Christmas Activities in Chicago

Come December, Chicago starts to look an awfully lot like Christmas. By the beginning of advent, the official Christmas tree is lit in Daley Plaza, downtown store windows are filled with fanciful displays and holiday carols escape from practically every open door. But that’s not all that’s going on at Christimas time in Chicago this year. If you live in greater Chicago, or if you are just visiting for the season, be sure to add one or more of these activities to your family’s to-do list:

Christkindel Market in Daley Plaza. From now until Christmas Eve, dozens of vendors are offering their unique wares in a German-style, open-air Christmas market. The offerings range from foodstuff, such as mulled spiced wine and marzipan, Christmas ornaments and hand-crafted gift items. The market opens at 11:00 a.m. daily; closing hours vary by day.

Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo

Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo. One of the newest Chicago holiday traditions is skating at the large, outdoor rink at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The rink is open daily through March 2, 2014. Admission is $5 and skate rental and concessions are available.

Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden. Chicago Botanic Garden has transformed itself into a winter wonderland for the holiday season. The highlight of this year’s display is the 10,000-square foot model train exhibit that snakes its way around miniatures of some of the Windy City’s most recognizable landmarks. The Wonderland Express is on display from now until January 5, 2014. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, except for Christmas Eve when the display closes at 3:00 p.m. The garden is closed on Christmas Day. Admission is $10 to $12 per adult with a $2 discount for children and seniors.

Christmas around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry. Fifty decorated Christmas trees adorn Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, with each telling the story of how the holidays are celebrated in a different part of the world. The exhibit is open through January 5, 2014. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily and admission is $18 for adults and $11 for children under 12 (includes admission to the museum’s permanent collections, also.)

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker by the Joffrey Ballet. Chicago’s own Joffrey Ballet performs Robert Joffrey’s version of the classic ballet with music by Tchaikovsky from now until December 28 at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago. Tickets range from $31 to $117 per person.

A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theater. Join Tiny Tim, Scrooge and the other Dickens characters for “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theater in downtown Chicago. The production, now in its 30th season, runs from now until December 28th. Tickets are $25 to $83 per person.

If you’ve been spending your days shopping and decorating for the holidays, it’s time to take a little time out to enjoy the many festive activities in and around Chicago. There’s something to interest everyone in the family.

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