41 fun holiday events for kids in North/Northwest Suburbs

Celebrate the holidays in the North/Northwest Suburbs of Chicago with the whole family! Read some of our picks below and find the most updated list on our calendar. Don’t forget to check out other kid-friendly holiday events in the city, South Suburbs and Western Suburbs.


Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago


When: Nov. 8-Dec. 24


Where: Fashion Outlets of Chicago, 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont


Santa HQ invites families to experience the wonder of Santa’s workshop in the digital and social media age. In addition to a custom photo opportunity with Santa Claus, visitors can use the workshop’s magic mirror to transform into one of Santa’s elves. Guests can virtually change their elf’s outfits, receive customized “Magic Mirror” collector cards and more.


Christmas Town at Summerfield Zoo


When: Nov. 15-Dec. 24


Where: Summerfield Farm & Zoo, 3088 Flora Rd., Belvidere


Check out Santa’s Reindeer Barn with Santa’s entire sleigh team of reindeer, then visit with Santa Claus. Kids will earn a “stable elf” diploma and take part in baby reindeer flight school training sessions.




When: Nov. 22-Jan. 5


Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe


Along a mile-long path, the night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light. At times, you’ll find yourself in the center of it all — stepping inside a cathedral of golden light, walking down an avenue of luminous linden trees, moving through colorful ribbons of light.


A Christmas Carol


When: Nov. 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, Dec. 1, 6, 7 & 8


Where: Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., Woodstock


Join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through the Christmases of Past, Present, and Christmas Yet to Come with his ghostly guides. Let the merry Christmas carols, enchanting children, wonderful characters, and colorful costumes welcome you into the Christmas season.


Long Grove Holiday Festivities


When: Nov. 23-Dec. 23


Where: 308 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove


An old-fashioned celebration comes alive in a picture-perfect holiday setting! Victorian buildings trimmed in lights, a covered bridge and cobblestone walkways lined in luminaries in beautiful historic Long Grove. There will be costumed carolers, strolling musicians and Santa and Mrs. Claus on weekends. Free horse-drawn carriage rides on Sundays.


Brunch with Santa


When: Nov. 24-Dec. 22 (Sundays)


Where: The Clubhouse, 298 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook


Enjoy Sunday brunch while the little ones get their pictures taken with Santa Claus.


The Polar Express


When: Nov. 24-Dec. 29


Where: Fox River Trolley Museum, 361 S. LaFox Street, South Elgin


Chris Van Allsberg’s best-selling book comes alive, including a visit from Santa and a small present for all aboard. Trains board from the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve picnic grove, on Route 31. Advance purchase of tickets required. Copies of the book “The Polar Express” can be purchased for $18.


Light Up the Park Tree Lighting


When: Nov. 29


Where: Parkway Bank Park Entertainment District 5501 Park Place, Rosemont


The NHL-sized ice skating rink opens to the public for free ice skating at 11 a.m. Visitors can enjoy various holiday festivities throughout the day as part of “Light Up The Park” including visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ice carving, and free horse-drawn sleigh rides around the park.


Disney Junior Holiday Party On Tour


When: Nov. 29


Where: Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont


Disney Junior characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Vampirina and Bingo and Rolly from “Puppy Dog Pals” will live on stage to Disney Junior hits and other holiday classics. The show also includes a special appearance by characters from Disney Junior’s upcoming animated series, “T.O.T.S.” and culminates with a special visit from Santa Claus. Appropriate for ages 3-8.


Grinchy Green Science


When: Nov. 30


Where: Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main Street, Rockford


Dive into the holiday spirit with art and science activities during two days of festivities featuring green fizz, Grinch gunk, and tons of decorative tape. Squirt and swirl colors, design a Whoville hat, make a marble-ous game, and more.


North Pole Express


When: Nov. 30


Where: Glenview Metra Station, 1116 Depot St., Glenview


Take a voyage to the North Pole on the Metra Train. The train ride starts at the Glenview Metra station taken to Fox Lake and then back to Glenview. During the train ride, everyone is offered crafts and activity books. Upon arrival of the North Pole (Fox Lake), Santa Claus joins the North Pole Express to visit with every child.


