Black Friday Chicago 2012: Downtown Chicago Escapes Beyond Shopping.

Black Friday Chicago 2012: Downtown Chicago Escapes Beyond Shopping.
The Wreathing of the Art Institute of Chicago's takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving.

CHICAGO, Wednesday, November 21, 2012. Once Thanksgiving is over, it's alright to start getting some holiday spirit. Forget the crowds fighting for bargains and enjoy the beauty and spirit of the season with some of the free and inexpensive events listed here.

Wreathing of the Lions

Start your day at the Art Institute of Chicago's Annual Wreathing of the Lions at 10 a.m. Then head inside and view your favorite art or take part in special family activities. The first 50 people in line will be admitted free.  Regular admission rates apply for others.  Art Institute of Chicago, November 23, ceremony 10 a.m. various activities inside the AIC from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Window Shopping at Macy’s.

Check out the windows at Macy’s State Street Store.  This year they have cooked up some holiday nostalgia with a look back at some Marshall Field's traditions along with a look into the future. 111 N State St (312) 781-4483.

Holiday Music on Lightscape: A Multisensory Experience on State Street.

Enjoy the holiday music and be ready for some random acts of kindness as you travel along State Street.

Christkindlmarket.

You don't have to shop the market, you can go for hot chocolate, German potato pancakes, a brat and other delicious treats at this picturesque German marketplace on Daley Plaza.  Check out the tree, Santa House and revel in the quaintness of it all.  Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Sts.  11 a.m. to 9 p.m., free admission.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Plaza.

Catch an eyeful of the gorgeous Chicago skyline as you whiz around the rink at Millennium Park.  Skate rental is available. 11 N Michigan Ave. Noon to 10 p.m., free with your own skates.

Caroling at Cloud Gate.

Caroling at Cloud Gate  (aka the Bean) kicks off on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will continue every Friday through December 21.  Millennium Park, 6 p.m.

Zoolights, Lincoln Park Zoo.

Just a hop, skip and a jump (or a taxi or bus ride) from downtown Chicago is the Lincoln Park Zoo. Their annual Zoolights, kicking off Friday, November 23, turns the grounds into a Winter Wonderland.  It's definitely worth the short trip to bask in the beautiful holiday lights and special activities starting this Friday and continuing every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 23.  Following December 25, open nightly from December 26 though January 6.

Filed under: Chicago Museums

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