Resist the urge to stay snug as a bug in those turkey pants this weekend and close out November with a flurry of activity. Holiday lights tours on foot, in a trolley or helicopter, ice skating with a view and more musicals than you can possibly cover in a weekend, we’ve done the work to find the cold-weather fun. Read on for our Editor’s picks for this weekend’s best of the best.

a-christmas-carol-goodman-theatrephoto:  A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre



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

Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
Based on the best-selling book series by Barbara Park, this holiday show follows fan-favorite Junie B. Jones as she takes part in a holiday sing-along concert at school and Secret Santa Day. “Dear Santa, I really hope you were watching me just now. That’s all I hope. Love, Junie B. –Giver.” Fri.-Sun. Event details.

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

Brunch with Santa at The Signature Room
Dig into a gourmet lunch spread with Santa atop the John Hancock Tower, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with Christmas trees adorned with colorful ornaments and tinsel. In addition to photo opportunities with the big man and his elves, children can partake in holiday-themed activities such as cookie decorating, face painting, a balloon artist and creating wish lists. Sat. Event details.

Millennium Park

Caroling the Holiday Classics at Cloud Gate
Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Santa Claus will join the crowd beforehand, and after the music, head a few steps away to take a spin on the McCormick Tribune ice rink. Fri. Event details.

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


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. Sun. Event details.


Glen Ellyn

A Christmas Carol at the MAC
Have a feel-good Thanksgiving weekend with College of Dupage Theater’s rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the McAninch Arts Center (MAC). Sit back and watch as a mean-spirited old man, a poor but optimistic clerk and three visiting ghosts join forces to take theater-goers on a magical journey to find the true meaning of the holiday season. Fri.-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.


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