Fun things to do with kids this weekend in Chicago


Looking for something to do with your kids this weekend? We've got your back. Here are our favorite events in Chicago and the suburbs, guaranteed to keep you from going stir-crazy. If none of these fit your busy schedule, be sure to browse our full calendar to find dozens of other 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.


Caroling at Cloud Gate-Millennium Park

Hear a variety of choral groups and join them in a holiday sing-along at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Runs Fridays from Nov. 27-Dec. 18.


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.



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.



The NHL-sized ice skating rink opens to the public for free ice skating on Nov. 27, followed by skating appearances and photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ice carving and free horse-drawn sleigh rides throughout the afternoon and evening. The “Light Up the Park” tree lighting ceremony in MB Financial Park starts at 5:30 p.m., with sleigh rides, ice carving, performances, open skate and time with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Ice skating is free, with skate rentals available for $8. The ice rink will be open every day from Nov. 27-Jan. 2 and Sundays only Jan. 3-Feb. 28. Polar Peak returns on Dec. 11 and runs through Jan. 31. The hill will be two stories this year to better accommodate weather conditions. Tickets start at $3 per run.


Festival of Lights

20,000 twinkling lights and hand-decorated trees transform Cosley Zoo into a fairy tale winter wonderland. Visit the animals and purchase a cup of hot chocolate, your tree, wreath, and holiday gifts. Runs daily Nov. 27-Dec. 30.



Holiday Sweets

Learn how to make bright, colorful hard candies, and take home recipes to start your own holiday tradition.


Family Day/Open House

Visit the animals, enjoy wildlife lectures and take a tour of the facility. Includes food, drinks, gift shop, music, and fun. See wolves, cougars, bears, coyotes, woodchucks, raccoons, skunks, porcupines and more.


West Town Winterfest

The event takes place in conjunction with Small Business Saturday. Families are invited to shop for the holidays in chauffeured style.  Several “Jolly Trolleys” will run throughout the weekend, offering festgoers curated Shopping Tours. The 3-hour tours each feature six Shop Stops at different retail businesses throughout West Town and one Hospitality Stop at a local restaurant or bar mid-tour to sample holiday treats and drinks.


A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter & Friends

The stories of Helen Beatrix Potter, featuring iconic animal characters like Peter Rabbit, are told through an interactive, four-dimensional winter fairytale. Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19.


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.







Hands-on Hanukkah

Take a photo with Danny the Dreidel, see how many dreidels you can get spinning at once, sample gourmet olive oils courtesy of Williams-Sonoma, enter the free raffle for a Mensch on a Bench and more.


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