Chicago's 12+ Best Nutcrackers

Posted: November 11, 2022

Chicago's Best Nutcrackers for Kids and Families 2022

It's one of the world's most beloved ballets, and quite often the first ballet experience for children. It's the Nutcracker - and if you're thinking about taking your kids to see it this year, you've got plenty of options to choose from! Here's a roundup of the best Chicago Nutcracker productions, in order of show start date. Get your tickets now before they're sold out!



The State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine - The Nutcracker
November 19
Governors State University, 1 University Pkwy., University Park
‘Tis the season for making special memories with your family! Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, The Nutcracker will fill you with the holiday spirit. Starring the acclaimed State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine, this treasured fairytale follows a young girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, and an army of mice. Tchaikovsky’s beloved score is full of instantly recognizable holiday music, including “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” “Waltz of the Snowflakes,” and more. Learn more.

Salt Creek Ballet presents "The Nutcracker"
November 26-27 at Hinsdale Central Auditorium, 5500 South Grant Street, Hinsdale
December 2-3 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie
December 17-18 McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, Fawell and Park Boulevards, Glen Ellyn
Hailed by critics and audiences alike, Salt Creek Ballet’s enchanting production is everything you hope for with stunning costumes and magical effects. With a jaw-dropping Christmas tree that grows nearly 60 feet tall, 125 exquisite costumes, internationally recognized guest soloists and live music by New Philharmonic, this magical production offers all of the grandeur of the timeless tale you’ve come to love. Learn more.

The Fox Valley Nutcracker
November 26-27
Batavia Fine Arts Centre, 1250 W Wilson St., Batavia
Fox Valley Ballet is very proud to present The Fox Valley Nutcracker, a Fox Valley holiday tradition that showcases students and families from local dance studios alongside professional dancers, in the beloved holiday classic The Nutcracker. Featuring beautiful dance, lavish sets, festive costumes, and Tchaikovsky's magical score. Learn more.

Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker
November 27
Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago Street, Joliet
This holiday favorite fairytale ballet is perfect for the entire family. The magical production features lavish costumes, and exquisite sets, including a Christmas tree that grows before your eyes. Journey through the land of whirling snowflakes and visit the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. This is one holiday tradition you won’t want to miss. Learn more.

Schaumburg Dance Ensemble's The Nutcracker
December 2,3,4 and 9, 10, 11
Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Ct., Schaumburg
Schaumburg Dance Ensemble returns with its 26th annual production of Tchaikovsky’s magical holiday ballet. Featuring live Since 1995, the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble has provided thousands of dancers - including students and professionals - the opportunity to perform classical ballet works, including its acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Now mounting its 27th annual production, The Nutcracker has become a seasonal regional favorite for generations of families. Run-time is 2 hrs 15 min. Learn more.

A&A Ballet presents The Art Deco Nutcracker
December 3
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
This family-friendly performance is set in 1920’s America featuring Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, as a fresh, yet traditional take on the beloved holiday favorite with costume, set design and story lines inspired by the unique sophistication of the Art Deco era. Learn more.

Ruth Page's The Nutcracker
December 3-4 at Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium Steinberg Fine Arts Center, 3701 West Bryn Mawr, Chicago
December 17 at College of Lake County, James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake
The little girl heroine, her mysterious godfather magician, the battle between toy soldiers and mice, a forest glade of dancing Snowflakes – these iconic scenes are brought to life in this beautiful production of "Ruth Page’s The Nutcracker." Featuring international artists alongside the Ruth Page Civic Ballet Training Company’s elite dancers, experience the exquisite performances, stunning costumes, and magical settings in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets like never before. Learn more.

M3 Dance's The Nutcracker
December 3-4
Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin
Join us December 3rd & 4th at the beautiful Hemmens Theater in Elgin, and experience this magical community production of The Nutcracker. Students from surrounding suburbs take the stage alongside professional guest performers to bring you this unique version of a classic tale. Director/Choreographer Lauren Blane blends multiple dance genres such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, and tumbling to showcase the versatility, athleticism, and grace of the dancers. It's a must-see performance for the holiday season! Learn more.

Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker
December 3-27
Lyric Opera House, 20 North Wacker Drive, Chicago
Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince, thanks to a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario. At the stroke of midnight on a snowy Christmas Eve when the lines between fantasy and reality blur together, Marie sets out on an unforgettable journey through Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, a marvel of sights, sounds, and enchantment. Pricing and availability vary by performance.Learn more.

Ballet Chicago’s The Nutcracker
December 9-18
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Through its inspiring story, beautiful music and charming choreography, The Nutcracker is a celebration of the joyous holiday season. The Nutcracker takes us on an unforgettable journey with young Marie as she travels from her home on Christmas Eve to the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of the Sweets, featuring George Balanchine's Sugar Plum Fairy Pas de Deux. Learn more.

Duke It Out Nutcracker
December 10
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
This unique Nutcracker performance pits the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite in a spectacular side-by-side showdown. Curated by Dance Chicago, the program features members of Axiom Brass and Music Institute of Chicago Ensemble-in Residence, Quintet Attacca. The performance is preceded by an interactive musical instrument petting zoo for children ages 3 and up. Learn more.

The Magic of the Nutcracker presented by Dancenter North
December 10-11 at Libertyville High School, 708 W Park Ave., Libertyville
December 21-22 at Genesee Theatre, 203 North Genesee St., Waukegan
The largest and most lavish version of the holiday ballet in Lake County! Clara's dream has been brought to life in a beautiful production by Dancenter North that features over 100 performers, including internationally renowned guests artists. For 34 years, "The Magic of the Nutcracker" has been Lake County's favorite version of the classic holiday ballet. Learn more.

The Nutcracker
December 15-18
Mudlark Theater, 1417 Hinman Ave., Evanston
Mudlark’s beloved Nutcracker is back! Everyone in 12-year-old Marie’s family thinks she needs to grow up and stop living in the imaginary world of her toys. Little do they know, that world is real. Learn more.