It’s Christmastime in the city. Ring-a-ling, everyone — this is your chance to make the most of the holiday fun around town. This weekend, you can step into a snow globe at Adler Planetarium, have a blast at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, listen to awesome live kindie rock, and make the trek out to Aurora for one of the area’s best light shows. Soon it will be Christmas Day, so get a move on!
Snowflakes and Stories at Adler Planetarium
Get lost in a winter wonderland. Not only can you create your own snowflakes, but your gang will also be transported to faraway lands when they step inside The World’s Largest Snow Globe (aka: the Grainger Sky Theater) for an out-of-this-world storytelling experience. Be sure to sip hot cocoa and jump in the photo booth. Held Sat., 9:30-11 a.m. Members: $15/adult, $10/child; non-members: $25/adult; $20/child. All ages. Event details.
Get your thrill fill at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, which has rides for all ages. New attractions this year include Wintertube, a 15-foot-tall dual-lane snow tubing hill; and Toboggan Tunnel, a dual-lane sled ride on rollers. There’s also an ice skating rink, a 50-foot-tall indoor Ferris wheel, a polar-themed mini golf course, and a holiday train that zig-zags through lighted houses and scenes. Held thru Jan. 11 at Festival Hall A. General admission is $3.75 online & $5 walk-up. Cost for activities varies. All ages. Event details.
Free Family Day at the MCA
Play with the art of looking, seeing and freezing moments in time at the “Blink” exhibit. You’ll explore materials, ideas and creative processes in contemporary art under the guidance of local artists. Held Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets starting at $35. Ages 12 & under. Event details.
Hansel & Gretel: A Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat
A new twist on the fairy tale was dreamed up by kindie rock hero Justin Roberts and playwright Ernie Nolan. You’ll delight as the famous siblings trounce through the Forbidden Forest to find their mother, discover a candy cottage and scheming witch, and learn about the power of love. This is a production of Emerald City Theatre and Broadway in Chicago. Held thru Jan. 4 at Broadway Playhouse. $29/ticket. Ages 4-12. Event details.
Bump Club and Beyond’s Holiday Hoopla Party
Be merry and bright at the BCBash Holiday Hoopla with a Lil’ Hootenanny. Enjoy open play, live performances, doughnut decorating, food, holiday pictures with TK Photography, and the chance to take home some mega prizes from the holiday grab bag — all tied to annual gift drive donations. Held Sat., 4-6:30 p.m. at Bubbles Academy. Tickets starting at $30. Event details.
“Gingerbread Bop” Family Party
Every child will have a blast creating their very own gingerbread house and doing holiday crafts. Dinner is included, as well as mass amounts of holiday music. Held Fri., 4-6 p.m. at Easel Art Studio. $40/child. All ages. Event details.
Super Stolie Kindie Rock Concert
Everyone will be getting into the groove with the interactive performance style of Super Stolie. Her educational and energetic gig is full of catchy tunes from her two original CDs, and the grand finale will be a Rockstar Jump — the perfect way to end a kindie rock show. Held Sun., noon, at Beat Kitchen. $6/person. All ages. Event details.
“Christmas Around the World” Exhibit
The fam is going to be enchanted by the trees and displays that are decorated to represent the rich multicultural heritage of Chicago. Of course, the crown jewel will be the The Grand Tree with 30,000 twinkling lights, sparkly ornaments and all the trimmings. Thru Jan. 4 at the Museum of Science and Industry. Free with general museum admission (non-residents: $18/adults, $11/children 3-11; residents: $15/adults, $10/children 3-11). All ages. Event details.
“Frozen” Holiday Party
Spend the day jumping for joy with characters and activities inspired by your favorite movie. Elsa will kick things off with a fashion show, and then Sven and his fluffy reindeer friends will arrive for a meet and greet. Your kiddos can also make Olaf-inspired crafts. Held Sat., 10 a.m.-noon at Sprout Kids. Free. All ages. Event details.
LEGOLAND Holiday Bricktacular
The little ones can take a walk through Miniland, complete with snowmen and hundreds of minifigures. They can also create their very own LEGO Gingerbread House and even strike a pose with the life-sized LEGO Santa and Snowman. Held thru Jan. 4 at LEGOLAND Discovery Center. $16/person online; $18/person in-person; free for children under 2. All ages. Event details.
Breakfast With Santa and Gingerbread House Making
Everyone can chow down at the seemingly limitless breakfast buffet. The kiddos can put their own spin on the traditional gingerbread house with a little help from Labriola pastry chefs. Get ready for merriment and photo taking! Held Sat., 9-11 a.m. at Labriola Cafe. $15/adult (buffet only); $35/child (includes house and decoration supplies); $27.50/additional gingerbread house. All ages. Event details.
Festival of Lights
This super-sized light display is a one-mile stretch of illuminated magic and is worth the trip. You’ll feel like you stumbled into Santa’s workshop when you see the animated displays (toys! trains! snowflakes!) and trees lit up along the roadway. Held nightly thru Dec. 28 at Phillips Park. Free. All ages. Event details.
How are you counting down until the holiday? Shout about it in the Comments!
— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis
photo: The Adler Planetarium