Come on, Chicago! Let’s forget those cool temps and heat things up with non-stop fun! See tiny gnomes at Morton Arboretum, figure 8 with a city view, pick whether you want to giggle at a show full of Trolls or Harry Potter references or plan your next big adventure at a travel show. Read on for the scoop on these and more sizzling hot happenings!

photo: Potted Potter



Experience Gallagher Way’s Winter Wonderland
Gallagher Way is decked out with lighted flare bigger and brighter than ever before! You’ll find ice skating, curling and skating lessons and more! Make it extra special and go glamping at Hotel Zachary. Fri.-Sun. Event details

. . . While you’re in the neighborhood, there are loads of cool pop-ups to grab a festive cocktail. . . some even allow kids! Check out our story: Over-the-Top Holiday Pop-Ups to Grab a Festive Drink


Giggle with Trolls LIVE! at Chicago Theatre
Get ready for another hair-raising adventure when Poppy, Branch and their friends come to life on stage in Trolls LIVE!, their first-ever live tour. Sat. & Sun. Event details

Mag Mile

Act Like a Big Kid at Toys “R” Us Adventure Playland
This vast indoor wonderland celebrates all the whimsy, silly and FUN of toys and play! Explore over eight mind-blowing rooms featuring brands you know and love. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Get Your Laughs at Potted Potter
This parody condenses all seven Harry Potter books (and a real-life game of Quidditch) into seventy hilarious minutes. Even if you don’t know the difference between a horcrux and a Hufflepuff, you’ll roar with laughter.  Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Millennium Park

Figure 8 at Millennium Park’s Ice Skating Rink
Take a spin on the ice with a magnificent view. Once again this year, the rink will offer free ice skating lessons. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Navy Pier

Last Chance! Get Your Winter Thrill at Winter WonderFest
The indoor Winter WonderFest features 170,000 square feet filled with rides, giant slides, ice skating and holiday decor. While you’re there, burn off energy at Chicago Children’s Museum’s Cloud Busters or see their temporary Mo Willems exhibit. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Enjoy Chicago Children’s Museum’s Play for All
CCM invites children with disabilities and their families to experience playful, multi-sensory exhibits for a special private hour called Play for All. The first 250 visitors to register receive FREE admission. Sat. Event details

Near Southside

Have Beach-y Fun at the Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show
Cast a line in the Huck Finn Trout Pond, where pros teach catch and release techniques with live trout, participate in paddle sports, compete in remote control sailboat racing, and much more! Fri.-Sun. Event details

Portage Park

Build a Magnificent Fort with the Family
Enter a world of play and creation as Filament Theatre transforms into a playspace to build new worlds. Using cardboard boxes, sheets, clotheslines and more, families build adventures of their own devising. On Sunday, you’ll find a special sensory-friendly performance. Sat. & Sun. Event details.



Be Dazzled at Paramount Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast
Great dancing candlesticks! The Beast, Belle and everyone’s favorite enchanted castle characters will come to an incredible new life, ready to thrill, entertain and amaze. Fri.-Sun. Event details. 


Go on a Gnome Hunt
Gnomes are invading Morton Arboretum for a game of hide-and-seek in the Children’s Garden. Can you find them all? Read, set, go! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

— Maria Chambers


Over-the-Top Holiday Pop-Ups to Grab a Festive Drink

Staycation Spotlight: Hotels with Amazing Kid Amenities

. . . and check out our Events calendar for even more suggestions.