holidays in chicago

Chicago Christmas: Last Chance to Catch These Festivities Around the City

From ZooLights to Christmas markets, here's a look at things to do on Christmas Eve and through the end of December

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Chicagoans will have a final chance to catch Christmas events and festivities across the city this weekend and next before closing for the season.

With several activities open Friday, families and friends can spend Christmas Eve at Chicago hot spots to get a final taste of the holidays before the weekend is over.

Here's a look at festivities across the area through December:

Chicago Christkindlmarket
Open through Dec. 24 (Downtown) and Dec. 31 (Wrigleyville)

The 25th annual Chicago Christkindlmarket returned in-person this year in two locations: one at The Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, and another at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville.

Inspired by the 16th century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, the traditional European markets feature authentic German offer food and drinks, shopping, live entertainment and more. Admission is free.

Downtown Chicago hours: Sundays – Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fridays – Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Closed on Christmas Day. This spot will close after Dec. 24.

Wrigleyville hours: 4pm – 10pm on Nov. 20, Mondays – Thursdays from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m., Fridays – Saturdays from11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. Closed on Christmas Day. This spot will close after Dec. 31.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park
Open through March 6, weather permitting

Ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park is back for its 20th anniversary season. Weather permitting, the rink will be open through March 6.

Admission is free, but reservations are required. Skate rentals range from $13-$15, and free skating lessons (reservations required) are offered most Saturday and Sundays from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Hours: Mondays - Thursdays from 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Fridays - Sundays, holiday weeks and weekends from 9:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Stay up-to-date on weather closures on Millennium Park's Facebook page.

Chicago Christmas Pop-Up Bars

Christmas pop-up bars, filled with holiday decor and festive cocktails, can be found all across the city this season. Here's where to find the Christmas spots and how long they'll be open:

  • Santa Baby at Deuces
    3505 N. Clark St., Wrigleyville
    Open through Jan. 9
  • Rudolph's Christmas Bar at Casey Morans
    3660 N. Clark St., Wrigleyville
    Open through Dec. 30
  • Winter Wonderland at JoJo's Shake Bar
    23 W. Hubbard St., Near North
    Open through Jan. 2
  • Christmas Inn at Hubbard Inn
    110 W. Hubbard St., River North
  • Jack's Winter Walk Pop-Up and Christmas Tree Farm
    Goose Island neighborhood
    Open through Jan. 2
  • Rudolph's Holiday Rooftop at LH Rooftop
    85 E. Wacker Dr., The Loop

Amaze Light Festival at Impact Field
Open through Jan. 2

The immersive Christmas lights and music display in Rosemont features snow tubing, Santa's Workshop and seven holiday worlds to stroll through: Deck the Halls, Storybook Village, Sparky's Land of Sweets, North Pole, Whimsical Forest, Tree Farm and Arctic Express.

Admission: Tickets range from $18-85. Runs through Jan. 2

Santa's Rockin Lights at the Lake County Fairgrounds
Open through Jan. 2

A drive-thru, animated light show with nearly a full mile of more than 100,000 lights set to Christmas music.

Admission and hours: Tickets range from $19.99 - $34.99. Advance purchase required. Hours are Sundays - Thursdays from 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights
Open through Jan. 2

The 25th annual Lincoln Park ZooLights features a light maze, visits with Santa, a pop-up bar, sensory-friendly visit times, specialty events throughout the season like BrewLights and more.

Hours and admission: Dec. 23, 26-31, and Jan. 1-2 from 4 p.m. - 10 pm. Tickets are required, and are $5 Wednesday-Sunday, and free on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Willow Hill's Winter Magic Drive-Thru at Willow Hill Golf Course
Open through Jan. 2

The first annual Winter Magic is a one mile, drive-thru Christmas lights display set to music at Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, with holiday themed areas throughout an animated light tunnel.

Hours and admission: Open nightly starting at 4:30 p.m., through Jan. 2. Tickets are $45 per car. Advanced purchase and reservations required.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Open through Jan. 2

The ninth annual walking experience at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle is a one-mile, paved walking path with festive music and holiday lights meant to highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Along the way, you can stop for s'mores or warm up by a crackling fire.

Admission and hours: Runs through Jan. 2. Tickets range from $8-$24, and advance purchase is recommended. Evening entry times vary based on ticket availability.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Open through Jan. 2

The 1.25-mile trail leads guests through pine trees draped with strings of lights, candles lining pathways and a variety of other holiday light formations, creating a warm glow through which to walk.

Open through Jan. 2, tickets range in price from $12 to $28. Children under age 3 can walk through the show free of charge. Purchase tickets here.

Macy's State Street Holiday Windows

A Chicago Christmastime tradition, the holiday windows and Great Tree at Macy's on State Street return this year featuring a bright-eyed, blue reindeer named Tiptoe.

The windows tell the story of a little reindeer was "too shy to fly" with Santa's sleigh team on Christmas night, according to Macy's tale of Tiptoe.

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