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The five best things to do this weekend

The five best things to do this weekend
Photograph: Max Herman

1. Christkindlmarket is finally here!

Every Chicagoan's favorite holiday market officially returns to Daley Plaza, and there's no reason you shouldn't stop by. The cute little shopping village made a splash earlier this month when it unveiled the return of the boot mug and, if last year is any indication, we're in store for lots of holiday surprises and an oversized heap of gift ideas. (Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Sts, 11am-9pm. Free)

2. Get your beer on at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers

With 90 breweries, 300 beers and multiple drinking sessions both Friday and Saturday, there's more than enough time and beer to drink at your leisure. The fest, which is the largest of its kind in the U.S., is also host to the 2015 National Wood-Aged Beer Competition. Fifteen beer tastings are included with tickets. (UIC Forum, 725 W Roosevelt Rd, 6pm. $55)

3. Bask in all of the lights

Kick off the holidays with an entire day of festivities, including a parade and tree lighting, on the most famous stretch of Chicago during the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Listen to live music in the square at Pioneer Court and take in a fireworks show that will bring the night to a close. (Pioneer Court, 401 N Michigan Ave, begins 11am, fireworks at 6:55pm. Free)

4. Book it over to the book expo

Everyone loves books. The Chicago Book Expo is a good excuse to get acquainted with Chicago-area authors and local publishers. The yearly book expo at Columbia College has a host of workshops and talks for aspiring writers as well as an abundance of shopping opportunities where your money will support local artists and the people who support them. (Columbia College Chicago in the Ludington Building, 1104 S Wabash Ave, 11am. Free)

5. Shop at the Randolph Street Market Festival

More than 200 vendors pack into a huge events hall to sell everything from furniture to clothes and maybe even a kitchen sink or two. A food market means you won't walk away with an empty stomach, and a global goods bazaar gives you the chance to make your home a little more worldly. An appraiser is usually on-hand to assess the value of knickknacks and antiques. (Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W Washington Blvd, 10am, $10, $8 in advance)

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