Chicago Christmas & Holiday Events

Posted: November 02, 2023

The holidays are right around the corner, and we've got the scoop on the Chicago area's best activities and events! See some of our top picks below, and visit our Holiday Events listing page for even more options.

Featured Holiday Events & Activities 

Art Deco Nutcracker: Critically-acclaimed, one-of-a-kind Holiday Experience

The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
December 2
Start the holidays off with a unique experience and take on the classic Nutcracker. Children will love the fantastical costumes and choreography of the acclaimed choreographer Alexei Kremnev. Set in 1920s America, "The Art Deco Nutcracker" features Tchaikovsky's score in an exciting and fast-moving but nevertheless classic ballet. The Chicago Tribune has described it as "A glossy rendition filled with gorgeous, glitzy costumes" and The Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Kremnev has "brought dance to a whole new level." The vibrant "roaring" era costumes and stunning choreography offers a new approach to the story we all know and love with the historic Tchaikovsky score known around the world. The Art Deco Nutcracker will inspire all ages. Saturday December 2 at Athenaeum Theater.
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Join Merry Music Makers' 3-Week Holiday Sing-Along for ages 0-5

3759 N. Ravenswood Ave. Suite 119, Chicago
Deck the Halls with Festive Singing! Join us Nov 27-Dec 17 for our annual three-week Holiday Sing-Along (HSAL). Jingle all the way to your weekly HSAL classes featuring a mix of traditional favorites and joyous songs from around the world that celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the Winter Season. Enroll today to reserve the time that works best for you and your little one's schedule. The three weekly classes are $75 for the first child, $55 for the second child (3+ children are free) and make-up classes are unlimited during this mini-session. Classes seven days a week in East & West Lakeview, Andersonville, and Lincoln Square.
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Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

Studebaker Theater, Fine Arts Building, 410 S Michigan AvenueChicago
November 14-December 31
Don't miss Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas at Chicago's Studebaker Theater this holiday season! This live theatrical adaptation of "Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas," making its Chicago debut this holiday season at the Studebaker Theater, is based on the beloved television special originally created by the legendary puppeteer Jim Henson! Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is a new family-friendly musical, packed with puppets created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, is a heartwarming celebration of the true spirit of the holidays. This very merry musical is a heartwarming celebration perfect for the entire family.
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Sparkle Light Festival

Impact Field in Rosemont, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont
November 17 - December 31
Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field in Rosemont is the premier holiday destination for families this winter. Guests can immerse themselves in millions of sparkling lights as they stroll through illuminated villages with custom holiday features. While visiting Sparkle Light Festival, guests can take a ride on the 2-story ice slide, enjoy free train rides, and celebrate the holidays with a menu of festive food and beverages. Sparkle Light Festival also offers interactive children’s activities, letters to Santa and more.
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Light Up The Lake

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
November 24 - December 31
Explore the Pier’s dazzling outdoor lakefront light displays. Experience the joy of outdoor ice skating with a breathtaking backdrop of Lake Michigan. Cozy up with loved ones and roast smores by the toasty firepits. Ignite your creativity at our holiday workshops. Discover one-of-kind finds with our local artisan markets. Experience the thrills of axe throwing. Enjoy live music every weekend from local performers. Take a ride on the heated Centennial Ferris Wheel.
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Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Museum of Science and Industry, 57th St. and Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Explore rich holiday traditions from around the globe while creating your own traditions with loved ones in Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light. It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof.
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Mrs. Claus! A Holiday Musical

Chicago Kids Company at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, Chicago
November 28 - December 23
It’s almost Christmas, and Santa’s list is missing! Join Mrs. Claus and the Elf Class of 2023 as they try to find it in time to save Christmas. Who stole the list? How will they get it back? Will Mrs. Claus save the day? Chicago Kids Company’s biggest and most colorful show will put you in the Holiday Spirit in no time.
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Magnificent Mile Light Festival Opening Weekend

North Michigan Avenue, Chicago
For thirty-two years, The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival has been a thrilling holiday celebration: A day-through-night, mile-long extravaganza drawing more than one million celebrants. Its centerpiece is the largest nighttime parade in the U.S. - a spectacular parade down Michigan Avenue. Led by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse of The Walt Disney World Resort, the parade features fabulous floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, Santa Claus, fireworks and more —illuminating one million lights on The Avenue's 200+ trees.
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Holiday Magic

Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
November 24-26, 30 and December 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, 26-31
Stroll through two, 300-foot light tunnels synchronized to seasonal tunes. Nightly entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m. takes place throughout the Zoo. At the North Pole, located in The Pavilions, guests can take in performances by Those Funny Little People and juggling elves, and youngsters can share their wish lists and have their photos taken with Santa. Youngsters can also deposit their holiday wish lists in the Santa Letter Drop Box. On the Nature Stage, zoogoers can watch professional ice carvers create frozen works of art from giant blocks of ice. And, while strolling the walkways, join in the merrymaking with the roaming carolers as they sing holiday songs.
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Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago, 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview
Select dates November 24 - December 16
It’s more than just a walk through the festive holiday lights in Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest outdoor activity: Kohlights. This immersive experience allows kids to interact with light and color as they explore hues and patterns in this safe and interactive holiday light installation, right-sized for young kids. Enjoy the full lightacular experience, Nov 24 – 26, Dec 1 – 2, Dec 8 – 9, and 15 – 16. This year’s experience combines the wonder of the outdoor lights with the full indoor Museum experience as well.
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