Christmas activities for the perfect Chicago holiday

Make it the best holiday season ever with our guide to Christmas activities and holiday events, from Christmas markets to ice skating.

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Kicking off "Christmas Around the World" and "Holidays of Light," the Museum of Science and Industry illuminated its Disney-themed 45-foot Grand Tree.

Kicking off "Christmas Around the World" and "Holidays of Light," the Museum of Science and Industry illuminated its Disney-themed 45-foot Grand Tree. Photograph: Michael Jarecki

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 Christmas activities abound this time of year, from annual holiday events like Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza to winter-long excursions like ice skating (note: Millennium Park isn't the only game in town anymore). Just remember how beautiful the city looked this holiday season when you're arguing over dibs with your neighbor in February.


10 elements of a classic Chicago Christmas

From holiday theater to a DIY Christmas lights tour.

10 festive Chicago bars

Animated displays, model trains and upwards of 35,000 lights deck the halls of Chicago bars.

9 restaurants decorated for the holidays

Here's how Chicago restaurants celebrate Christmas.

Christmas dinner and brunch guide

Traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas meals.

A Christmas music mix that won't drive you insane

Our "Why Can't the Malls Play This?" playlist.

Holiday gift guide 2013

Use our holiday gift guide 2013 to make Christmas shopping a cinch.

Holiday Markets

Score unique gifts for everyone on your list at these Christmas markets and seasonal pop-up shops.

Do your holiday shopping at these Christmas markets

Score unique gifts for everyone on your list at these Christmas markets and seasonal pop-up shops.

Where to chop down your own Christmas tree

Take a road trip to pick the perfect tree.

30 Chicago restaurants and bars with fireplaces

Hot cocktails alone won't abate the wind chill.

Photos of the 2013 tree lighting in Daley Plaza

A 57-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce gets the holiday treatment.

17 hot cocktails

From spiked hot chocolates and ciders to warming punches, here's where to drink hot cocktails this season.

Want to volunteer this holiday season? Don't.

The case against holiday help.

"Christmas Around the World" and "Holidays of Light"

Photos of the festive MSI exhibits.

Macy's State Street holiday windows

Behind the scenes of the iconic holiday tradition.

Photos of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Fireworks lit up the sky over Michigan Avenue.

The 20 best Christmas films

We’re making a list, checking it twice, of the best Christmas films of all time, from the classics to Elf.

Eight great stocking stuffers

These little holiday gifts can go a long way

Holiday nail art

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas—on your nails.

Best Chinese in Chicago: Where to find the best dim sum and more

The best Chinese restaurants in Chinatown and beyond.

Holiday greeting cards

Get a head start on your holiday cards with these made-in-Chicago options

Chicago Christmas tree salesmen

Three tree vendors from Wisconsin discuss their seasonal gigs.

Right now we want Hanukkah gifts

Check out these fun Hanukkah items, including a soap that smells like matzo-ball soup.

Holiday store window displays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for these downtown Chicago store windows.

Holiday party fashion

The cast of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play models outfits perfect for holiday parties.

Holidays kicking your ass?

Show Christmas who’s boss—and recapture the joy of the season—with our ultimate survival guide



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