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Fun Christmas activities for kids in Chicago

Bundle up the little ones for a night out on the town at Chicago's best shows, light displays, and things to do with the kids over the holidays
"Christmas Around the World" at the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the best Christmas activities for kids.
Photograph: Scott Brownell
By Samantha Lande and Grace Perry |

Remember how absolutely magical the holidays felt when you were a kid? Bring that magic to your little ones with these holiday activities to do with the kids in Chicago. Sure, Chicago is a great place to grow up year-round, but there’s no shortage of things to do with the kids in December. Holiday theater is in full swing, the parks and zoos are strung up in lights, and Santa seems to keep popping up everywhere. If you’re itching your head for how to entertain the kids this weekend, we’ve wrangled up the best ways to take advantage of this special time of year with the tots. 

Recommended: Our complete guide to Christmas in Chicago


Best Christmas activities for kids
Courtesy of the CTA
News, Transport & Travel

The CTA’s Holiday Train

The CTA brings the holiday magic every year with their infamous Holiday Train, an L train totally decked out in LED lighting and Christmas cheer. Check out the times, dates and L lines where you can catch the train in action.

Things to do

Indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks

Yes, there's a plus side to living in this freezing cold city. Lace up your skates and hop onto the ice at these fantastic outdoor (and indoor, if you're a wimp) skating rinks. Whether your kids are showing off their hockey skills, nailing their first figure eight or perpetually falling on their butts, they'll have a ball sliding around at these rinks.

Screen printing class at Lillstreet Art Center
Photograph: Joe Tighe
Art, Arts centers

Lillstreet Art Center

icon-location-pin Uptown

No holiday season is complete without decorations, and this holiday season the Ravenswood arts center is offering a plethora of workshops to help your kids really deck the halls. From printing and sewing holiday stockings to making ornaments, families can spend the time making something together and leave with something unique to give as a gift or hang on the tree.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Macy's holiday windows

Take the kids to marvel at the decor at Macy's on State Street. This year's theme is "Santa's Journey Through the Stars."

More to explore