15 events and activities for Thanksgiving and Black Friday

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Thursday 24

Christkindlmarket Chicago
Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Streets (312-744-3315, www.christkindlmarket.com). Subway: Red to Lake, Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph.

Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition to Chicago, featuring an array of German food and drinks, ornaments, crafts and other goods for sale.

"Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights"
Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lakeshore Dr (773-684-1414, msichicago.org). Bus: 6, 10, 55. 9:30am–4pm. Free with general admission.

The MSI's halls are decked with holly—literally—and filled with the sparkles of dozens of holiday lights at this popular annual exhibit. As always, the museum's 45-foot-tall Grand Tree takes center stage in the rotunda with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions. School choral groups perform during the week, and ethnic song and dance performances take place on the weekends in conjunction with the exhibit. All performances are also included in general admission.


The Christmas Schooner

Mercury Theater, 3745 N Southport Ave (773-325-1700, mercurytheaterchicago.org). El: Brown to Southport. 7:30pm. $30–$49.50.

This heart-warming story of the first Christmas tree ship, and the people who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit, is a family favorite every year.


Holiday Thorne Rooms
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 N Michigan Ave (312-443-3600, artic.edu/aic). El: Blue, Red to Jackson; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Adams. Bus: 3, 4, 6, 14, 26, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 151, 157. Metra: Elec Main to Millennium Station. 10:30am–5pm. Free with general admission.

The tiny but joy-filled rooms are back, trimmed in historic holiday finery. This year, the New Orleans and New Mexico rooms join the festive tradition, and the never-before-seen Americana Room from Marshall Field V's private collection will be on display.


McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink

Millennium Park, 55 N Michigan Ave (312-742-1168, millenniumpark.org). El: Blue to Washington; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph; Red to Lake. Bus: 3, 4, 14, 124, 145, 157. Holiday hours 10am–4pm.

Now in its 11th season, this rink is free and open to the public. Skate rentals are available for $10. Visit the website for exceptions to regular hours.


FREE McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

State Street from Congress to Randolph. 8–11am.

Let New York have its famous procession—Chicago’s has monster-size floats, gigantic helium-balloon characters, upbeat marching bands and countless performance groups that file past the shops of State Street and some 425,000 onlookers during the annual parade. If you’re too busy—or tired—to head downtown, watch a live broadcast of the parade on WGN-TV.

 


The annual Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago is a hoilday kick-off tradition for many.

The annual Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago is a hoilday kick-off tradition for many. Photograph: Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago


Friday 25

FREE Caroling at Cloud Gate
Millennium Park, 55 N Michigan Ave (312-742-1168, millenniumpark.org). El: Blue to Washington; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph; Red to Lake. Bus: 3, 4, 14, 124, 145, 157. 6pm.

A-wassail the tykes down to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, better known as “the Bean,” for old-timey caroling with a Space Age backdrop. Fridays through Dec 16. 


Day After Thanksgiving Workshop: Spontaneous Stories

Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N Glenwood Ave (lifelinetheatre.com). El: Red to Morse. Bus: 147, 155. 9am–noon; $30.

Improvisation is the basis of all theater, and it’s fun too. Through a series of games and exercises, actress and educator Amanda Rountree teaches kids 7–11 how to create spontaneous stories. Advance registration recommended.


From Trash to Table: Transforming Leftovers into Delicious Dishes

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr (773-755-5100, naturemuseum.org). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs), Red to Fullerton. Bus: 74, 151. 1:30–3pm; free with museum admission ($9, students and seniors $7, ages 3–12 $6, 2 and under free).

Spin straw into gold with chef Melissa Graham, executive director of Purple Asparagus, who’ll teach you and your future Cordon Bleu graduate how to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into unique, delicious meals.


Gingerbread House Workshop

Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E Park Ave, Elmhurst (630-833-1457, elmhursthistory.org). Metra: Union Pacific W to Elmhurst. 10am, 1pm; $25 per house (members $20).

Looking for something—other than shopping at 2am—to do on Black Friday? Round up the family and start a new holiday tradition (or continue an old one) by decorating a festive gingerbread house. The workshop fee includes one small house plus decorations. Advance registration required.


Goodnight Moon 

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave (773-871-3000, chicagochildrenstheatre.org). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs), Red to Fullerton. Bus: 8, 11, 74. Tue, Wed at 10:15am. $36. Through Dec 23.

Chicago Children’s Theatre brings everyone’s favorite bedtime book to life in a full-length musical. Watch as Bunny’s room magically comes alive as he dances and sings his way to sweet dreams through nursery rhyme scenes with dancing bears with chairs, the Cat and the Fiddle, the Cow Jumping Over the Moon and even a trip through the night sky with dancing constellations.


Shrek the Musical

Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N River Rd, Rosemont (847-671-5100, rosemont.com). El: Blue to Rosemont. 2, 7:30pm; $25.50–$89.50.

There’s enough to enjoy in this affable, family-friendly telling of the grumpy green giant’s journey of self-discovery, rescuing a flawed princess and teaching his fractured-fairy-tale mates that inner beauty is preferable to outer. Satiric nods to Broadway brethren Wicked, Les Miz and Dreamgirls, however, likely will fly above the heads of the young’uns who’ve worn out their DVDs.


Walk Two Moons

Adventure Stage Chicago, 1012 N Noble St (773-342-4141, adventurestage.org). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 11, 80, 152. 7:30pm; $18–$21, kids ages 5–14 $13–$15, kids under 5 not admitted. Through December 8. 

Adventure Stage Chicago kicks off its 2011–2012 season with its staging of Walk Two Moons, based on the Newbery Medal–winning novel of the same name by Sharon Creech.


Winter Holiday Highlight: Green Gifting

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr (773-755-5100, naturemuseum.org). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs), Red to Fullerton. Bus: 74, 151. 11am–2pm; $25 (members $20).

Make up to five gifts per person during this environmentally friendly craft-a-thon. Register in advance.


FREE Wreathing of the Lions

Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave (312-443-3600, artic.edu/aic). El: Blue, Red to Jackson; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Adams. Bus: 3, 4, 6, 14, 26, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 151, 157. Metra: Elec Main to Millennium Station. 10am–3pm.

The iconic bronze lions outside the museum entrance put on their holiday best at this annual start-of-the-season event. Stick around for performances by Hubbard Street Dance, live music and don’t forget to hustle—no, not that kind. We mean hurry. The first 50 people outside gain free admission to the museum. 

 

 

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