5 Things To Do In Chicago During The Holidays

5 Things To Do In Chicago During The Holidays

There’s no denying it—the holidays in Chicago sure are magical. Besides, nothing screams holiday spirit more than heaps of white, glistening snow anyway, right? Beyond the winter wonderland feel of Chicago’s streets and lights, there are several fun activities to do to experience the holiday season in Chicago. From theatrical performances and the arts to festivals and dining, there’s never a dull moment in this busy, bustling city.

And, whether you’re visiting Chicago alone, or traveling with family or friends, it’s easy to find things to do that’ll please everyone involved. (And, here are a few other places to see when visiting Chicago.) Here are 5 things to do in Chicago during the holidays for a warm and merry season.


As a winter tradition, Lincoln Park Zoo hosts ZooLights, where the trees are lit up in bright colors, and people can spend time outdoors, enjoying ice carving demonstrations and seasonal, toasty drinks. Starting Friday, November 23rd and lasting until January 6th, there’s ample opportunity to experience the festivities. Plus, if you’re one of the first 1,000 people to attend at night, you’ll get a pair of special glasses for the light show. You can also go ice skating, as there’s a rink, among several others in the city, too.


Here’s reason to spend some time outdoors this winter! The Christkindlmarket market, Chicago’s largest outdoor market, provides a look into German tradition, by offering German eats, like sausages, potato pancakes, waffles, and sauerkraut, as well as artifacts, like hand-blown pieces and wood work. And, don’t forget the beer—lots of beer. (And spiced wine and hot cocoa.) Starting November 16th and lasting until December 24th, it’s a festival you won’t want to miss.

Caroling At Cloud Gate

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to sing a few tunes? Or, at least listen to some very talented carolers do it. Starting November 23rd with multiple chances to see and hear  lasting until December 14th, you can head to Millennium Park on Friday evenings at 6 p.m. to hear a few holiday classics and sip on hot cocoa. Be sure to pack on those layers to stay nice and cozy.

Have Some Fun At Macy’s

Sure, you can always go to Macy’s for a shopping spree—especially during the holidays when you’re in dire need of some last minute presents. Yet, you’ll want to pay the superstore a few extra visits this season. First off, you’ll want to browse the annual holiday windows display at Macy’s on State Street. This year, the theme is “Reasons to Believe,” which will include family traditions, the art of magic, and love expressed through cheer and the power of giving. It will last until January 8th, so be sure to stop on by before then.

And, you’ll also want to make your way indoors to dine in the historic restaurant, The Walnut Room, located on the 7th floor. It’s super competitive so you’ll want to start booking time slots now. It’s open November 5th through January 1st.

See A Show

Holiday classics come back to Broadway this winter, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate the festivities and get in the holiday spirit. Between Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” which runs the month of December, and Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” to “It’s A Wonderful Life,” there are so many options to choose from. (And they are all fantastic—there’s a reason they’re traditions, after all.)

Your best bet? See a few! It’s a long holiday season. Make sure to browse online and book tickets as soon as possible. And, here are some other shows in Chicago you might want to add to your list.

Need a place to stay this holiday season? Book your reservation now.


*Edited November 20, 2018