Twirl your way into the weekend. It will be nothing but giggles and smiles when you see what’s in store . Learn to dance the Nutcracker Suite, celebrate Hanukkah with a menorah lighting, get blown away by a sky show at Adler Planetarium, sing along with The Sound of Music, and more.
Get on pointe with an interactive Nutcracker that lets your budding ballet dancer be the star. ARCC Ballet teaches a beginner’s workshop followed by an actual performance at which kids of all ages and abilities are invited to perform the Nutcracker with dancers from Ballet Chicago and live music by Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band. Held Sun., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Chicago Cultural Center. Free. All ages. Event details.
Adler Planetarium’s Season of Wonder
It’s back for another beautiful, snow-dusted year. You’ll delight in a sky show that explores the winter night sky, seasonal programming and a family snowflake-themed story time. Also check out The World’s Largest Snow Globe; you’ll be immersed inside a 70-foot-tall virtual snow globe and get swept past scenes of iconic Chicago locations. Held thru Jan. 5. $10-$28. All ages. Event details.
One of the nation’s only free-admission zoos flips the holiday switch with light displays throughout the grounds. This year, there’s a new walking route with more lights, holiday crafts, photos with Santa, food and drinks, ice carving demos, and carousel and train rides. Opens Fri. (open every Fri. & Sat. night thru Dec. 15; then open nightly thru Jan. 6). Lincoln Park Zoo. Free. All ages. Event details.
“It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago”
Flash back to the 1940s at American Blues Theater’s staged re-creation of a radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday classic. The family-friendly show has live Foley sound effects, an original score and a critically acclaimed cast of eight that bring the entire town of Bedford Falls to life. Held thru Dec. 29. Greenhouse Theater Center. $19-$49. Ages 6 & up. Event details.
“The Sound of Music” Sing-a-Long
What’s better than raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? A screening of “The Sound of Music” where you’re encouraged to sing along. The 1962 Rogers & Hammerstein movie musical is shown in Technicolor and full-screen Cinemascope. Lyrics are projected on the screen during the movie so you can easily belt out “Do-Re-Me,” “Edelweiss” and “My Favorite Things.” Held Fri.-Sun. $12.50; $8 for children 12 & under. Event details.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built To Amaze!
Watch a circus spectacular unfold before your eyes. At the start of the show, the props and players in this “Greatest Show on Earth” are transported by colorful circus machinery and unleashed from shipping crates. Expect nothing but fun hijinks after that when aerial artists, elephants, unicyclists, clowns, comedians and other entertainers take the rings. Thru Dec. 1. United Center. $15-$60. All ages. Event details.
Hanukkah Festivities at Westfield Old Orchard
On November 27, the shopping village hosts a lavish menorah-lighting ceremony to commemorate Hanukkah. While the lighting of the massive candle doesn’t take place until 5:30 p.m., the day begins with family festivities at 3:30 p.m., including plenty of warming foods and beverages. Return on November 29 and December 1-4 for the Dreidel House filled with arts and crafts. Free. All ages. Event details.
Ice Skating at MB Financial Park
Glide on a ginormous, NHL-sized ice rink, opening just in time for the holidays. At Friday’s kickoff event, you’ll have a whirl of a time as cherished holiday characters take to the ice. There are also horse-drawn sleigh rides and a performance by The Chicago Skates Open Juvenile Team. Season opens Fri. & lasts thru Feb. 2. Skating is free; skate rental is $8. All ages. Event details.
What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below.
— Kelly Aiglon
Photo: Courtesy of City of Chicago