Chicago 2022 Holiday Event Guide: Lights! Markets! Action! | Chicago News

The annual “Christmas in the World” exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry. (Credit: Heidi Peters/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago)

The holiday season in Chicago is made for memories, from year-round traditions to once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Whether it’s catching a light show or sipping on a hot chocolate after an afternoon of ice skating, there’s something for everyone.

We’ve rounded up some of the highlights of the season; for more information, simply click on the links provided.

November December

Christkindlmarket (Chicago tonight)Christkindlmarket (Chicago tonight)

Dates vary: Millennium Park, ring

Millennium Park will be a hub of activity this holiday season:

– Check out Chicago’s official Christmas tree, a 55-foot blue spruce, through January 9

– On Friday nights, join the singers, Nov. 25-Dec. 16.

— Ice skating is open, weather permitting, through March 5, at both Millennium Park and the ribbon at nearby Maggie Daley Park.

While you’re downtown, pop into the Art Institute for a photo with the museum’s famous decorated lions and check out the holiday window display at the Macy’s State Street store.

Until December 20th: CTA Holiday Train

Santa, his reindeer and elves will commute through Chicago on a decorated train, stopping at train stations between November 25 and December 20. The train should run on the green line first, followed by the orange and brown lines, then the red and purple lines, the pink line, the blue line, and finally the yellow line.

Its companion, the CTA Holiday Bus, will appear on a variety of routes between November 29 and December 23.

From December 9th to December 24th: Christmas Music Box Sing along, Lakeview

For nearly 40 years, the Music Box Theater has screened holiday classics “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas,” with a twist. Before the curtain rises, the house organist guides the audience through a catalog of precious Christmas carols. Fa-la-la-la-la.

Until 24 December: Locations Christkindlmarket, Daley Plaza and Aurora

Through December 31st: Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, Lakeview

Modeled after Germany’s traditional open-air holiday markets, Christkindlmarket offers a taste of Europe in the Midwest. The Aurora location is new this year. In Wrigleyville, visitors can pop into the adjacent Winterland (for a fee) at Wrigley Field.

Until December 25th: ChiTown Movies Holiday Favorites, Pilsen

Load up the car and head to the ChiTown Movies drive-in to watch ‘Home Alone’, ‘Elf’, ‘Christmas Vacation’ and more on the big screen. If ChiTown’s lineup is any indication, yes, Virginia, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.

Guests can walk through the 600-foot Tunnel of Lights synchronized to music at Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic. (Courtesy of CZS-Brookfield Zoo)Guests can walk through the 600-foot Tunnel of Lights synchronized to music at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic. (Courtesy of CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

Until 31 December: Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield

The zoo’s miles of lights and illuminated animal sculptures have delighted visitors for over 40 years. Other features include an ice rink.

Until December 29: Kohlights at the Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview

Nicknamed “mesmertastic,” the museum’s interactive display of light and color is a children’s holiday wonderland. Displays include Lollipop Light Lane and the 360 ​​degree beam field.

The Nutcracker 2021 from Art on theMART on Vimeo.

Until December 30th: The Nutcracker, Art on the Market, Merchandise Mart

See scenes from the Joffrey Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’ projected onto the huge canvas at the Merchandise Mart.

Through January 1, 2023: Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park

Enjoy a dazzling light show in the heart of Chicago. Festivities also include ice sculptures, photos with Santa, and strolling carolers. New this year is a Chicago skyline display and a 165-foot-long Grand Light Tunnel. Admission is free on Mondays.

Until January 1, 2023: Let it shine Light show

No need to worry about finding parking at Let It Shine – the show is a drive-thru. There are two locations, one in Northbrook and one in Schaumburg, although the layout of each is different from the other.

Until January 1, 2023: Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field, Rosemont

The Sparkle Experience includes lighted villages, a children’s zone, a double-decker ice slide and free rides on the Holly Trolly.

Through January 7, 2023: Lighting: Tree lights at Morton Arboretum, Lisle

Stroll along a mile-long path of trees lit to showcase their winter beauty, accompanied by the sound of festive music. New this year is Electric Illumination, a late-night experience for adults 18 and older, set to trance and progressive house music, with synchronized light displays (December 16, 23, and 30 only).

Until 7 January 2023: Light up the lake at Navy Pier

Navy Pier makes holiday lights like no other – indoors. Highlights of the experience include a forest maze of over 100 lighted trees, an ice rink, and a train ride through Santa’s Village for youngsters.

Lightscape at the Chicago Botanical Garden.  (Courtesy of the Chicago Botanical Gardens)Lightscape at the Chicago Botanical Garden. (Courtesy of the Chicago Botanical Gardens)

Through January 8, 2023: Lightscape at the Chicago Botanical Garden, Glencoe

The 1.25-mile floodlit path takes visitors through enchanting light installations, including a fire garden and perennial fan favorite, the Winter Cathedral.

Until January 8, 2023: Amaze Light Festival at Odyssey Fun World, Tinley Park

The Amaze experience includes a million twinkling lights, a Christmas market, food trucks, music, a theater show and more.

Until January 8, 2023: Christmas in the World, Museum of Science and Industry, Hyde Park

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the museum’s beloved tradition, which began with a single tree in 1942 and has now grown to 50 trees, decorated to represent the Christmas traditions of countries and cultures around the world.

Until January 8, 2023: Winter Flower Show at Garfield Park Conservatory, Garfield Park

This year’s theme is “Snow Day!”, with flowers arranged to create the illusion of a snowy garden. The centerpiece will be a 12-foot tall tree made up of over 200 white poinsettia plants.


Opportunities to shop local and support local artists and makers:

State Street Market, Loop, November 18-December. 18.

Chicago Craft Market, Ravenswood, Nov. 26-27.

One of a kind, Merchandise Mart, Dec. 1-4.

Winter Market, Andersonville, December 2-4.

Winterglow Holiday Market & Beer Garden at the Salt Shed, Goose Island, Dec. 2-4; 9-11 December.

Holiday Uprising Market, Beverly Arts Center, December 3.

Chicago Art Department Holiday Market, Pilsen, Dec. 9.

Dank Haus Weihnachtsmarkt, Lincoln Square, 10 December.

Chicago Art Girls Holiday Pop-Up, North Center, Dec. 10-11.

Chicago Craft Market, Fulton Market, December 11.

Holiday Market at The Plant, Back of the Yards, 11th December.

Renegade Craft Fair, West Loop, December 17-18.

Randolph Street Holiday Market, West Loop, December 17-18.

The events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before heading out the door.


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