists offering handmade pieces in a wide range of mediums and price points. In addition to shopping, attendees can enjoy live performances by local musicians sponsored by the Old School of Folk Music. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Have a Charlie Brown Kind of Christmas
Christmastime is here…and Charlie Brown can’t seem to find the joy in the season. Join the Peanuts gang as they discover the true meaning of Christmas in this 1970’s tv classic turned musical. Sat. & Sun. Event details.



Illumination: Tree Lights
Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Visit Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago
Santa HQ is a thoroughly modern, extraordinarily experiential visit with Santa. The experience invites guests to customize their individual experience by using augmented reality to view Santa’s Workshop and Observatory in magical ways. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Holiday Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
Step into an indoor winter wonderland bursting with LEGO bricks! Young brick fans are invited to LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago’s annual Holiday Bricktacular to participate in heaps of holly jolly fun. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


For more ideas on how to spend your weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar.

Chat with us about how you’re going to spend your weekend in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers