Top 5 Holiday Events in Chicago

We know the cold weather is not easy, but if you stick to these five pillars you’ll have the warmest, best winter imaginable in Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
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ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

For the Family

Nothing gives you that warm feeling inside quite like spending time with the ones you love. Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoolights provides a perfect setting for just that. The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with two million lights, ice carvings, musical light shows, animal encounters, holiday crafts, and more. Just a touch south you can also head to Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest (p.xx) with 170,000 square feet of rides, a Chicago Blackhawks ice rink, and more family fun at Navy Pier.

Christkindlmarket Sweet Castle by Kameron Sears

Warm Up with Some Glühwein

While those who call Chicago home enjoy the return of the Christkindlmarket each year, so do visitors from all over the world who come to visit this unique outdoor holiday market. As the market is a celebration of German traditions, typical German food and drink items are sold throughout. In addition, Christkindlmarket is the ultimate outdoor Christmas shopping market, offering a huge array of fun holiday items, unique gifts—many of which are handmade by vendors—and much, much more.

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum

A Suburban Gem

Fifty acres of the Morton Arboretum’s majestic trees will glow in mesmerizing hues of blue, green, purple, and magenta all December long at Illumination. Along the wooded one-mile path, you’ll discover a series of experiences that encourage you to see trees in a different light. Whether you’re looking to marvel at a grove of hemlock trees as their color transforms from green to technicolor hues or to take in a dazzling show of lights that appear to dance in the trees in time to music, it’s a must-see holiday destination.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light (Photo by J.B. Spector)

Must-Do Since 1942

Celebrating its 75th year, the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit features more than 50 trees and displays, each decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to reflect their diverse culture and holiday traditions. Here, you can stroll through the dazzling forest of trees, enjoy intermittent falling “snow”, and savor the performances of various dance and choral groups on the Holiday Stage.

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