Chicago weekend events for kids


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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Wreathing of the Lions

The traditional ceremony of wreathing the Art Institute's lions takes place on the steps of the museum at 10 a.m. After the ceremony, visit the Ryan Education Center for a craft project inspired by the Neapolitan Crèche and holiday-decorated Thorne Miniature Rooms. Plus, meet the Art Institute's mascot, Artie the Lion.


Pixar in Concert

Includes music from 14 memorable Pixar films including Up, the Toy Story trilogy and its most recent, Monsters University. Performances are 8 p.m. Nov. 29 and 3 p.m. Nov. 30.



Leftover Science

Turn cranberries into chemistry, engage in fruitcake physics, and find out what happens to whipped cream when it’s dropped in liquid nitrogen. Bring the family and kick off the holiday season with extraordinary demos and festive arts and crafts.


Turkey Trot Hike

Families take a special post-holiday hike on the scenic Forest Preserve trails around Trailside Museum with a naturalist. Registration required. No strollers.



This free, family-oriented holiday celebration illuminates the sky with two million lights, including larger-than-life lighted animal and seasonal features, holiday crafts and activities, visits with Santa and sweet treats.


Wonderland Express

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.


The Fresh Beat Band Live in Concert Tour

The live concert comes to downtown Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 23 for two performances.  Showtimes are 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.


Family Fun Night

Includes performances by competitive skaters, raffles, discounts on skating programs, goodie bags and music provided by DJ George Marshall.


Country Christmas & Dessert with Santa

Decorate the Christmas tree, make crafts and enjoy the sights and sounds of a country Christmas at the Pioneer Log Cabin. Then take a walk to the Redfield Estate to enjoy refreshments, decorate cookies and visit with Santa. Event is held Nov. 30, Dec. 3-4.







Ringling Bros. presents Legends

All-new edition that unites iconic circus stars with living mythological creatures in a celebration of the legends that have captured imaginations for centuries. Performances are Nov. 6-16 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont and Nov. 19-30 at Chicago’s United Center. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson guides Paulo the Legend Seeker on his quest to discover real, living legends from around the world and presents Paulo’s fantastic discoveries to circus fans everywhere.



The Village of Rosemont officially rings in the holiday season on Nov. 28 with a tree lighting ceremony starting at 5:30 p.m., complete with an ice skating performance, free sleigh rides, Santa Claus appearance and more. Frozemont's centerpiece is the four-story “Polar Peak,” which will take visitors on a tubing thrill ride (Dec. 12-Jan. 19).The excitement continues at Polar Peak with Shovel Racing and a Sled Box Derby (Dec. 27-28). The "Skating in the Park" ice rink is open to the public for free (Nov. 28-March 1).Other winter festivities include the Winter Frost Face Off hockey series (Jan. 9-March 1).


Holiday Lights Tour

Festively named trolleys including Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, transport passengers through a lightly narrated 2 ½ hour tour showcasing the sparkling lights of The Magnificent Mile, the iconic Macy’s Holiday Windows, historic State Street and Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest. In addition, The Holiday Lights Tour makes stops at two of Chicago’s favorite holiday spectacles—the Christkindlmarket and Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights. Passengers will also enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and a cookie provided by Hershey’s Chocolate.


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