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The Best Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Chicago

Events Happening This Weekend

Lincoln Park Zoo Brewlights | Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m.

This is your chance to take the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights up a notch. This annual event features craft and seasonal beers on tap throughout the zoo during ZooLights. Your ticket will include a dozen sample sized tastings of beer and, carousel rides and opportunities for photos with Santa

Southport Corridor Holiday Stroll | Friday, December 7 from 5 – 9 p.m.

This fun, free shopping is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. The Southport Holiday Stroll is a tradition in West Lakeview where businesses in the Southport corridor stay open late and feature special deals. There will also be fun festive surprises like carolers and holiday treats.

One of a Kind Holiday Show | Thursday, December 6  – Sunday, December 9

Looking for unique holiday gifts? Visit the One of A Kind show at The Merchandise Mart to shop more than 600 artists, bakers, and makers offering everything from accessories and fashion to home goods and gourmet foods.

Lights, Sights and Skating

  • Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo: If you can’t make it to Brewlights, you can still stop by Zoo Lights through the holiday season. Its a perfect pre or post dinner stroll.
  • Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry: For a more educational Christmas experience, The Museum of Science and Industry is featuring an exhibit that features different Christmas traditions around the world. I haven’t been but it looks like the exhibit is full of festive trees and holiday decor.
  • Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo: If you’ve already been to Lincoln Park Zoo lights you can also check out Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic display. They also feature a variety of events that you can attend throughout the season. Check out their website for more!
  • Illumination Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum This is supposed to be another amazing lights display. I haven’t been but the photos look spectacular! If you’re in the suburbs or want to get out of the city to celebrate the holidays this is your spot!
  • Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier: Another holiday experience that is on my list. Navy Pier never disappoints when it comes to seasonal festivities.
  • Winterland at Gallagher Way
  • For those of you who don’t know, Gallagher Way is the new name of the Park at Wrigley. During the holiday season they turn their popular park into a winter wonderland featuring an ice skating rink. This is a good spot for a seasonal experience for those who want a to avoid all the Michigan Ave & Cloud Gate tourists.
  • Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley park If you don’t mind the crowds and want a bit more elaborate ice skating experience you’ll want to head into the city to Maggie Daley Park to check out their stunning skating ribbon. This one is on my bucket list for the winter season.

Theater & Comedy

  • A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theater Ryan and I saw this show last year and I would 100% see it again. We were both so surprised at how amazing it was. This makes for a perfect date night or family night to celebrate the Holiday season.
  • The Good The Bad and the Ugly Sweater at Second City I’ve always been a huge fan of Second City and their holiday shows are some of my favorites. With that being said, having seen so many of their shows, I will say some are hit or miss but regardless you’ll get some great laughs. This is a fun way to celebrate with a group of friends, family, out of town guests or just a fun, different date night to shake things up.


Chicago Christmas Bars

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate on a whim, there are so many fun bars decked out for the holidays featuring festive cocktails. Here are a few worth checking out:

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