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Christmas Around the World exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry
Photograph: Heidi Peters

The 20 best things to do during the holidays in Chicago

Experience the holidays in Chicago with beautiful lights, festive theater productions and bustling markets.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

If last year's holiday season felt a bit empty, this year's festivities should prove to be closer to the usual onslaught of lights, skating, theater and singing. As the weather gets colder, you'll find a slew of Chicago Christmas events, from sparkling Christmas lights in Chicago to a museum exhibition featuring trees festooned with ornaments. After taking a year off, Christkindlmarket Chicago is back with markets in Daley Plaza and in Wrigleyville, along with annual local productions of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. Need some inspiration as you begin to make your plans for December? We've gathered some of the most iconic events and happenings during the holidays in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Christmas in Chicago

Chicago Christmas events

  • Travel
  • Transport & Travel

Passengers weren't allowed on the Chicago Transit Authority's annual Holiday Train and Bus last year, but we have good news for anyone who wants to take a ride on the festive modes of public transportation. You'll be able to get on board the CTA's holiday fleet this year, beginning on Friday, November 26 when the Holiday Train makes its first run and continuing on Tuesday, November 30 when the Holiday Bus begins rolling throughout the city. The train and bus will be running in various neighborhoods through Christmas—read on to find the complete schedule.


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