Christmas in Chicago: 5 Activites to Get You in the Christmas Spirit


Emma Beard, Staff Writer

 Temperatures are dropping, peppermint mochas are back, and Mariah Carey is once again finding her way to the top of your Spotify list. This can only mean one thing: Christmas! And there’s nowhere better to celebrate this holiday than in Chicago, a city whose freezing temperatures are only bearable during the month of December, and not a day longer. As the setting for various Christmas movies including National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, While You Were Sleeping, A Bad Mom’s Christmas, Christmas with the Kranks, (and my personal favorite), and Home Alone, Chicago is the perfect place to be when December 25th rolls around.  So, with many of us looking for ways to get in the “Christmas spirit”, here are 5 Christmas-related activities to do in Chicago this winter!

1. Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park 

Secret Chicago

The Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon, located in Maggie Daley Park near Millenium Park, offers a unique ribbon-shaped outdoor rink that takes you along festive scenery. Tickets are $5 if you bring your own skates, and $20 if you want to rent them out. Time slots are spread throughout the day, giving you the choice to skate all the way up to 9:30 PM. If you plan to visit, make sure you reserve a spot early, as they tend to fill up very quickly!

2. Christkindl Market

Secret Chicago

Not too far from Maggie Daley Park is the German-style Christkindl Market! Located in Daley Plaza, as well as Wrigleyville and Aurora, Ranked as the #1 Christmas Market in North America by Big 7, Christkindl Market offers live entertainment, handcrafted goods made by hundreds of vendors, food, and popular beverages such as German mulled wine, called Glühwein. Stop by the Wrigleyville location and ice skate on their very own rink!

3. ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights, located at Lincoln Park Zoo, offers a chance to see the park illuminated with Christmas lights and even displays that feature animals you would see in the Zoo; these lights are completely powered with renewable energy! ZooLights also features a ferris wheel, and a Candyland-themed light show that is sponsored by UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. Tickets cost $5, but are free on Mondays. All of the money Lincoln Park Zoo received from ZooLights goes towards conservation efforts as well as keeping the Zoo free. This activity is perfect for younger children as well as anyone else who enjoys a good light show.



4. Nutcracker

Joffrey Ballet

A beloved holiday classic, the Nutcracker is a popular ballet that features action, romance, and magic. It is performed throughout Chicago by numerous companies, such as: Joffrey Ballet, The Art Deco, Ruth Page Civic Ballet, and more. Tickets generally start around $30 but can reach upwards of $200, depending on the show. This truly is something the whole family can appreciate, and is another great activity to add to your list this Christmas.

5. Visit the iconic Christmas tree

Chicago Curbed

Your trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Chicago’s official Christmas tree. Located in Millenium Park, near Michigan Ave. and Washington St., this tree spans a whopping 55 feet tall! The Christmas tree stays lit all the way until January 8th, so you have plenty of time to visit it, even after Christmas! Fit with spectacular lights and a crowning star to top it all off, you won’t want to miss this classic part of Christmas in Chicago!