I know its only October, but the holidays are soon approaching and that means it is quite literally the most wonderful time of year in Chicago. November and December are filled with holiday lights, festivals, parades, and even a festive CTA commute. Here are some of the events I think are must-sees this holiday season.
Lincoln Park ZooLights
Even the zoo knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. Starting on November 24 and lasting until early January, the zoo transforms into a spectacular winter wonderland featuring millions of string lights. You can also find huge life-size snow globes, ice carving demonstrations, a carousel, and plenty of holiday crafts. (This is just down the street from campus and free!)
Skating at Millennium Park
The ultimate bucket list item in Chicago is to go skating under the bean at Millenium Park. The ice rink is usually ready by November 17 (weather permitting) and is open to the public completely free of charge. If you don’t have your own skates feel free to rent a pair for a small fee. More than 100,000 people glide their way across the rink during the holiday season; make sure you’re one of them.
CTA Holiday Train
For 25 years the CTA has been embracing the holiday spirit by decorating an entire el train with lights, bells, tinsel, and more. The train runs on different lines each day, and if you’re lucky enough you just might catch it.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Every year the BMO Harris Bank puts on a lights festival parade on Michigan Ave to officially start the holiday season. More than a million people make their way downtown to watch the parade that features enormous floats, balloons, a marching band, and music performers.
Germany comes to Chicago for the holiday with the historic Christkindlmarket. This holiday celebration brings European tradition to life here in the city. With unique holiday shopping, traditional German food and drink, and live entertainment, this is something you definitely don’t want to miss.