Say goodbye to a November to remember — unseasonably warm weather and a World Series win (Go Cubs!) — and a happy hello to an equally fabulous December. It was a tough job, but we rounded up favorite activities in the city and ‘burbs. From hockey to ballet, read on for our Editor’s picks for filling your family calendar.
photo: The Magic Flute
(1) Lyric Opera’s The Magic Flute
Lyric Opera of Chicago is proud to present its all-new production of The Magic Flute, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s beloved opera about a prince searching for a captive princess and the adventures and obstacles they encounter on their way to “happy ever after.” This charming new production features a host of captivating characters portrayed by an international roster of acclaimed artists and a trio of delightful “genies” portrayed by Chicagoland child actors.
When: December 10, 12 & 14
Hours: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., The Loop
Cost: $39/adults; $20/kids
(2) Teddy Bear Toss with The Chicago Steel
Take a break from holiday shopping for a bit of hockey. The Chicago Steel is Chicagoland’s top tier junior hockey league, featuring future college and professional-level stars. Bring a new, unwrapped stuffed animal to throw on the ice after the first Steel goal. All bears donated to charity.
When: December 10
Hours: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Fox Valley Ice Arena, 1996 S. Kirk Rd., Geneva
(3) Winterfest Rolls Through West Town
The historic retail corridors of West Town will host its biggest annual holiday extravaganza to date! West Town WinterFest rolls through the hood offering a winter wonderland experience with an array of exciting new activities. This year, in addition to many of the area’s favorite independent shops interconnected via Jolly Trolley, there will be a new guided shopping tour, a pop-up holiday market, family activities, WinterFest Bucks and a new “Naughty List” After Party on Division Street.
When: December 10
Hours: Noon-6 p.m.
Where: The Shapiro Ballroom, 1612 W. Chicago Ave., West Town
photo: Singin’ in the Rain
(4) Singin’ in the Rain in the Windy City
All the romance, glitz and glamour of the roaring 20s pour into The Marriott Theatre this fall with one of the most beloved and celebrated musicals of all time, Singin’ in the Rain. Singin’ in the Rain is a light-hearted spoof of frantic Hollywood as the advent of sound revolutionizes the movie industry.
When: Thru December 31
Hours: Wed., 1 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Thurs. & Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat. 4:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m. & 5 p.m.; select Thurs. at 1 p.m.
Where: The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire
(5) Merry Merry Chicago
Listen to the celebrated songs of the season performed by the best musicians in the city: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Children’s Choir and special guest vocalist Ashley Brown, best known for originating the role of Mary Poppins on Broadway. Arrangements both new and cherished will have you humming and singing along. Be ready for a visit from the man in red, too!
When: December 16-23
Hours: Performance times vary, check website
Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Loop
(6) Dive Into Shedd for a Holiday Breakfast
It really is the most wonderful time of the year . . . because it’s time for Shedd’s holiday breakfast! After you meet-n-greet with Santa, fill your bellies with breakfast, sip on hot chocolate and enjoy a screening of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and THE POLAR EXPRESS™ 4-D experiences. Afterward, explore Shedd’s children’s exhibit, Polar Play Zone, and finish your special day with reserved seats to the aquatic presentation, One World.
When: December 10, 11 & 17
Hours: 8 a.m.
Where: Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Cost: $49.95/adults; $39.95/ages 3-10; free for ages 3 & under
photo: Ruth Page’s The Nutcracker
(7) Ruth Page Civic Ballet Presents The Nutcracker
The Ruth Page Civic Ballet is proud to present its annual production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Ruth Page. With exquisite dancing, stunning costumes and magical settings in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets, these performances promise world-class entertainment and holiday joy for children of all ages. Also available is “Tea with Clara,” a delightful tea party which patrons can enjoy with their favorite The Nutcracker characters.
When: December 3-4
Hours: Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m. & 5 p.m.; Tea, Sun., 3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m.
Where: Northeastern Illinois University, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., North Park
Cost: $25/adults, $10/ages 12 & under; Tea, $85/adults, $50/ages 12 & under
photo: Above and Beyond
(8) The Sky’s the Limitless: Above and Beyond MSI
Above and Beyond is a fascinating look at aviation’s past while looking toward aerospace’s advancements for the future. This dynamic exhibit focuses on how past inventors turned their dream of flying into a reality and how current innovators continue to push past the limits of Earth and space. Guests will be fully immersed with hands-on simulations that demonstrate the forces of flight.
When: Grounded at MSI all month long!
Hours: Daily, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Where: Museum Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Hyde Park
Cost: (Included in admission) $18/adults, $11/ages 3-11
(9) Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Who doesn’t love the blockbuster Disney movie about a mermaid who longs to leave her enchanted underwater kingdom to find love up above? No matter your age, your experience with the story, or if you believe in mermaids or not (they’re totally real), your family will want to be front and center when the curtain goes up on Paramount’s magical new production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
When: Performances all December long!
Hours: Showtimes vary, check website
Where: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
photo: Illumination: Tree Lights
(10) Illumination: Tree Lights
Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum is back 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. Brand new experiences this year include projections of abstract design that splash across the hemlock trees in Treemagination and Fantasy Forest, where the Arboretum’s hedge garden provides a backdrop for pencil-thin pillars of light which will extend skyward and appear to chase one another while synchronized to music.
When: All month long!
Hours: Daily, 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Where: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte. 53, Lisle
Cost: $17-$20/adults; $11-$13/children
(11) Watch ZooLights Illuminate the Night Sky
One of the nation’s only free-admission zoos flips the holiday switch with ZooLights. 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.
When: All month long!
Hours: 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m; Fri.-Sun. (Dec. 2-4); nightly after Dec. 8; closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
(12) Guten Tag! Christinkindlmarket is HERE!
Bundle up for this outdoor market that brings the cherished German and European tradition of the Christkindlmarket in Germany 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 and many are run by native German speakers. Shop, eat, enjoy free entertainment, repeat – and be sure to say “guten tag” to Santa Claus.
When: Thru December 24
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Where: On Daley Plaza, Between Dearborn, Washington & Clark St., Loop
Cost: Free admission
What are your plans to make November a month to remember? Tell us about it in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers