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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

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

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

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Christmas plays and holiday theater in Chicago
Theater

Christmas plays and holiday theater in Chicago

It's that time of year when multitudinous, mostly heartwarming variations on Scrooge, Rudolph and other familiar holiday faces fill the city's stages

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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? 

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Holiday and Christmas concerts in Chicago
Music

Holiday and Christmas concerts in Chicago

From Handel's Messiah to the Chainsmokers

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 

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Santa sightings for kids in Chicago
Kids

Santa sightings for kids in Chicago

Find Santa Claus all around town

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Light up your holidays at Illumination: Tree Lights
Blog

Light up your holidays at Illumination: Tree Lights

If you’re a fan of winter decorations but looking for another option beyond ZoolLights, shine on this holiday season with Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum. The popular event returns today for a fourth year, and thousands of Chicagoland residents are expected to make the trek out to the Morton Arboretum for an opportunity to take a stroll through what organizers describe as a “kaleidoscope of vivid, colored lights and surprising and delightful interactive effects.” Illumination runs through January 2, leaving plenty of time to explore 50 acres of trees transformed into hypnotic colored light displays and watch them move in sync with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's recording of The Nutcracker. Since opening in 2013, more than 350,000 visitors have explored the one-mile path.Here are some of the must-see displays at this year’s Illumination: Photograph: Courtesy of The Morton Arboretum               Photograph: Courtesy of The Morton Arboretum                 Photograph: Courtesy The Morton Arboretum           Photograph: Courtesy of The Morton Arboretum            Check out this video from Illumination to see what the experience is like.       Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.

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Christmas cocktail recipes

Christmas cocktail recipes

Some love Christmas for the gifts, we love Christmas for the booze

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The best toy stores in Chicago
Kids

The best toy stores in Chicago

These toys aren't just for kids!

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Charlie Brown and Rudolph are coming to Chicago for Christmas 2016
Blog

Charlie Brown and Rudolph are coming to Chicago for Christmas 2016

It’s never too early to think about the holidays—especially when beloved characters are coming to Chicago

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Chicago's best gift shops
Shopping

Chicago's best gift shops

Anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, the holidays or "just because," you can find a lot of reasons to buy something special from one of Chicago's best gift shops. Maybe you want to give the one you love a night out at one of Chicago's best fine dining spots or tickets to the concert of the year. But honestly, there's no better feeling than watching a friend or loved one unwrap that perfect gift. To take the stress out of browsing some of the city's best and newest stores, we compiled our favorite go-to gift shops, stocked with clever items for any budget that are sure to please. (And we won't tell anyone if that "gift" is just for yourself. Promise.)

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Six Christmas Day movies to see in theaters
Movies

Six Christmas Day movies to see in theaters

Eat, drink and see movies

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11 great holiday party spots
Restaurants

11 great holiday party spots

Plan a night that will fill your colleagues or friends with holiday cheer

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December 2015 calendars

December events calendar
Things to do

December events calendar

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December festival calendar
Things to do

December festival calendar

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