December in Chicago: Events Around Town

Updated: 12/21/17

Whether you are looking for activities to do with kids or for the adults We have you covered! There is plenty to do around town to celebrate, shop, and enjoy time with friends and family. There are ongoing events that you can enjoy such as Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier or the Wonderland Express at the Botanical Gardens. Check out the video and listings below!

December 30 - 31: DeRay Davis' Annual Funny & Famous Chi Town Comedy Countdown

Want a great laugh to kick-off the New Year? DeRay Davis presents the Second Annual Funny and Famous Comedy Countdown featuring: DeRay Davis, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Blackson, Lil Duval, Lil Rel and more. Tickets start at $59. 

NOW - December 24 - Music Box Christmas Show

Come sing along to holiday classics at the 34th Annual Music Box Christmas Show. Santa welcomes the audience, accompanied by Music Box organist Dennis Scott, and leads them in the singing of the most cherished Christmas carols of all time.

Now - January 1: Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum Holiday Lights

Illumination is an outdoor, one-mile walking tour on a winding path through 50 acres of The Morton Arboretum. Seating, warming/concession tents and fire pits are available along the route. See the beauty and grandeur of this light show. Tickets start at $10 for weekdays and the price varies by the day you wish to attend. 

Now – December 24: Christkindlmarket

The 22nd Annual Christkindlmarket will kick off November 17 and continue to Christmas Eve. This market is inspired by Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545. The market is reflective of many European traditions with Chicago flair. We also adore the commemorative mugs. This event is free to attend. 

Now - January 7: Winter WonderFest

This fun family event has a little something for everyone. You can grab a friend and go ice skating, or compete against one another in bumper cars. There will be inflatables for the kids and plenty of holiday cheer. This year, every ticket includes a ride on the Navy Pier Centennial Wheel. Tickets can be purchased in advance for a discounted rate here.

Now – January 7: Holiday Flower Show at Lincoln Conservatory

The Lincoln Park Conservatory will turn into a winter wonderland filled with poinsettias, trees, sparkling lights and a model train that travels through the plantings, all themed around the colors black and white.

Now – January 7: Wonderland Express

The Chicago Botanic Garden's annual holiday extravaganza delivers model trains, ice sculptures and more. Tickets start at $11 for adults and $8 for seniors and children. 


December 2: Oak Park Winter Fest + Cookie Walk

If you love holiday cookies this is the ultimate event for you. Participate in Downtown Oak Park’s annual Cookie Walk! A $20 participation fee includes a souvenir cookie tin and a map of over 45 participating shops and restaurants to collect a cookie or candy at each stop. You'll leave with a tin full of cookies and treats (if you don't eat them all before you get home). 

December 2: Paradigm Grey: A Black Science Fiction Anthology

Six Chicago filmmakers will display their sci-fi thriller works in a premiere event. Impakt Studio, SEI, 21H2, Brightseed Collab, Film Barrel Studios and Cassandra Bell Studios, along with Chicago-based talent, collaborated to present "Paradigm Grey: A Black Science Fiction Anthology."

December 7: BrewLights

The fourth annual BrewLights is presented by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. and the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo. This event features a dozen local craft, seasonal and international beers on tap throughout the zoo during ZooLights.

December 8 - 10, 23: Chicago Style Nutcracker 

This show will deliver a Chicago-style version of the holiday classic - The Nutcracker. There will be lots of music, singing and dancing but with a twist. Tickets are priced at $40. 

December 9: Twelve Bars of Christmas

The 22nd Annual Twelve Bars of Christmas Bar Crawl is expected to be epic. Put on your ugliest holiday sweater and hit the town. Single ticket admission is priced at $34.99, but if you grab a couple of friends you can snag tickets at a discounted rate. 

December 12: Sauced Night Market

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel will be hosting The Night Market Before Christmas. There will be over 50 food, art and retail vendors taking over the Tank and Stagg Court. There will also be a photo booth and DJ. Have a bit of fun and libations while doing your holiday shopping at this market. 

December 15 - 17: Con Alt Delete Anime Convention

C+A+D is bringing together anime fans. Fans of Hetalia, Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragon Ball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh, Lolita Fashion, Homestuck, My Little Pony, Sci-Fi and video games will all enjoy this event. This event will take place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont. Tickets are priced at $50 for a 3-day pass to the event. 

December 17: Hyde Park Handmade Artisan Bazaar Farmer's Market

Holiday shopping is made easy at this bazaar. Local handmade jewelry, beauty products and more will all be on sale at this event. Admission is free, and you can make the outing into a brunch date by venturing downstairs at The Promontory. 

December 16: Polar Adventure Day

Want to meet a Siberian husky? Check out Polar Adventures at Northerly Island. This event is a wintery retreat right here in Chicago. Travel the island on snowshoes while sipping hot cocoa and seeing wildlife. Best of all the event is free!

- December 17: Barney the Elf

The Greenhouse Theatre presents Barney the Elf. This musical parody of the movie Elf depicts the story of Santa Claus's wicked son taking over the North Pole after he retires. Barney the Elf is forced out and starts a journey of self-discovery leading him to Chicago's hottest drag bars.

December 20: Social Works Presents: A Night at The Museum

SocialWorks, Chance the Rappers' non-profit organization will be taking over the Field Museum. This event will feature The Chicago Bulls, Tiesta Tea, The Chicago Children's Choir, Frost Lighting, Oak Mill Bakery, Afri-Ware Bookstore, Community Christian Church, State Backpacks, The Discovery Squad and so much more can be expected! Guest are encouraged to bring coats, hats, gloves, scarfs, and canned goods to help those in need. Tickets for the event are $15.