Top 5 events for families in Chicago this weekend: December 13, 14 and 15

The weekend is almost here! And, there are a ton of great, family-friendly events for all to enjoy. The only challenge? Trying to fit them in as you finish up your holiday shopping. But, I know we’re all up for the challenge! Plus, it helps that so many of these events happen in neighborhoods with unique stores chock full of great gift items. Bonus!

Here is the Raising World Citizens list of the top five events for families in Chicago this weekend – Friday, December 13, Saturday, December 14, and Sunday, December 15.

1. Family Day: Construct
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave. (Streeterville)
Sat., Dec. 14, 11 am – 3 pm
Free admission for families with children 12 and under

This Saturday is the second Saturday of the month, which means its time to head to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for its free monthly Family Day. This month, you can enjoy “a day of creative thinking and making designed and led by Chicago-based artists.” Construct, the theme of this month’s Family Day, is tied to the MCA’s new CITY SELF exhibit, which celebrates the city of Chicago, and families can try their hand at constructing buildings of all shapes and sizes.

While you’re at the MCA, be sure to stop by its store on the ground level for unique gift items. Of course, Water Tower Place, the indoor shopping mecca, is also located just across the street.

2. It’s a Greek Christmas!
The National Hellenic Museum, 333 S. Halsted St. (Greektown)
Sat. Dec. 14, 1 – 4 pm
Free admission

The National Hellenic Museum invites families to come celebrate a Greek Christmas with them this Saturday afternoon. You can make your own Kilkantzario (Christmas Goblins), design a pine-cone tree and Karavaki (Christmas boat), and watch song and dance performances by Greek Language and Culture Classes and the Dionysos Dance Troupe, among other festive activities. You also can sample Greek snacks and pastries, which will be provided during the event.

While you’re at there, be sure to stop by the National Hellenic Museum store to browse its selection of gifts made by Greek and Greek American artisans. You also can head across the street to the Athenian Candle Co., which offers a large selection of candles for all occasions.

3. Lillstreet Arts Center Winter Open House
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave. (Ravenswood)
Sat., Dec. 14, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free admission

On Saturday, families can come to Lillstreet Arts Center to enjoy a free afternoon of creativity and art. You can decorate a cookie with First Slice Pie Cafe and personalize a gingerbread man clay ornament, among other activities. Adults also can try their hand at complimentary, hands-on workshops like wheel throwing, postcard printing, tote bag screen printing, craft activities, and more. Sign-up sheets will be posted outside of the classrooms at noon.

While at the Winter Open House, you can browse the Lillstreet Arts Center artisans shop. You also can head to the nearby Irish Christmas Market at Montrose Green, 1819 W. Montrose Ave. The outdoor market features local produce, festive crafts and gifts, seasonal food and drink, and entertainment. The Irish Christmas Market runs on Saturdays and Sundays this weekend and next weekend from 11 am – 9 pm.

4. Redmoon Winter Pageant
Redmoon Theatre, 2120 S. Jefferson St. (Pilsen)
Fri., Dec. 13 – Sun., Dec. 22 (Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays at 4 and 7 p.m., Sundays at 1:30 and 4 pm)
Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for children 3 – 18 years old, and $10 for college/university students

The Redmoon Theatre’s 15th annual Winter Pageant opens this weekend. The family-friendly show includes a cast of 40 performers, featuring hip-hop dance, Indian and Southeast Asian dance, puppets, shadow play, belly dance, aerial acrobatics, a Mexican clown artist, and live, original music. The Winter Pageant presents a new myth inspired by the poem, “The Conference of the Birds” by Farid yd-din Atta, which focuses on the themes of community, bravery and hope.

While you’re in Pilsen, be sure to stop by the museum store at the National Museum of Mexican Art. You also can find unique Mexican art, candies, soccer jerseys, and books at retailers up and down 18th St., just east of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

5. St. Lucia Festival of Lights
Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. (Andersonville)
Fri., Dec. 13 at 4:45 p.m.
Admission for the celebration is $1 or a can of food or toy to benefit the Care for Real food pantry

The St. Lucia Festival of Lights in Andersonville kicks off with a torch-lit, carol-filled procession down the sidewalks of Clark St. at 4:45 pm. The procession, which begins at the Swedish American Museum, is lead by “Lucia Girls,” wearing long white robes and crowns of candles. Families are invited to join in the procession, which ends with a celebration back at the Swedish American Museum.

While you’re in Andersonville, be sure to visit local stores that offer a great selection of gifts, including the Women and Children First book store and Toys et Cetera.

And, don’t forget some of the other festive events happening in Chicago throughout the holiday season:

Christkindlmarket Chicago
Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. (Loop)
Tues., Nov. 26 – Tues., Dec. 24

CTA Holiday Train
Fri, Nov. 29 and Sat., Nov. 30; 1 – 8 pm
Weekends and select weekdays, Fri., Nov. 29 – Mon., Dec. 23

Holiday Hub
Block Thirty Seven, Pedway Level, 108 N. State St. (Loop)
Mon. – Sat., 10 am – 6 pm
Sun., 11 am – 5 pm

Irish Christmas Market
Montrose Green, 1819 W. Montrose Ave. (Ravenswood)
Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, 11 am – 9 pm

Winter WonderFest
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
Fri., Dec. 6, 2013 – Sun., Jan. 12, 2014 (Check the website for hours)

Lincoln Park Zoo, Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Pkwy
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 and Dec. 6 – 8, 13 – 23, 2013; Dec. 26 – Jan. 5, 2014

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