Resist the urge to stay snug as a bug in those turkey pants and close out November with a flurry of activity. A holiday lights tour, ice skating, stage shows—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.

photo: Gallagher Way’s Winter Wonderland



Experience Gallagher Way’s Winter Wonderland
Gallagher Way will be decked out with holiday flare bigger and brighter than ever before! You’ll find a mini Christkindlmarket, ice skating, Santa’s workshop, a 30-foot Christmas tree and more! Fri.-Sun. Event details. 

Lincoln Park

Have the Hap, Hap, Happiest Weekend at ZooLights
ZooLights features hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activites, all under the glow of 2.5 million lights. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


See a New Spin on a Classic at Cirque du Soleil’s “Twas the Night
This vibrant acrobatic spectacle about the joy of sharing and friendship promises to spark lasting memories in the hearts of children and adults alike. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Experience Chicago’s German Christmas Market at Christkindlmarket
Bundle up for this outdoor market that brings the cherished tradition of the Christkindlmarkt to Daley Plaza and adds a heap of local charm. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Mag Mile

Take a Holiday Lights Trolley Tour
This lightly narrated adventure shows the best of Chicago’s holiday lights, including the Mag Mile, Macy’s holiday windows, Millennium Park, Christkindlmarket and stops at Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights. 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 and this weekend you’ll be treated to caroling at Cloud Gate. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Museum Campus

Experience Christmas Around the World at MSI
Be enchanted by the trees and displays that are decorated to represent the rich multicultural heritage of Chicago, the crown jewel being the floor-to-dome Grand Tree with 30,000 twinkling lights and sparkly ornaments. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


East Dundee

Have Magical Christmas Days at Santa’s Village
Santa’s Village will host “Magical Christmas Days” filled with holiday cheer, entertainment, shopping, festive treats, rides, and of course, visits with the Man in Red, Santa Claus himself. Fri.-Sun. Event details


Walk in the Glow of Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Wander into a festive world of wonder and light along a mile-long path, as the night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light. Fri.-Sun. Event details


Return to an Old Favorite: Illumination at Morton Arboretum
Walk the mile-long path and gaze in amazement at the LED-lit trees through the winter woods.  Enjoy the light shows set to The Nutcracker music and glowing trees that respond to touch and sound. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Visit with Mickey & Minnie at the Disney Junior Holiday Party
See a dazzling musical wonderland where children can sing and dance along to their favorite Disney Junior songs, plus holiday classics with their beloved Disney friends. Fri. Event details.

Light Up Parkway Bank Park
Help Parkway Bank Park kick off the holiday season with their annual tree lighting event that features visits with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, holiday carolers and ice carving demos. Fri. Event details

— Maria Chambers


Holiday Shows That Will Dazzle the Whole Family

Pinkies Up! Holiday Teas to Plan Now

Holiday Train & Sleigh Rides to Jump Aboard Now

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