Can’t beat the holiday madness? Join it! The final weekend before Christmas is here with its own special kind of (crazy) fun. Fake like you’ve finished all of your shopping and sneak out to Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” and a free film festival. Read on for the scoop on these and more.


Navy Pier

Winter WonderFest
Get your thrill fill at this blowout, which has rides for all ages, including a 28-foot-tall zip line, a slippery snowflake slide and a brand new toddler obstacle course. There’s also an ice skating rink and holiday train that zig-zags through lighted houses and scenes. Held Fri. thru Jan. 12. Admission is free; must buy wristband to participate in rides and activities. All ages. Event details.

West Loop

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Family Winter Workshop & Party
Don’t stand still. You’ll move, groove and grin at the modern dance company’s family affair, which explores themes and stories of winter. Learn from dance pros and let loose. Held Sat., 1-2 p.m. Hubbard Street Dance Center. $20 per family of four ($5 for each additional participant). Ages 3-8. Event details.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
The one with the shiny nose goes from the small screen to the big stage, courtesy of Emerald City Theatre. This holiday performance is based on the classic stop-motion TV special and has singing, dancing and a fun nostalgic feel. Held thru Jan. 5. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Tickets start at $28. All ages. Event details.

Christkindlmarket Chicago
Chicago’s take on a traditional German holiday bazaar is back. Should you take the kids? Ja! Inspired by the real deal in Nuremburg, it has festive wooden cabins packed with handmade gifts, food and drinks from around the world, and many are run by native German speakers. Shop, eat, enjoy free entertainment, shop some more, and even say “guten tag” to Santa. Held thru Dec. 24. Daley Plaza. Free. Event details.


Ornament Painting Workshop
Drop in for open studio time and make a keepsake for your tree. Choose from snowflake, reindeer, Santa, bows and other seasonal designs and paint it ’til your heart’s content. The ornaments make great gifts, too. Held Sat. & Sun., noon-3 p.m. Soul Impressions. $7. Ages 3 & up. Event details.


Free Family Film Festival
The big screen lights up with three holiday classics for the whole family. Practice your best Macaulay Culkin surprised face at a screening of “Home Alone” on December 20 and go back on December 22 for “It’s A Wonderful Life” and December 23 for “A Christmas Story.” Held Fri., Sun. & Mon (Dec. 23). The Wilmette Theater. All ages. Event details.


“Monumental” Hands-On Exhibit
Learn about the cool features of Greek and Maya architecture, re-create the famous pyramids at Chichen Itza using building blocks and stones, and construct your very own version of the Acropolis. Using interactive components, kids place themselves among mythological icons of ancient times and use costumes and props for exciting dramatic play. Held thru mid-April. DuPage Children’s Museum. Included in general museum admission of $11/person. All ages. Event details.

What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglon

Photo: Courtesy of Navy Pier Winter WonderFest