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Top 7 Festive Things To Do While Visiting Chicago This Holiday Season

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Now that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, and Christmas is rapidly approaching, you may be wondering what things there are to do in your area to get in the holiday spirit. Whether you live in Chicago or you are just visiting this winter, here are 7 fun and festive things to do in the city.

Top 7 Festive Things To Do In Chicago

1. Zoolights 

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoolights are once again returning this year, and they make the perfect Festive night out. Featuring stunning light shows, this is the perfect event for families with children and couples alike. Zoolights is also featuring a number of sensory-friendly visit times, as well as some free nights, this year, making this an activity even more people can enjoy.


2. Shop At Christkindlmarket 

This outdoor market is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. The Christkindlmarket is celebrating at 25th anniversary this year, and you won’t want to miss it. Whether you’re looking to get some Christmas shopping done, or you’re just wanting to check out and enjoy the Christmas ambiance and various unique goods offered, this is a great option for something festive to do this holiday season. In addition to checking out the various vendors, you can also look forward to enjoying some delicious food Including bratwurst and fresh pretzels. Christkindlmarket runs from November 19 through December 24th. 


3. Go Ice Skating

Ice-skating is one of the most well-loved ways to get in the holiday spirit, demonstrated by the number of pop-up or outdoor ice rinks across the country each winter. Ice-skating at Millennium Park is no exception to this. The park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is open from November through March, with exact dates varying depending on the weather. Admission to the rink is free though there is a rental fee for ice skates. Skate lessons are also offered (beginner and intermediate) on most weekends. This means that even if you don’t already know how to ice skate, this winter could be the perfect time to learn.

Ice Skating

4. See Christmas Around The World

Head over to the Museum of Science and Industry to experience their Christmas Around The World exhibit. This exhibit has been an annual tradition since 1942. It showcases a variety of international as well as local holiday traditions. One of the most breathtaking aspects of the exhibit is the grand tree, a four-story tall Christmas tree in the center of the museum. The museum also offers photos with Santa during the holiday season, making this a great option for a family outing or a fun Christmas photo. The Christmas Around The World exhibit is open through January 3, 2022. Due to Covid, advanced reservation tickets are currently required online, and masks are required to be worn inside the museum and regardless of vaccinations status.

Christmas Around The World

5. Take A Ride On The Holiday Train

Here’s a fun option for both families and those just looking to enjoy some Christmas fun. This year, the tradition of Chicago’s holiday train is returning to the city. People will be able to enjoy a ride on this festively decorated train, as well as meet with Santa himself on board. The CTA holiday train schedule is available online, with two special trips on December 8 and December 12 that will allow riders to take the holiday train downtown to take pictures in the city. This year you can also look forward to checking out CTA’s holiday bus, which will feature themed seating and a miniature Christmas village inside. Masks are required on both the trains and the bus, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, social distancing is recommended, and trains may not stop at all stops if they are over capacity. 

Holiday Train

6. Experience Chicago’s Lightscape

Head to the Chicago Botanic Garden to experience a truly wondrous light show this holiday season. Lightscape is a gorgeously and intricately little late display that you can traverse on foot. Lightscape features some of its annual displays, such as its light cathedral, as well as some new surprising displays this year. In previous years tickets, especially those for popular days to visit, sold out. Because of this, you may want to book your tickets to Lightscape as soon as you are sure of your plans to go to ensure you are able to acquire a ticket.


7. Catch A Showing Of Merry, Merry Chicago

Love music? Or just looking to get in the Christmas spirit? Consider going to see The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Merry, Merry Chicago. This live show features various holiday favorites such as “Jingle Bells” and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. The show runs from December 17th to December 23rd. Even if you’re not typically a fan of going to see orchestra shows, this high-quality show is sure to get you in a festive spirit. Tickets are currently available online. Proof of either vaccination or negative COVID-19 test is currently required to attend shows at this venue. Additionally, facemasks are required while inside the building.

Catch A Showing Of Merry, Merry Chicago

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