Fun Things To Do This Winter Break in the City of Chicago: Your Guide to All the Winter and Holiday Celebrations, Activities, and Events Happening in the City

Giselle Lopez

November 29th, 2017

“Christmas Around the World” exhibit in the Museum of Science and Industry; the cast of Christmas Carol performing at the Goodman Theatre. Photo Credit: Scott Brownell; Liz Lauren

Happy holidays, everyone!

Well, Thanksgiving break has just ended, and we are now hovering in the lull between breaks while we do our best to prepare for finals before heading out for our month-long winter vacation.

Does anyone have any ideas on what they are doing over winter break?

It turns out, there are a number of options for various holiday events being hosted in the city for those of you staying near the Chicagoland area after finals are over.

Besides hanging out with family, attempting to scratch off whatever we have left on our Christmas shopping lists, and preparing holiday meals, there is a lot more the city has to offer in terms of having fun before we return for the spring semester.

Here are some of the events happening in the city of Chicago as November comes to a close. Beware: the list is pretty long, but proves the sheer amount of events and opportunities you have to partake in Chicago’s winter season.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light: From November 16 to January 7, the Museum of Science and Industry is hosting its annual exhibit of their Grand Tree, surrounded by fifty more holiday trees decorated to celebrate various cultures around the world.

Christkindlmarket Chicago: From November 17 to December 24, the Daley Plaza will be hosting Christkindlmarket, an outdoor market famous for its diverse merchandise for patrons to shop around, and the German foods and drinks they sell.

The market is free admission to those who wish to visit, and they also have another location that has opened in Naperville.

I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but one of my favorite things to do in the city during the wintertime is go ice-skating. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink has been open to the public since November 17.

Visitors who wish to skate will have the opportunity to do so until the rink officially close on March 4, providing the weather is still appropriate.

On top of that, the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is also open for those who wish to skate this winter. It will also remain open until March 4, same as the McCormick Ice Rink.

Illumination: Tree Lights is an exhibit that is being held at the Morton Arboretum from November 17 to January 1. It will be closed on Mondays (except January 1) and on December 24, but other than those days, visitors are able to witness a great display of lights and celebration of the holidays.

The Goodman Theatre is hosting Christmas Carol, a two-and-a-half-hour rendition of Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas tale.

I highly encourage anyone to buy tickets for this performance of such a familiar story that became a large part of the holidays. The Goodman Theatre is running this performance until December 31.

Let’s ignore the memes that have originated about the Bean structure these last few weeks, as Caroling at Cloud Gate (the Bean) will happen on Fridays until December 15. Have some fun with some candid musical performances; there will also be concerts in Millennium Park around the Bean on these days from 6:00PM to 7:00PM.

For those of you who wish to visit the zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo will be having ZooLights; the dates are December 1-3 from 4:30PM to 9:00PM, and then nightly from December 8 through January 7.

Brookfield Zoo will also have a holiday theme up on select weekends with Holiday Magic, as the zoo will be illuminated with one million Christmas lights.

Wonderland Express: From November 24 to January 7, the Chicago Botanic Garden is hosting their annual holiday extravaganza, featuring Chicago landmarks in miniature, indoor snow, and trains.

There are also caroling events, shopping markets, and ice sculptors creating incredible ice structures throughout the event.

Winter Wonderfest: Navy Pier’s annual celebration is coming back this year for another round of holiday celebration, with the city’s biggest indoor playground for the enjoyment of both adults and children alike!

Joffrey’s Nutcracker Ballet will be performing from December 1 through December 30 at the Auditorium Theatre this winter for those of you wanting to add variety to your holiday-themed musical performances.

People poke fun at ugly Christmas sweaters all the time, but on December 9, Maggie Daley Park will be celebrating these atrocious sweaters with its very own dedicated day on the ice, the Ugly Sweater Skate.

The Maggie Daley Park will also be having a Skate With Santa event happening the week after on December 16.

Holly Days: the Art Institute of Chicago will be hosting a family-friendly event at their Ryan Learning Center location from December 27-30 from 10:30AM to 3:00PM.

On New Year’s Eve (can you all believe it’s almost 2018?), Navy Pier Fireworks will explode through the sky at midnight, and there will be various parties to scope out and enjoy in the area.

There is so many things to do in the city than create memes of the Bean, or shopping, or commuting to work, or walking. Chicago has an abundance of events and activities for you to partake in, and I highly encourage you to try some of these out!

Happy holidays, everyone! See you next semester!

Giselle Lopez

Features Editor

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