Things To Do This Weekend In And Around Chicago: Nov. 16-18

Shannon Blum
November 15, 2018 - 2:37 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – It may only be mid-November, but the holiday season is kicking off this weekend throughout Chicago. 

From tree lighting ceremonies and parades to ice skating and Christmas markets, it is almost like the city is jumping right over Thanksgiving and straight to the holidays. But don't worry, if you are not quite ready for that, there are a few other things going on this weekend.

Here's a look at things to do this weekend in and around Chicago.

BMO Harris Bank’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Chicago's most well-known shopping district kicks off the holiday season by lighting up the trees that line Michigan Avenue. The fun begins on Friday when Pioneer Court hosts family-friendly activities. On Saturday, stores on the Magnificent Mile will offer special experiences and offers throughout the day, before Michigan Avenue hosts a two-hour tree-lighting parade, which sets off from Oak Street. Head to the Chicago River by 6:55pm to catch the spectacular fireworks display that closes out the evening.

Where: Michigan Avenue

When: Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Lights Festival Lane; Saturday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Lights Festival Lane; 5:30-7 p.m. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Tree-Lighting Parade; 6:55 p.m. Fireworks

Cost: Free

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting

Every year, Millennium Park is adorned with an epic Christmas tree that remains on display until the beginning of the new year. The city's 105th tree is a 48-year-old, 60-foot-tall, 8,200-pound Norway spruce from Elmhurst, Illinois. To see the tree's big debut, head to Millennium Park at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 16, when the city hosts a lighting ceremony with the help of Hamilton star Miguel Cervantes. Expect music, an appearance from the mayor and more than a little pomp and circumstance before the switch is flipped, marking the beginning of the holiday season in Chicago. Spectators can check out the festive tree near Washington Street and Michigan Avenue through Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave.

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

Cost: Free

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Christkindlmarket Chicago

The annual German Christmas Market returns to Chicago in three locations: Chicago Daley Plaza, Milwaukee and Naperville. Offerings include traditional German food like bratwursts and saurkraut, potato pancakes, leiberkäse and of course mulled wine. A German/European candy shop is also a must-see. Shop German handmade items like beer steins, cuckoo clocks, ornaments and other crafts, and be sure to get some candied nuts made on-site before you leave.

Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. 

When: Friday, 11 a.m. through Christmas Eve

Cost: Free

Millennium Park Ice Rink
Ice-skating at the Millennium Park ice rink (Mike Ramsey/WBBM Newsradio)

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don't feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. Take advantage of free skating lessons on Fridays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays and Sunday at 9 a.m. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 10, weather permitting.

Where: McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink, 55 N. Michigan Ave.

When: Opens Friday, times vary through March

Cost: Admission free, skate rentals $13–$15

WBBM Newsradio/Nancy Harty

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park

Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, with the city's sweeping skyline as a backdrop, the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is a winter attraction unlike any other. Skaters can lace up and wind around a path that's twice the length of a lap around a traditional rink. Short on time? Snag a Fast Pass for $40 and skip the line! The Ribbon stays open through March (weather permitting) and will host a Skate with Santa on Saturday, December 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. 

Where: Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.

When: Opens Friday, times vary through March

Cost: Free, skate rentals available for a fee

Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical/Facebook

Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

You’ll find your heart growing a few sizes when you watch Dr. Seuss’ whimsical holiday classic come to life on stage! Inspired by the original children’s book and featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” the Grinch, his sidekick Max and Cindy Lou Who help remind us of the true meaning of the holiday season. See Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Chicago Theatre, November 16-25.

Where: The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

When: November 16-25, times vary

Cost: Varies

Morton Arboretum

Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum

When the weather gets cold, the trees at Morton Arboretum light up in a sea of color at this popular winter event. Guests at Illumination walk down a one-mile path through the forest, admiring the magical display and seasonal music. New features at this year's edition include tree-like sculpture from artist HYBYCOZO, a tree that changes colors when you hug it and campfires stocked with hot drinks and s'mores.

Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte 53, Lisle

When: Saturday, November 17, 2018 through Tuesday, January 1, 2019 

Cost: Tickets are available for specific times, beginning at 4:30 p.m.; $18–$30

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago/Facebook

Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry

Every year, the Museum of Science and Industry puts up its 45-foot-tall Grand Tree and surrounds the towering pine with more than 50 trees that represent Chicago's various communities and their respective holiday celebrations. Visitors can admire the 30,000 lights that cover the trees and stick around for the "snow" that falls from the rotunda every 30 minutes. During the weekend, live performances of holiday music fill the room, lending some additional seasonal cheer to your day at the museum.

Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 

When: Friday through Jan. 6

Cost: Included in museum admission

© PictureGroup

Chicago Wine & Food Experience with Martha Stewart 

Martha Stewart joins a long list of notable Chicago chefs (including mainstays like Stephanie Izard and Graham Elliot) for an afternoon of tastings, seminars and cooking demonstrations. Attendees can taste dishes from Little Goat Diner, Longman & Eagle, Daisies and more local restaurants while sampling wine, beer and spirits. The Food & Wine Experience also includes a chance to take a hands-on cooking class and the opportunity to see Martha Stewart show off her culinary skills.

Where: Soldier Field, United Club, 1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.

When: Saturday, 1-4 p.m.

Cost: $100, advance $65, VIP $120–$180

Festival of Barrel Aged Beers

Affectionately known as FOBAB, the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers offers a stacked lineup of wood and barrel-aged concoctions that some serious beer-lovers worship. More than 200 craft brewers come to Chicago for the annual event, where attendees can sample stouts, sours, ciders and mead throughout three tasting sessions. Throughout the weekend, judges evaluate all of the beers being poured and award medals in various categories—it's like the Olympics of high-ABV brews.

Where: UIC Forum, 725 W Roosevelt Rd 

When: Friday, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, 1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.

Cost: $85

Chicago Toy & Game Fair

Chicago is the birthplace of the Lite Brite, Radio Flyer Wagons, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, Lincoln Logs and Beanie Babies, so it's not surprising that the city has its own toy and game fair. The two-day event welcomes kids and their parents to test some of the latest toys while taking in events like a yo-yo championship and a giant bubble show.

Where: Navy Pier, Festival Hall, 600 E Grand Ave 

When: Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.

Cost: $14–$15, children ages 3-13 $7–$8

Chicago Bears v. Minnesota Vikings

Watch the Chicago Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings at home on Sunday at 7:20 p.m. primetime.

Where: Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Dr.

When: Sunday, 7:20 p.m.

Cost: Varies