Too cold outside? Navy Pier brings all of the winter fun indoors, filling its gigantic 170,000-square-foot Festival Hall with a regulation-size Alpine ice skating rink, a holiday beer garden, kiddie train rides, Santa’s Village and a gift market. The centerpiece of Light Up the Lake (which replaces Navy Pier's Winter Wonderfest) is a collection of oversized light sculptures, including a giant Teddy Bear, 25-foot-tall deer, a 60-foot light tunnel and 40-foot tree. Boasting more than 600,000 lights, Navy Pier claims that it's "the area's largest indoor lights show." Plus, each Light Up the Lake ticket includes a ride on Navy Pier's 200-foot Centennial Wheel—don't worry, all of the gondolas are fully enclosed and heated!
It's the week of Thanksgiving in Chicago, but that doesn't mean things are slowing down around here on account of the holiday—in fact, the next few days are jam-packed with stuff to do throughout the city. Don't overextend yourself while hopping around the best Chicago bars on Black Wednesday, because Turkey Day celebrations kick off early in the morning on Thursday with the return of the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade's huge balloon processions on State Street. Once you've finished digesting your Thanksgiving feast, turn your attention to the many displays of Christmas lights that debut on Friday (including the array of indoor light sculptures at Light Up the Lake, Navy Pier's new winter attraction) and holiday pop-up bars where you can cozy up with festive tipples. Finally, don't miss the closing weekend of Lyric Opera's production of The Magic Flute, an eye-popping affair inspired by the visual style of silent film. Have a very happy Thanksgiving, and check out all the best things to do in Chicago this week.
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