8+ Family Holiday Events in Chicago for Group Fun

It is not the most wonderful time of year without loved ones to spend it with. While we love our bars and cocktails, luckily, Chicago also offers plenty of family holiday events to enjoy from interactive activities to twinkly lights to enjoy with your little ones. Leave a little merrier even in this cold with these six family holiday events in Chicago for group fun!

  1. Light up the Lake at Navy Pier

600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

If the Light up the Lake festivities at Navy Pier has not become a family tradition by now, they certainly will. Not only is it Chicago’s largest indoor lights experience (which is a must with frigid Midwest temperatures), they have activities for all ages. This is a major plus when appeasing the whole crowd.


From November 25th to January 7th, you can check out the glittery display of lights, take a few laps around the massive ice rink, get your kids’ yearly photo with Santa, and so much more. It wouldn’t be a trip to Navy Pier without a ride on the 200-ft. Centennial Wheel. 

light up wicker park
Image Credit: WPBCC

Light Up Wicker Park

Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce presents ‘Light Up Wicker Park Bucktown’ on Saturday, December 10th. Small businesses and independently owned local stores across Wicker Park and Bucktown invite shoppers to hail a complimentary ride on a lit up rickshaw passenger bike, then cruise around the neighborhood to check out the decked-out window displays and storefronts through their over 14 miles of sidewalk.


Stop into one of the shops hosting unique activations, including everything from festive carolers, glowing face accessories, glow-in-the-dark goodies, and more. Throughout the day, businesses will also be offering special promotions and giveaways, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect gifts for those on your list, with shops ranging from vintage destinations, curated boutiques, record stores, art galleries, beauty brands, and much more throughout the neighborhoods.

Cookie Decorating at Bettie’s Chicago                      

853 N Larrabee St, Ste C, Chicago, IL 60610

This interactive holiday class is sure to satisfy your sugar craving and make for an unforgettable memory with the family. Bettie’s is a colorful, retro-themed diner that is sure to transport you to the 50s. The venue offers fun baking classes taught by none other than Bettie herself!


This December 10th and 11th, Bettie’s will be holding family-friendly cookie-decorating classes. Although the session is geared toward younger children, this event is fun for all ages. You get to decorate treats to take home and enjoy while putting on your family’s favorite Christmas movie (all while keeping your kitchen clean).

The Nutcracker by the Joffrey Ballet

20 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL60606

If you and your loved ones are looking for grand holiday evening, the Lyric Opera House will surely deliver.  The holidays are a magical time and this time-honored performance will be sure to light up your spirit. The elegant dancing, beautiful set, and harmonious music are sure to keep everyone entranced until the very end. 

Tickets will be available from December 3rd to December 27th. Check out more scheduling information here.

The Immersive Nutcracker


ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Calling all animal lovers, take your family to Lincoln Park Zoo for holiday fun. With more than just lights to see, everyone is sure to have an unforgettable experience.  You can grab a pair of 3D glasses and head to the light maze, to get a bird’s eye view of the Zoo from the 65-ft. Ferris wheel, or hit Snowy’s Spirits & S’more for spiked slashes, hot chocolate, s’mores, and more. Enjoy these joyous attractions from now until January 1st. Better yet, Mondays are free admission for all!

On a hunt? Find other holiday lights in Chicago here.

Winterland at Gallagher Way

3635 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

Winterland at Gallagher Way is your one-stop destination for the most wonderful holiday festivities. Bring your family to indulge in holiday sweets, glide across the ice rink,  check out the Christmas decor, and so much more. There are also other holiday pop-ups in Chicago going on, so be sure to check them out too!

Chriskindlmarket Wrigleyville

The Chriskindlmarket is renowned for its wide variety of vendors and stands lined with string lights. It’s like our very own Santa’s workshop in Chicago. You can grab the kids a warm hot chocolate (and something a little stronger for yourself) while you navigate the lines of pop-up shops. You can enjoy live entertainment or a classic Christmas film while you look around. Looking for something to eat after? Here are the best restaurants near the Christkindlmarket!

Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights at The Museum of Science and Industry

5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637

Celebrating its 80th anniversary, the Museum of Science Industry invites you and your family to partake in its holiday tradition. With more than 50 decorated trees representing different cultures and countries, there are lots for you and your loved ones to explore! Art, history, and an evening spent with family will have everyone feeling jolly.

40th Anniversary at Children’s Museum

700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Join the Children’s Museum for their year-long 40th-anniversary celebration! Visit the Pritzker Playspace and explore a space filled with black and white shapes, or venture through the Cloud Buster. Just watched a Nutcracker performance? The Castle is here to satisfy your little princess or prince’s role playing desire!

Featured Image: the Joffrey Ballet