It’s holiday time in the city! Ring-a-ling, everyone — this is your chance to make the most of the wintry fun around town. This weekend, you can take in one of many shows, ice skate with a view, have a blast at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, and make the trek out to Lisle for a dazzling lights show. December will be gone before you know it, so read on and get moving!
photo: Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest
IN THE CITY
Give the Kids a Night of Science
While parents have a night out, kids can spend their Saturday night with a pizza dinner at The Laboratory’s unique Spa Chemistry series. Kids will imagine, create, calculate and design their own unique scented products for the holiday season. Sat. Event details.
Look on as ZooLights Illuminate the Night Sky
Lincoln Park Zoo is flipping the holiday switch to their ZooLights so your family can stroll through a twinkling winter wonderland with over 2 million lights. Take pics with Santa, enjoy food and drinks, watch ice carving demos and, new this year, get lost in a maze created with 30,000 lightbulbs. Fri.-Sun. Event details.
Say Guten Tag to Santa at Christkindlmarket
Bundle up for this outdoor market that brings the cherished tradition of the Christkindlmarket to Chicago and adds a heap of local charm. You’ll see the market’s signature wooden cabins topped with festive red-and-white-striped canopies, each packed with handmade gifts, food and drinks from around the world. Fri.-Sun. Event details.
Delight in the Music of Home Alone
We all fell in love with 8-year-old Kevin McCallister as he worked to defend his Chicago home against two bungling thieves. Now, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform the charming and delightful score from this classic. Hilarious and heart-warming, Home Alone is holiday fun for the entire family! Sat. & Sun. Event details.
Take a Dazzling Holiday Trolley Ride
Watch the winking and blinking of the holiday lights via trolley by hooking up with Chicago Trolley Co. for its annual Holiday Lights Tour. See the best-of-the-best displays, stop by Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights and throw down a Sprinkles Cupcake, while you’re at it. Fri.-Sun. Event details.
Get Jolly with Mrs. Claus! A Holiday Musical
This short and sweet one-hour musical adaptation is a great intro to holiday theater for even the littlest ones. They’ll feel like part of the action as they help elves find Santa’s missing list just in time for Christmas — with a little help from lovable Mrs. Claus. Fri. Event details.
Get Your Winter Thrill Fill at Navy Pier
Being Chicago’s biggest and best indoor winter playground, Winter Wonderfest features 170,000 square feet filled with rides for all ages, 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.
WinterFest Rolls Through West Town
The historic retail corridors of West Town will host its biggest annual holiday extravaganza to date offering a winter wonderland experience. In addition to many of the area’s favorite independent shops interconnected via Jolly Trolley, there will be a guided shopping tour, holiday market, family activities and WinterFest Bucks earned that can be used for future shopping. Sat. Event details.
Experience The Nutcracker with a Twist
This creative reinvention of The Nutcracker has an original spin: It focuses on Clara’s journey to save her family, reeling from the wartime death of her brother, from the Rat King. Both funny and heartwarming, it will remind everyone about the real reason for the season. Fri.-Sun. Event details.
IN THE ‘BURBS
Bask in the Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Chicagoland’s largest lights festival, Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo features over one million LED lights. Indoor exhibits remain open and guests can take part in singing to the animals and listen in on special Zoo Chats. Sat. & Sun. Event details.
Take Your Train Lovers to Chicago Botanic Garden
Step inside and let The Wonderland Express transport your family into a garden paradise filled with 750,000 lights. Watch as garden-scale trains wind past miniature replicas of Chicago landmarks and an English countryside. Fri.-Sun. Event details.
Light Up Your Weekend at 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.
For more ideas on how to spend this weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar.
Share your weekend plans in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers