Chicago Calendar of Holiday and Winter Events 2017

Chicago Calendar of Holiday and Winter Events 2017

The 104th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, the opening of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and the Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon, the CSO, Caroling at Cloud Gate, the Dance-Along Nutcracker, the Wreathing of the Lions,  Do-It-Yourself Messiah and more.

Get your calendars ready! With Halloween events winding down, Chicago is revving up its winter and holiday engine from traditional yearly events to new events that are sure to become traditions of the future.

Wherever you go from Costco to the Mag Mile, it's beginning to look a whole lot like the holiday season. So snow or no get ready to grab a little holiday spirit with our comprehensive calendar of winter and holiday happenings (more events will be added as confirmed):

NOVEMBER 2017

ZooLights. Photo: Julia Fuller / Lincoln Park Zoo


ZooLights. Photo: Julia Fuller / Lincoln Park Zoo

  • SOFA Chicago art and design expo, November, 2-5,  Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand.

  • Wine Stroll, November 2, 6:30 - 9:30, Lincoln Square & Ravenswood.

  • The Great Tree, November 4, tree lighting ceremony, 12 pm. with The Voice winner Jordan Smith. Tree will remain in place through January 7th, 2018, Walnut Room, 7th floor, Macy’s on State Street.

  • The 50th Annual Holiday Windows, November 4 through January 7 2018, Macy’s on State Street.

  • Craft Cocktail Crawl, Thursday, November 9, 5 to 8 pm., Edgewater neighborhood.

  •  Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, November 16 through January 7, 2018, Museum of Science and Industry; 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.

  • The 104th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Friday, November 17, 6 pm., Millennium Park at Wrigley Square at Michigan Ave. & Randolph St.

  • Christkindlmarket Chicago, November 17 to December 24, Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn.

  • The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park OPENS at noon on Friday, November 17,  with skating continuing through March 4, 2018. (weather permitting).

  • Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park, OPENS November 17 through March 4, 2018 (weather permitting).

  • Magnificent Mile Lights Festival®, November 17 - 18. Friday 4 to 8 pm., 401 N. Michigan; Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm., 401 N. Michigan. Parade steps off along Mag Mile north of the Chicago River at 5:30 pm., Fireworks over river 6:55 pm.

Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade. Photo:


Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade.

  • Illumination: Tree Lights, Friday, November 17 through Monday, January 1, 2018.  (closed Mondays except January 1 & closed November 23 and December 24), The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle.
  • Randolph Street Holiday Markets, November 18 & 19, and December 16 & 17, 10 am to 5 pm. Plumbers Hall (indoors) 1340 W Washington Blvd. 
  • Christmas Carol, November 18 - December 31 at the Goodman Theatre (In the Albert). 
  • Holiday Thorne Miniature Rooms & Neapolitan Crèche, November 18January 7, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave.
  • Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 23, 8 am.-11 am. down State St. kicking off at Congress going north to Randolph St.
  • The 25th annual Wreathing of the Lions, and other holiday activities, 10 am. to 3 pm.November 24, inside and outside of the Art Institute of Chicago.  lionaicwreathing-lions_480-1
  • Caroling at Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” on Fridays, November 24 through December 15. Concerts, from 6 until 7 p.m. Millennium Park.
  • Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K & kids dash, November 25, the run starts and finishes at Grant Park.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Friday, November 24, at 8 p.m., Saturday, November 25, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, November 26, at 3 p.m., as part of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series at Chicago Symphony Center.
  • ZooLights, 4:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights November 24-26 and December 1-3. and then nightly December 8 through January 7, 2018 (excluding December 24 and 25), Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Wonderland Express, November 24 – December 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.December 23 – January 7, 2018 (closed December 25) 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe.
  • The Vienna Boys Choir perform Christmas in Vienna, a matinee program filled with classic carols, traditional folk songs and holiday sing-a-long favorites on Saturday, November 25, at 3 p.m., Symphony Center.
  • Navy Pier tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival, Wednesday, November 30, 6 p.m.,  Polk Bros Park Fountain and Plaza, Navy Pier.

DECEMBER 2017 

Holiday Thorne rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Holiday Thorne rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Winter WonderFest, December 1 through January 7, 2018, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue.
  • Joffrey's Nutcracker Ballet, December 1 through December 30, Auditorium Theatre.
  • Holiday Magic, Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, and Tuesday-Sunday, 26-31, Brookfield Zoo.
  • The Dance-Along Nutcracker®, Sunday, December 3, Dance Lessons at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.; Performances at noon & 3 p.mChicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. 
  • A Chanticleer Christmas, two concerts, Tuesday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m. candlelight at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (126 E. Chestnut St.). Tickets, CSO.
  • One of a Kind Show, December 7 through December 10, Merchandise Mart.
  • Ugly Sweater Skate, December 9, 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Maggie Daley Park (337 E. Randolph St.).
  • Lurie Garden Bird Feeder Workshop, December 10, 1–3 p.m. Millennium Park, Lurie Garden at Monroe St. and Columbus Dr.
  • Concierto Navideno/Christmas Concert, Thursday, December 14, Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St.
  • Skate with Santa, December 16, 10 a.m.–noon, Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St. 
  • Randolph Street Holiday Market, December 16 & 17, 10 am to 5 pm. Plumbers Hall (indoors) 1340 W Washington Blvd.
  • Gingerbread House Decorating Party, Sunday, December 171–4 p.m., The Park Grill a Millennium Park, 11 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Do-It-Yourself Messiah, December 18 & 197 p.m.Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St.
  • The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Brandenburg Concertos, December 20, 7:30 pm. Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.
  • Holly Days, December 27–30, 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m., Art Institute of Chicago, Ryan Learning Center 159 E. Monroe St.

New Year's Eve:

Navy Pier Fireworks

Navy Pier Fireworks

  • Navy Pier Fireworks and parties, December 31, fireworks midnight, 600 E. Grand.
  • Chicago Children's Museum annual Noon Year's Eve Kids Celebration, December 31, 11:15 a.m. with special activities and a countdown, Navy Pier.
  • Zoo Year's Eve 2017, December 31, kid-friendly countdown at 8 p.m., Brookfield Zoo, Hamill Family Play Zoo.
PLEASE NOTE: Chi-Town Rising will not be back for 2017-2018.

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