You have to be a special kind of person to love our winters, but you don't even have to like Christmas to like Christmas in Chicago. That's because holiday events of all kinds abound this time of year, from annual festivities like Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza to winter-long excursions like ice skating. Just remember how beautiful the city looked this holiday season when you're arguing over dibs with your neighbor in February.
Christmas in Chicago
Holiday and Christmas concerts in Chicago
Get into the holiday spirit with everything from classical carols to rock-and-roll jingles
Christmas plays and holiday theater in Chicago
A sleigh full of holiday favorites and new Christmas plays, comedy shows and dance performances is one its way
Do your Christmas shopping at a holiday market
A holiday market is perfect for finding fun, unique gifts you often can't find at Chicago stores
Countdown to your favorite holiday events this season
We started to count down to some of our faves in October
Six Christmas Day movies to see in theaters
Eat, drink and see movies
The 20 best Christmas films
We’re making a list, checking it twice, of the best Christmas films of all time
Holiday events 2015
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Kick off the holiday season at this annual family festival in Chicago's shopping mecca. The daylong event features live music in Pioneer Court, a tree-lighting parade along Michigan Avenue and celebratory fireworks as the evening comes to a close. Check out the full schedule of event at the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival's website.
Chicago's largest open-air market is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Inspired by a Germany market founded in 1545, it features iconic German items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks and beer steins, as well as hand-blown ornaments and wooden crafts. Authentic food (sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, waffles) and drink (beer and Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine) are also available, along with assorted sweets.
Head to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the lights (and maybe a few animals) at this annual winter tradition. The first 1,000 people through the gates each night receive special glasses to view the lights with, but everyone can enjoy nightly ice carving demonstrations, hot beverages and ice skating on the zoo's rink.
Christmas Around the World
View more than 50 trees and displays at the Museum of Science and Industry's annual "Christmas Around the World" exhibit. Each tree is decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities, representing their diverse culture and holiday customs. School choral groups perform during the week, and song and dance performances take place on the weekends in conjunction with the exhibit.
Joffrey Ballet: The Nutcracker
The Joffrey Ballet's annual performance of The Nutcracker, accompanied by the Chicago Philharmonic, has been a Chicago tradition since the 1980s. Experience Tchaikovsky's classic score and the spectacle of this classic holiday ballet. Joining the Joffrey onstage are local children’s choruses and nearly 120 young dancers from the Chicago area and beyond.
Daley Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The City of Chicago flips a switch and illuminates its giant Christmas tree in Daley Plaza at this holiday celebration that's been taking place in the city for more than 100 years. Last year, the event featured appearances by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Santa Claus, the Grinch and even Dee Snider. Stay tuned to find out for updates on this year's lineup.
Archived coverage of Christmas in Chicago
Holiday and Christmas concerts
'Tis the season for carols, choirs, silver bells, Handel and Jingle Bashes and Balls.
Christmas plays and holiday theater
Revisit your favorite carols and other perennials, or start a new seasonal tradition.
Christmas activities for kids
There's no shortage of things to do with kids in Chicago, but during the holidays that's especially true.
The 10 best things to do during the holidays
The city has its own traditions, and your season could become brighter if you ventured out.
Christmas dinner specials
Let restaurants handle your Christmas dinner this year.
Holiday markets in Chicago
Find fun, unique gifts you often can't find at stores.
The best ugly Christmas sweaters
Have a jolly good time with these not-so-pretty sweaters.
Holiday gift guide
Avoid crowded stores and make Christmas shopping a cinch this year.
The 9 best gift shops
Take the stress out of gift giving by visiting these go-to Chicago gift shops.
Santa sightings for kids
Head to a bowling alley, a department store or even a bar to see Santa.
The 50 best Christmas movies
We count down our favorite Christmas films, from silly Santas to shoot-outs in the snow.