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Christmas events in Chicago

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

Photograph: Bekki Y Wasmuth

Chicago winters as a whole aren’t exactly for everyone, but Chicago Christmases? Well, those are harder to resist. The city flexes its majesty during the holiday season, from beloved favorites like Christkindlmarket and ice skating, to newer holiday traditions like Gezelligheid. It can be hard to keep track of your Chicago Christmas must-dos, but fear not—we’ve accumulated enough yuletide events to keep you cheery even when digging out your car. 

Christmas in Chicago

Christmas dinner specials in Chicago
Restaurants

Christmas dinner specials in Chicago

Not up for cooking on Christmas? Excellent choice.

Twinkling photos from ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Blog

Twinkling photos from ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Nothing beats walking throughout a winter landscape covered in tiny, glimmering lights

The 10 best things to do during the holidays in Chicago
Things to do

The 10 best things to do during the holidays in Chicago

Make it a classic Chicago Christmas

Christmas plays and holiday theater in Chicago
Theater

Christmas plays and holiday theater in Chicago

Heartwarming variations on Scrooge, Rudolph and other familiar holiday faces fill the city's stages

Fun Christmas activities for kids in Chicago
Kids

Fun Christmas activities for kids in Chicago

Remember how absolutely magical the holidays felt when you were a kid? 

Holiday and Christmas concerts in Chicago
Music

Holiday and Christmas concerts in Chicago

From Handel's Messiah to the Chainsmokers

The best Christmas stores in Chicago
Shopping

The best Christmas stores in Chicago

From one-of-a-kind ornaments, to spiced nuts, over-the-top window displays, letters to santa, ugly sweaters and more

Chicago bars decorated for the holiday season
Bars

Chicago bars decorated for the holiday season

From tiki spots to late night dance parties with Christmas lights, Chicago's decking the halls with Christmas cheer. 

Do your Christmas shopping at a holiday market
Shopping

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

13 ‘Nutcrackers’ to get your holiday season cracking
Blog

13 ‘Nutcrackers’ to get your holiday season cracking

Enjoy Tchaikovsky’s iconic score through ballet and burlesque

Ring in the holiday season at these tree lighting ceremonies
Blog

Ring in the holiday season at these tree lighting ceremonies

Downtown Chicago will erupt with strings of fairy lights this weekend, officially kicking off the city’s holiday season. While the Mag Mile and Millennium Park ceremonies draw the biggest crowds, there are plenty of places ushering in the Yuletide. If you’re in need of a post-election pick-me-up (which, come on—all of us are), a heavy dose of holiday spirit just might do the trick. So be good to yourself and treat yourself to a bit of fuzzy Christmas cheer at these tree-lighting ceremonies. InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile Tree Lighting Ceremony The InterContinental is hosting its very own ceremony, complete with a performance by the American Caroling Company and a never-before-seen video-light display. Christmas is serious business, folks. (Intercontinental Hotel, 505 N Michigan Ave; Nov 17 2:30pm-3:30pm. Free) Tree Lighting at 900 North Michigan During the holidays, 900 North Michigan goes from shopping mall to Christmas wonderland. Such commitment calls for celebration, so the shops are throwing their very first tree lighting ceremony this year. (900 N Michigan Ave; Nov 17 6pm-8pm. Free) Palmer House Chicago The Palmer House invites Chicago over for an afternoon holiday party, which features the Jesse White Tumblers, the cast of the Goodman’s A Christmas Carol, afternoon tea and more. (The Palmer House Chicago, 17 E Monroe St; Nov 18 12:45pm-2pm. Free) Magnificent Mile Lights Festival This two-day event celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so, as u

See floating Christmas trees at the Garfield Park Conservatory
Blog

See floating Christmas trees at the Garfield Park Conservatory

The conservatory is taking things to the next level with "The Holiday Flower Show: Sky Forest" 

Where to cut down your own Christmas tree
Things to do

Where to cut down your own Christmas tree

Take a short day trip from Chicago to chop down your own perfect Christmas tree

The 50 best Christmas films
Movies

The 50 best Christmas films

We’re making a list, checking it twice, of the best Christmas films of all time

A Christmas music mix that won't drive you insane
Music

A Christmas music mix that won't drive you insane

Tolerable music: the greatest holiday gift of all

The CTA’s Holiday Train returns this weekend
Blog

The CTA’s Holiday Train returns this weekend

The most magical time of the year officially swings into gear 

Keep your eyes peeled for Divvy’s holiday bike
Blog

Keep your eyes peeled for Divvy’s holiday bike

Divvy has rolled out its annual #HOLIDIVVY bike-spotting contest

Santa sightings for kids in Chicago
Kids

Santa sightings for kids in Chicago

Find Santa Claus all around town

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December 2016 calendars

December events calendar
Things to do

December events calendar

Free things to do in December
Things to do

Free things to do in December

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