Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means loads of shopping, eating and celebrating. Resist the urge to go into hibernation mode just yet and see how many attractions the city offers during this upcoming Holiday season!
Lincoln Park- Nov 16 2018-Jan 6 2019
When the weather gets cold and most of the animals head indoors, Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a field of twinkling bulbs. ZooLights decorates the beloved zoo with themed displays, perfect for a festival seasonal Instagram. Throughout the month, you’ll also find ice-sculpture carvers and carolers joining the fun, as well as hot beverages available for purchase. This year, ZooLights adds several ticketed events, including a Holiday Market (Nov 27), an adults-only night (Nov 29), a live performance of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas (Dec 9) and a Zoo Year’s Eve celebration (Dec 31).
Loop- Nov 16 2018-Dec 24 2018
You haven’t experience the holidays in Chicago untill you’ve stepped inside this giant open-air market inspired by a similar seasonal tradition in Nuremberg, Germany. You’ll be able to do some shopping at booths set up throughout Daley Plaza, where you’ll find handcrafted German items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins and glass ornaments. It’s also worth stopping by Christkindlmarket to grab a sausage and some potato pancakes, or to sip a steaming mug of Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine.
City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Downtown- Nov 16 2018
Miguel Cervantes, star of the Chicago production of Hamilton, hosts the 105th annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which takes place beneath a towering spruce in Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square. Expect music, an appearance from the mayor and more than a little pomp and circumstance before the switch is flipped, marking the beginning of the holiday season in Chicago. The Christmas tree will stick around until January 6th.
Ice Skating in Millennium Park
Downtown- Nov 16 2018-Mar 10 2019
Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, but if you don’t own a pair of skate you’ll have to pay to rent some. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don’t feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. You can take advantage of free skating lessons on Fridays at 11am and Saturdays and Sunday at 9am. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 10, weather permitting.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Magnificent Mile- Nov 16 2018-Nov 17 2018
Chicago’s most well-known shopping district kicks off the holiday season by lighting up the trees that line Michigan Avenue. The fun begins on Friday, November 16, when Pioneer Court hosts family-friendly activities (including a visit from Santa Claus). On Saturday, November 17, stores on the Magnificent Mile will offer special experiences and offers throughout the day, before Michigan Avenue hosts a two-hour tree-lighting parade, which sets off from Oak Street. Head to the Chicago River by 6:55pm to catch the spectacular fireworks display that closes out the evening.
Loop- Nov 22 2018
Why watch inflatable cartoon characters float down the streets of New York City when you can seem them live and in-person on State Street in the Loop. Chicago’s procession begins at Congress Street and marches north to Randolph Street, with marching bands, colorful floats and performers in tow. It ends by 11am, so you’ll have plenty of time to get home and finish preparing your Thanksgiving feast.