‘Tis the season… to take time out from planning and present wrapping and enjoy some of Chicagoland’s best holiday events! There’s everything from concerts to sleigh rides to bubble parties and NYE extravaganzas. So pile on the layers and get in on the merriment!
Ring in 2016 with city’s inaugural New Year’s Eve celebration, “Chi-Town Rising.” The free event offers six hours of non-stop excitement, including fireworks and concerts by the American Authors and rock and roll hall-of-famers Chicago. Events take place along the Chicago River between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.
For those who want a top shelf kind of event, the Crystal Gardens’ New Year’s Eve at the Navy Pier is sure to fit the bill. This year, DJ Dante will spin the year’s biggest hits while guests enjoy premium top shelf drinks, food stations and fireworks. The fun starts Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.
This season is the last time Joffery Ballet will perform its founder’s vintage choreography of “The Nutcracker” before retiring it in lieu of Tony award-winner Christopher Wheeldon’s re-imagining of the production, which will debut next year. Performances take place now through Dec. 27 at the Auditorium Theater between Michigan and Wabash Aves.
The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe holds its annual Wonderland Express, featuring 750,000 LED lights, model railroads, a holiday market, ice sculptures and much, much more! It runs now through Jan. 3.
First Night Evanston is a jam-packed New Year’s Eve event that boasts a full schedule of musical performances, including the Grammy-winning Howard Levy and the Acoustic Express, poetry, dancing and improv, with performances by The Second City’s All-Star comedians. Events take place at venues around Evanston beginning at 7 p.m.
The Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview kicks off the holiday season with “It’s a Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play” with only the help of a sound-effects artists. Check it out Nov. 10 – Dec. 20.
Reaction’s New Year’s Eve event in Rosemont is all about the music. The “warehouse-style” party features headliners Deadmau5 and Skrillex, in addition to several other notable acts like Chvrches and Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 30 and 31 at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention Center.
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in Schaumburg announces its “Holiday Bricktacular,” featuring building your own LEGO ornaments, holiday-themed minifigures, and a life-sized Santa and Snowman LEGO models! Now through Jan. 3.
All aboard for the Polar Express Storytime Train! The Streamwood Park District invites families to join the fun as they recreate the classic holiday tale by Chris Van Allsburg on their way to the North Pole. The train leaves the Bartlett Metra Station (120 E Railroad Ave) Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Double-knot those laces and take a spin on the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink in Orland Park. The fun takes place at now through Dec. 31 at Centennial Park, 15600 West Avenue at Fun Drive.
Getting in the holiday spirit has never been easier this season, thanks to the Bridge Teen Center’s Christmas Karaoke! So grab some friends and step into the spotlight for a very merry rendition of your favorite holiday hits. It takes places Dec. 22 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the center in Orland Park.
The DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville invites families to their “Bubble Bash,” featuring award-winning children’s band, BOOGERS, games, and of course, bubbles! The fun starts Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to noon.
What holiday season would be complete without seeing “A Christmas Story”? The beloved movie is reborn as a full-blown musical production at the Paramount Theater in Aurora. Now through Jan. 3.
The Brookfield Zoo will hold a family friendly NYE event with a live DJ, party favors, make-your-own noisemakers, games, giveaways and more! It is Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Brookfield.