Everything you need to celebrate the season we’ve all been waiting for
Christmas in Chicago is nothing short of magical. With holiday cheer spread across every street, every neighborhood, and every building, it’s pretty hard not to be excited.
There are so many things to do in the city during the holidays, it’s almost impossible to keep up. Everyone knows that when you’re in full holiday zone, you make it your mission to hit up every. single. event.
For those holiday-holics that are trying to pack the next few weeks full with non-stop activities, we’ve got you covered! Here’s our ultimate guide to Christmas in Chicago.
Markets and Shopping
- Christkindlmarket – Visit the most popular outdoor holiday market around and enjoy food, drinks, crafts, and more. The market runs through December 24.
- Randolph Street Holiday Market – Voted one of the best for holiday shopping, get antiques, jewelry, clothes, and housewares. Visit on December 14 – 15.
- B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash – Katy Perry, Camila Cabello, Marshmello, Normani, Monsta X, and more ring in the season with chart-topping music at Allstate Arena on December 7.
- iHeartRadio Jingle Ball – Jonas Brothers, NF, Niall Horan, Why Don’t Me, and more hit Allstate Arena with a pop music holiday bash on December 18.
- A Christmas Carol – Watch the classic Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge unfold at the Goodman Theatre through December 29.
- The Nutcracker – See award-winning choreography from the Joffrey Ballet tell the tale of the Nutcracker through December 29.
- The Santaland Diaries – The Goodman Theatre hosts an adults-only show through December 29.
- Q Brothers Christmas Carol – Catch this hip-hop version of A Christmas Carol at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre through December 23.
View the Ultimate Guide to Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest
Are you trying to learn more about Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest? View our complete guide to Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest!
View Our Guide to Winter WonderFest
Holiday Light Displays
- ZooLights – Head to Lincoln Park Zoo for a magnificent light display that the whole family can enjoy on select dates in November and December, ending January 5.
- BrewLights – Kind of like ZooLights, but for adults only. Sample delicious beers and wines under twinkling lights on December 6.
- Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic – Stroll through over one million LED lights, train displays, ice carvers, and more at Brookfield Zoo on Saturdays and Sundays in December.
- Illumination – Walk through a winter woods of illuminated trees at the Morton Arboretum through January 5, closed on select dates.
- TBOX – The most popular bar crawl in town returns to Wrigleyville. Dress up in your Christmas gear for Twelve Bars of Xmas on December 14.
- Chicago Christmas Crawl – Hop around the bars in Old Town on this Christmas-themed crawl on December 15.
- Southport Holiday Stroll & Cocktail Crawl – While partaking in the holiday stroll on December 6, sample over 15 different holiday-themed cocktails.
- Ugly Christmas Sweater and Holiday Lights Bar Crawl – Don your ugliest Christmas attire and get ready for this bar crawl on December 14.
Runs and Races
- Ugly Sweater Run – If you want to choose when and where to run, you can do a virtual race instead. Encouraged to do December 20, however, for it’s National Ugly Sweater Day.
- Jingle Bell Run – Raise awareness for the Arthritis Foundation at this 5k race, starting at the Chicago History Museum on December 14.
Food, Beer and Wine Tastings
- Wine Class with Sommelier: Spain and Portugal – On December 10, indulge on 6 different types of wines, along with food pairings and snacks.
- Chicago Wine Fest – Presented by River North Fests, this wine festival has over 35 wines to taste as well as cheese plates to snack on.
- Winestyr Wine Tasting Stroll – For something free and casual, try Winestyr’s neighborhood wine tasting walk.
- Winter WonderFest – An amazing indoor winter wonderland with rides and activities awaits you at Navy Pier through January 6.
- Polar Express Train Ride – Experience the Polar Express on Amtrak with cookies, beverages, and visits from Santa at Union Station through December 29.
- Christmas Around the World & Holidays of Light – Check out this exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry by learning about holiday traditions from across the globe through January 5.
Anything we missed? Got a tip on an awesome holiday event in the city? Let us know!