Chicago Holiday & Christmas Events Near You

The holidays are upon us!

You know what that means – events, events, and more events. But how could you possibly know everything that’s happening? Where do you even start? There’s only so much one person can take in, but luckily, we’ve put together a list of the best Chicago Christmas events near you to attend.

Our little UrbanMatter elves have wandered around the city in search of the best holiday events around Chicago. Here’s what they had to report.

winter wonderfest
Photo Credit: Winter WonderFest

Winter WonderFest | December 6 – January 12 @ Navy Pier

This Chicago Christmas event features over 24 rides in a 170,000 square-foot space. Winter WonderFest includes inflatable slides, tubing hills, and obstacle courses to give this jam-packed event an unparalleled indoor winter experience. Check out the Ferris wheel and Xfinity Ice Skating rink.

Christkindlmarket Chicago
Photo Credit: Christkindlmarket Facebook

Christkindlmarket Chicago | November 15 – December 24 @ Daley Plaza

Spend Christmas in Chicago with a boot-shaped mug at Chicago’s 24th annual open-air Christmas market. Enjoy traditional German cuisine, crafted holiday items, and all the holiday fanfare you can handle. The market itself is free, but the goods are gonna cost ya. Oh, and you NEED to try the hot, spiced wine. Just trust us on that one.

Lincoln Park ZooLights Festival
Photo Credit: ZooLights

ZooLights | November 29 – January 5 @ Lincoln Park Zoo

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call ZooLights Chicago’s most captivating holiday and Christmas event. If 2 million lights brightening every inch of the zoo wasn’t reason enough to visit – you’ll also have access to ice skating, visits with Santa, and of course, animals. The hype is real, folks, and it’s the perfect addition to our Chicago Holiday Guide. 

Ice Skating
Photo Credit: Millennium Park Facebook

Ice Skating @ Maggie Daley Park, Millennium Park & More!

You can’t make a holiday guide without ice skating. Pick a place: Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, Wicker Park – the list goes on and on. The Chicago Park District has 10 different rinks to choose from (and two of them are indoors).

Macy's Christmas Windows
Photo Credit: Tyler LaRiviere

Christmas Windows | November 1 – January 5 @ Macy’s on State 

Attend a Chicago Christmas event from Macy’s that began in 1897. Christmas Windows is a timeless annual tradition that easily made our Chicago Holiday Guide. This year’s theme, Believe in the Wonder, gives you more reasons than one to bask in the holiday season. 

Christmas Around the World @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Photo Credit: MSI

Christmas Around the World | November 15 – January 6 @ Museum of Science + Industry

The annual Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry is here, and it’s a sight to see. Spend Christmas in Chicago observing 50 trees that have been decorated by nations around the world. These trees saturate the museum’s popular exhibit. In the middle, the Grand Tree, a towering, 45-foot goliath decorated by 30,000 lights and hundreds of vividly glowing ornaments.

CTA Holiday Train
Photo Credit: Chicago Transit Authority

The CTA Holiday Train | December 5 – December 21 @ Various CTA Lines

Santa’s taking a short vacation from the North Pole before Christmas time. His home for the next month? The CTA Holiday Train. Attend this Christmas event in Chicago to take your commute to the next level when. The holiday train will feature lights, reindeer, garland, decorations, candy, and of course, Santa’s loyal team of elves (that jolly old soul isn’t going to travel by himself, ya know).

10 Things to Do in Chicago This Winter

10 Things to Do in Chicago This Winter | Winter @ Chicago (duh)

Is this guide based on the holidays? Well…no. But hey, why not add in some bonus info on winter as a whole? This cold season goes well beyond December, as we begrudgingly know all too well. 


Have anything to add to Chicago’s Ultimate Holiday Guide? Let us know!


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Tell us what you think matters in your neighborhood and what we should write about next in the comments below!

Featured Image Credit: Christkindlmarket Facebook