Winter Breaks

So you are finally done with all your papers and want a cheap way to reward yourself before heading home, or you planned your winter travel badly and have a week to kill before you go home. Either way, it is a great opportunity to bundle up and see some of Chicago’s winter sights.

Ice skating

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

See the full list after the jump. . .


In Hyde Park you can go to the Museum of Science and Industry and still catch the Muppets or the Holidays of Light exhibits.

There is also skating on the Midway.

Heading downtown?

Sure it used to be Marshall Fields (and those who remember still resent the name change), but if you are not from Chicago you won’t know the difference -go and see the Macy’s holiday windows on State Street.


Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza

While you are there walk over to the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. They bring in real German vendors to set up a German Style Christmas market with black forest cuckoo clocks, potato pancakes and gluhwein you can drink from commemorative mugs. They square is decked out with, tree, menorah, creche, train and Santa so there is a little something for everyone.

Venturing further afield?

Chicago Botanic Garden also has a train and a Hanukkah Dinner on December 5.

Also for Hanukkah, there is Shalom Sesame celebrate with your favorite Sesame Street characters in Skokie!

Head to Devon Avenue where you can enjoy Indian food, vibrant shops and still find shops selling Challah.

DuSable Museum is screening The Black Candle a documentary that uses Kwanzaa to explore the African-American experience

The Swedish-American Museum in Andersonville is having a holiday market “julmarknad” and Lucia celebration.

Go look for the CTA’s holiday train which runs on various train lines through all Chicago neighborhoods until December 22.

Want something festive but not religiously tinged?

Zoo Lights

Lincoln Park Zoo is all lit up for “Zoo Lights.” See some animals and some pretty holiday lights. Redmoon Theatre runs their Winter Pageant through January 2.

Go ice skating.  You can skate at  the rink in Millennium Park at the McCormick Tribune ice rink.

Sappy traditionalist?

Sure there are any number of sing along versions of Handel’s Messiah but have you been to a Dance along Nutcracker? Free on December 5th at the Chicago Cultural Center.  You can also catch the Joffrey Nutcracker or the House Theatre Nutcracker which is bound to be wildly different and subversive.

Need another holiday classic?

There are bound to be some discounted tickets to The Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre if you are feeling just a bit Scrooge-ish.  It’s A Wonderful Life (the radio play complete with foley artists) is playing at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre just off the Fullerton el stop. Remmy Bumpo is doing a production of the classic A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. Search hottix for the cheap seats.

More music?

How about the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus Christmas Follies?

Catch caroling and “the bean” also known as cloud gate Fridays from 6:00-6:50 until December 17.

Artistically inclined?

Go and see the be-wreathed lions at the Art Institute and see the holiday decorated Thorne Miniature Rooms (caveat emptor: I  have seen the rooms and they aren’t all decorated but they are still fun to see) and the newly renovated Chagall America windows.

Rampant Consumerism more your holiday style?

Tthen shop the Magnificent Mile.  The Borders by the Water Tower is going out of business and everything is at least 30% off or you can go to the exhibit on Gold at the Field Museum.  As Sally Brown said, “All I want is my fair share.”

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