There's a lot going on in this world-class city we live in, and the options can be overwhelming. So every week, we'll pick our not-to-miss events. Chances are, you'll see us there, kids in tow. If none of these suit your schedule, browse our full calendar to find events near you.
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Dressed in his signature red suit, Santa will roam around Skydeck Chicago so visitors can take pictures with him.
The traditional holiday aquatic show returns, with a new twist. The Shedd-themed, multi-species show features your favorite marine mammals. Set among the twinkling lights in the Abbott Oceanarium, Pacific white-sided dolphins leap, beluga whales breach and sea lions and penguins saunter, showcasing their natural behaviors set to a celebratory soundtrack from around the world.
Enjoy indoor and outdoor lighted displays, designer wreaths and trees, and Garden-scale trains that wind their way over bridges and through tunnels, and past more than 80 miniature versions of Chicago landmarks, all handcrafted with natural materials.
Throughout the month of December, young brick fans are invited to play special seasonal games and deck the halls with loads of brick-tastic holiday fun. Festivities include a stroll through winter-themed MINILAND decked out with snowmen and hundreds of holiday-themed minifigures, make a LegoGingerbread House in the Master Builder Academy, snap a festive photo with the Center’s life-sized Santa and Snowman LEGO models in Santa’s Grotto, take a festive factory tour and take part in creative building challenges.
Enjoy sky-high views of the city lights and frosty lakefront from the 360 CHICAGO floor. Then, say hello to Santa, who will help spread holiday cheer every weekend and Christmas Eve (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). Photos with Santa will be complimentary for 360 CHICAGO guests. Other special gifts will include a complimentary one-day Child pass to the Shedd Aquarium and kids will TILT for free every Wednesday.
Prepare for the holiday season by creating their own gifts for friends and family at a "green gifting" camp. All crafts will be environmentally friendly and inspired by some of our popular exhibits.
Guests receive 30 percent off their entire breakfast bill. The one and only Mr. Claus will pose for photos with kids, and paparazzi, and each family will leave with something special. Families should bring their own camera.
Chicago’s own Aunt Holly tells lively stories and sings songs while families enjoy festive treats and create holiday art projects. Take home a complimentary family portrait and share wishes with Santa Claus.
Festive and traditional Swedish Christmas Smörgåsbord is catered by Tre Kronor. Includes julklappar (gifts) for children from Tomten, a Lucia procession, and dancing around the tree.
Includes bowling, a holiday dinner, live music with Tum Balalaika Band, Menorah lighting, latkas, dreidels, MiniChefs, holiday crafts, and more.
Take the ice with Santa Claus just days before Christmas.
Families enjoy activities and crafts including dreidel bounce, baby/toddler zone, face paint, make your own donut, Chanukah loom bracelets, duct tape crafts, wood etching, take a picture with Judah Maccabee, dreidel crafts, making cards for IDF soldiers, Chanukah gelt, live presentations and more. Catch the Olive Oil Press demo (11 a.m.), the Big Book Chanukah story hour (11:45 a.m.), and the movie screening (12:15 p.m.).