14 Holiday Events for Chicagoland Kids

Celebrate the holidays in Chicagoland with the whole family. This December, there are a lot of holiday memories you can still enjoy. These are some of our favorite picks including virtual and in-person events. Make sure to check the most updated list on our calendar!

Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on ticket availability, safety precautions and any last-minute closings. Stay safe! 

Virtual Events

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light Live Tours

When: Dec. 4, 11, 18, 24

Hosted By: Museum of Science & Industry

Families missing their annual trip to the Museum of Science & Industry to see the Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light trees can explore the exhibit and the stories behind the trees from home. Join MSI’s Manager of Volunteer Projects, Kristina Wilkes for a 45-minute live tour of the exhibit.

Online Family Art Workshop: Seasonal Nature Card Making

When: Dec. 5

Hosted By: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Join scientific illustrator Alex Boersma for a seasonal card making workshop for the whole family. Utilizing specimens from the Nature Museum’s very own preserved collections Alex will guide kids and parents in designing beautiful “pocket purse” holiday cards featuring our favorite winter animals.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

When: Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20

Hosted By: Strawdog Theatre Company

This new stage adaptation of the classic children’s holiday book. Music will help tell the fantastical story of Hershel of Ostropol defeating a series of goblins over the eight days of Hanukkah. Each virtual performance will be performed live. At the end of the run, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

Tidings of Tap!

When: Dec. 18-20

Hosted By: Chicago Tap Theatre

A warm and wondrous celebration of tap dance and the winter holidays, celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and the winter season. While audiences hear many of their favorite seasonal tunes, they also experience an array of performances and an opportunity for local tap performers to join the holiday production. This virtual stream of the 2019 performance is available for 36 hours.

Virtual Story Time with Santa

When: Dec. 20

Hosted By: Lincoln Park Zoo

Join Lincoln Park Zoo and Santa to celebrate the most joyous time of the year. Held over Zoom, this virtual program will kick off with the jolly man reading “The Mitten” by Jan Brett, as well as “Bear Stays Up for Christmas” by Karma Wilson. At the end of the program, kids will meet a Lincoln Park Zoo animal and receive a special, inside look at its habitat.

Kwanzaa Crafts

When: Dec. 23

Hosted By: North Austin Branch, Chicago Public Library

Celebrate Kwanzaa with North Austin, learn about the holiday and make festive crafts on Zoom. Participants can pick up craft kits from North Austin in advance. This program is recommended for children ages 6 and up.

Goodman Theatre: A Christmas Carol Virtual Radio Play

When: Through Dec. 31

Hosted By: Goodman Theatre

Join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through his past, present and future to discover the importance of friendship and love—with plenty of jubilant musical numbers, spectacular costumes and hilarious “Bah Humbugs!” along the way. In 2020, experience the perennial delight of Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol anew with the audio streaming version. The voices you love—including Larry Yando as Scrooge—and the signature soundscape come to vivid life in your home.

In-Person Events

Photos with Santa at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

When: Dec. 2-6, Dec. 8-23, Dec. 24

Where: 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago is bringing a contactless Santa experience this year. Santa and his visitors will be wearing masks while keeping a safe distance from each other. The photo area will be clean between guest visits as well. A variety of photo packages are available for the experience including a mailbox to drop off your letters to Santa.

Luft Balloons’ Santa Wonderland Outpost

When: Dec. 3-6, 10-13, 17-23

Where: Luft Balloons, 345 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago

To bring holiday fun and cheer to Chicago, Luft Balloons has created an over-the-top Santa Wonderland Outpost out of more than 2,500 balloons and is inviting guests of all ages to visit, take photos, and experience the magic of the holidays during the month of December. “Santa” will appear only in balloon form this year due to COVID-19.

Choose Your Own Chanukah Adventure

When: Dec. 10-17 (Pick-up dates)

Where: Pickup kits at Lubavitch Chabad of Skokie, 4059 Dempster Street, Skokie

Lubavitch Chabad of Skokie will give you the supplies and instructions for activities. Visit each public Menorah location listed for an exciting activity or craft. Follow the map to choose how you play. You can visit all the stops in one day, or pick one activity and stop per day, you can go in any order you choose and at any time.

Music Box Christmas at the Drive-In

When: Dec. 11-13, 18-20, 23-24

Where: Chi-Town Movies Drive-In, 2343 S Throop St., Chicago

For 2020, the Music Box Christmas Shows will be shifting venues from the Music Box Theatre to the Chi-Town Movies Drive-In for four screenings each of It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas. Come enjoy these classic Christmas films plus a prerecorded version of their Christmas Sing-A-Long, complete with Santa, House Organist Dennis Scott, and Music Box Carolers all from the comfort of your car.

Illumination: Tree Lights

When: Through Jan. 3

Where: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle

Illumination is a reimagined driving experience featuring new displays, a customized music soundtrack and returning favorites. Guests will remain in their cars and tune to a synced musical soundtrack via radio while driving nearly two miles among the Arboretum’s majestic trees. In prior years, the exhibition was along a one-mile walking path. Additional tickets are added on Mondays.

Holiday Art on theMART

When: Through Dec. 30

Where: The Jetty — Chicago Riverwalk, Wacker Drive and the south bank of the Chicago River from Franklin Street to Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Just in time to celebrate the holidays, The Joffrey Ballet will debut a moving-image work of art featuring production images from its acclaimed production of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker set to music from Tchaikovsky’s beloved score; the Art Institute of Chicago will present images from two of its current exhibitions, Monet and Chicago, and Bisa Butler: Portraits; and Arts of Life.

Six Flags Holiday in the Park Lights

When: Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27

Where: Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee

Walk through more than 2 1/2 million dazzling holiday lights that are spread throughout the 300 acres of Six Flags Great America. Timed and staggered ticking will encourage social distancing and socially distanced photo opportunities with costumed characters will be available. Watch out for seasonal treats and surprises.


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