Things To Do This Weekend In And Around Chicago: Dec. 13-15

Shannon Blum
December 13, 2019 - 8:13 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It's the most wonderful time of the year! Winter activities in Chicago are in full swing, from Christmas markets and light displays, to holiday exhibits, ice skating, and more!

And as for sports, the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks play at home this weekend, so if you are looking to escape the holiday madness or just want to cheer on Chicago, head to the United Center to catch those two teams in action.

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

St. Lucia Festival of Lights
Andersonville Chamber of Commerce

St. Lucia Festival of Lights

One of Andersonville’s many traditional Swedish events, St. Lucia begins with a torch-lit procession down the sidewalks of Clark Street at 4:4 p.m., kicking off at the Swedish American Museum. The procession highlight is the appearance of the specially chosen “Lucia Girls,” who will lead the crowd, wearing long white robes and beautiful crowns of candles and singing “The Lucia Song.” Children and adults are welcome to join in the procession. Come hold a lantern to light the way for the St. Lucia procession! More info. 

Where: Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St.  

When: Friday, 4:45-7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Ugly Christmas Sweater

Chicago Ugly Sweater Art Run

Celebrate the holidays with Runstreet and Time Out Market Chicago on a festive 5K Art Run through Chicago's historical West Loop neighborhood. Runstreet will guide an easy-paced run through the former meatpacking district making stops at street art for discussion and photos. This experience is curated by seasoned runners, a local art expert and includes professional photography available to all participants after the event. Bundle up in those ugly sweaters and enjoy a beautiful December morning with Runstreet. More info.

Where: Time Out Market Chicago, 916 W. Fulton Market

When: Saturday, 10-11:30 a.m.

Cost: $25

Time Out Market Chicago
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Family Fun Day at Time Out Market Chicago

Bring the whole family to Time Out Market Chicago on December 15 for a fun-filled afternoon that includes crafting, singing and magic. Kiddos are invited to make handmade holiday picture frames (perfect for a family selfie) before enjoying a matinee act with Mister Danny from the Chicago Magic Lounge, with a show and a strolling act at noon. Top off the experience when you join carolers from Merit School of Music for a festive holiday sing-along beginning at 1 p.m. More info. 

Where: Time Out Market Chicago, 916 W. Fulton Market

When: Saturday, 11 a.m.

Cost: Free

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest
Nick Ulivieri Photography

Winter WonderFest

Bring the winter fun inside at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest, as they fill their gigantic 170,000-square-foot Festival Hall with an ice skating rink, carnival rides, a tubing hill, seasonal activities and piles of holiday decorations. Bring the kids and avoid the cold for an afternoon. More info. 

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

When: Now through Jan. 12

Cost: Varies

Christmas Tree Chicago 2019
WBBM Newsradio/Jim Gudas

City of Chicago Christmas Tree

Every year, Millennium Park is adorned with an epic Christmas tree that remains on display until the beginning of the new year. The larger-than-life attraction is festooned with twinkling lights and crowned with an illuminated star—and it's not too far of a walk from Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Spectators can check out the festive tree near Washington Street and Michigan Avenue through Monday, January 6, 2020. More info. 

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave. 

When: Now through Monday, Jan. 6.

Cost: Free

Snow falls on the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park on February 1, 2011 in Chicago
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Caroling at Cloud Gate

All are invited to bundle up and belt out holiday classics during Caroling at Cloud Gate located on the Millennium Park’s iconic Cloud Gate Plaza. The festive series is part concert, part sing-along with some of our city's most entertaining choirs on Fridays from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. The caroling is led by the likes of the Sounds Good! Choir (Nov. 29), Mark Hubbard and The Voices (Dec. 6), the Chicago Children’s Choir (Dec. 13) and the Wicker Park Choral Singers (Dec. 20). Songbooks will be distributed at this event. More info. 

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave.

When: Fridays, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, and Dec. 20; 6-7 p.m.

Cost: Free

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

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent skates for $13–$15. 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 Sundays at 9 a.m. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 8, weather permitting. More info. 

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave. 

When: Friday, Nov. 15-March 8 (weather permitting)

Cost: 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. The skating ribbon is dramatically different from typical civic ice rinks, creating a multi-sensory activity that is integrated into the landscape. Skaters can experience “alpine in the city” as they lace up their ice skates and follow a path twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink. More info. 

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

When: Friday, Nov. 15-March (weather permitting)

Cost: Free, skate rentals $13–$15

Christkindlmarket 2019 Boot Mugs
Christkindlmarket Chicago/Facebook


You haven't experienced the holidays in Chicago until you've stepped into this giant open-air market inspired by a similar seasonal tradition in Nuremberg, Germany. At Christkindlmarket, guests can shop handcrafted items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins and glass ornaments and nibble on potato pancakes, hot pretzels, schnitzel, döner and chocolate-covered treats. And no trip to Christkindlmarket is complete without a steaming mug of Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine (there's also hot cocoa for the kids) – and don’t forget to order it in the keepsake boot mug! More info. 

Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.

When: Friday, Nov. 15-Dec. 24; Sunday-Thursday,11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Christmas Around the World
WBBM Newsradio

Christmas Around The World

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. More info. 

Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lakeshore Dr.

When: Thursday, Nov. 14-Sunday, Jan. 5

Cost: Included in museum admission

Winterland at Gallagher Way
Gallagher Way Chicago/Facebook

Winterland at Gallagher Way

The Cubs may be hibernating for the winter, but Gallagher Way provides some excellent reasons to hang out in Wrigleyville during baseball's off-season. The public square's Winterland event series offers an array of seasonal, family-friendly activities, including an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, holiday movie screenings and visits from Santa Claus. Beloved holiday bazaar Christkindlmarket also hosts an outpost at Gallagher Way, bringing shopping and glühwein north of the Loop. Plus, look out for wreath-making workshops, breakfasts with Santa and a tree lot at Big Star. More info.

Where: Gallagher Way, 3637 N. Clark St.  

When: Friday, Nov. 15-March (weather permitting)

Cost: Free, event/activity pricing varies

Frosty’s Christmas Bar
Frosty’s Christmas Bar

Frosty’s Christmas Bar

Now through Jan. 5, Frosty’s Christmas Bar is popping back up for its third year, and it’s determined to turn any Scrooge into a festive holiday elf. Experience elaborate holiday decorations that will inspire your holiday décor, to the extreme. Featuring life size toy soldiers, Santa, and elves along with non-stop holiday music spinning until 4 a.m., this is the ultimate seasonal experience you won’t want to miss! With four bars, three levels and two dance floors, Frosty’s Christmas Bar takes your holiday celebration to the next level. More info. 

Where: Frosty’s Christmas Bar, 809 W. Evergreen Ave.  

When: now-Jan. 5

Cost: Varies

Lincoln Park ZooLights
Lincoln Park Zoo / Julia Fuller

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

The most wonderful time of the year deserves the most wonderful event of the year. For that, Lincoln Park Zoo invites you to join them in celebrating 25 years of ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. This one-of-a-kind, festive holiday experience offers a free, merry, family-oriented celebration of joy right in the heart of the city. ZooLights features hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities, all under the glow of 2.5 million lights. Ice sculpture carving, strolling carolers and Santa are regular fixtures of the event, but you'll also find ticketed happenings like a holiday market (Dec 3), an adults-only night (Dec 5), a live performance of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas (Dec 15) and a Zoo Year's Eve celebration (Dec 31). More info. 

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.

When: Fridays, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Jan. 5

Cost: Free

A 41-foot-tall Talking Tree near the north entrance greets guests to Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.
Chicago Zoological Society

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

More than one million lights cover the trees, fences and structures in the Brookfield Zoo at this annual holiday event. Attendees are encouraged to sing carols to the animals, explore the zoo's indoor exhibits and view light shows. This year, Holiday Magic will feature a Chicago Wolves skating rink, where visitors can slide around while admiring the decorations. More info. 

Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield

When: Saturday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Dec. 31

Cost: $22, children (3-11) $16

Lightscape at The Chicago Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy of The Chicago Botanic Garden


The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts a new display of festive lights, giving guests a host of shimmering reasons to visit the forest preserve during the holiday season. Set along a one-mile path, the night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light. At times, you’ll find yourself in the center of it all — stepping inside a cathedral of golden light, walking down an avenue of luminous linden trees, moving through colorful ribbons of light. More info. 

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe 

When: Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Jan. 5

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. Enjoy the display while strolling along a one-mile path and then warm up by a crackling fire with hot beverages and s’mores. More info.

Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte 53, Lisle 

When: Saturday, Nov. 23-Jan. 5, first entry at 4:30 p.m., last entry at 8:30

Cost: Varies

Skating in the Park
Village of Rosemont

Skating in the Park

Enjoy free ice skating during the holiday season as well as "Characters on Ice" every Sunday in December in Rosemont. More info. 

Where: Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Pl., Rosemont  

When: Friday, 4-10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Cost: Free, skate rentals $8

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls v. Charlotte Hornets

Head to the United Center on Friday to cheer on the Chicago Bulls as they take the court to play the Charlotte Hornets! More info.

Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Cost: Varies

United Center
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls v. Los Angeles Clippers

Head back to the United Center on Saturday to cheer on the Chicago Bulls as they take the court to play the Los Angeles Clippers! More info.

Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Cost: Varies

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks v. Minnesota Wild

Cheer on the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday when they take the ice to play the Minnesota Wild at the United Center! More info.

Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.

When: Sunday, 6 p.m.

Cost: Varies