Gingerbread Houses


When: Dec. 1-22, weekends


Where: Taste Buds Kitchen, 2521 Waukegan Rd., Bannockburn


Parent and child pairs work together to design and decorate their very own Gingerbread House. Enjoy the endless decorating options, from frosted candy roofs to pretzel picket fences, and cheerful holiday tunes while sipping hot chocolate. Recommended for children ages 2 and up.


Root Beers and Reindeer


When: Dec. 6


Where: Safety Park, 421 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg


Kids ages 1-7 will enjoy a scavenger hunt in Safety Park with root beer floats, treats, crafts and games. Dress for the weather. Bring a flashlight and a container or bag for collecting treats.


The Nutcracker


When: Dec. 6-8, 13-15


Where: Prairie Center for the Arts, 210 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg


Schaumburg Dance Ensemble’s vibrantly costumed and staged production of Tchaikovsky’s magical holiday ballet has enchanted audiences of all ages for nearly a quarter of a century.


Peanut Cracker


When: Dec. 7


Where: Lake Forest Academy, 1500 W. Kennedy Rd., Lake Forest


Dance showcase for the “pre-” classes at the North Shore School of Dance. Routines include dancers of Tapping Solidiers, Baby Snowflakes and Little Mice.


Breakfast with Santa


When: Dec. 7


Where: Chevy Chase Country Club, 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling


Enjoy a buffet breakfast while carolers entertain you and all children have the opportunity to meet with Santa and have photos taken with him. The event concludes with a performance by “Those Funny Little People.”


Holiday Bricktacular


When: Dec. 7-29


Where: Legoland Discovery Center, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg


Celebrate the holidays with themed builds, ornament building, photo opportunities with life-sized Lego Santa and snowman models and more. Kids also receive a free, exclusive holiday-themed factory Lego brick.


Christmas in the Valley


When: Dec. 7-8


Where: Spring Valley Nature Center & Heritage Farm, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg


Celebrate the holidays at Spring Valley’s Heritage Farm and Merkle Cabin. Activities include holiday treats and crafts.


The North Pole Holiday Spectacular


When: Dec. 7


Where: Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg


Activities include a 30-minute musical with Santa and his elves, music, games, face painting and cookie decorating. Families should bring their own cameras for a photo with Santa and his friends.


The Nutcracker


When: Dec. 7-8


Where: Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin


Students from Chicago Ballet Conservatory, along with professional dancers from around the world, perform the classic ballet. Audiences will be transported to a land of magic and mystery as they are treated a new twist on the holiday classic they know and love. Performances include live pre-show entertainment by The Chancel Choir of Chicago. This year will also include the option of a Sugar Plum Tea party at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, giving participants the chance to meet cast members, take pictures with characters and dine on sumptuous treats.


Wauconda Holiday Walk and Tree Lighting


When: Dec. 7


Where: Wauconda Park District, 600 N. Main St., Wauconda


Enjoy tree lighting, caroling, a parade, a gingerbread house contest, face painting, live music, sleigh rides and general merriment.


Duke It Out Nutcracker


When: Dec. 7


Where: Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston


This Nutcracker performance, curated by Dance Chicago, pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by professional brass and woodwind quintets.


Winter Wonder Walk


When: Dec. 7


Where: Robert W. Rolek Community Center, 814 Hart Road, Round Lake


The Winter Wonder Walk (formerly Holiday Festival) will take place both indoors and out. Bring your walking shoes and your camera for photos opportunities.


Santa’s Flight to Schaumburg


When: Dec. 8


Where: Schaumburg Regional Airport, 905 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg


Participants will wait for Santa in the airport hangar and have a buffet breakfast provided by Pilot Pete’s. Also features music, games and crafts.


Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker


When: Dec. 8


Where: Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont


Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, more than 200 dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets and soaring birds, don’t miss your chance to ring in the holidays with this acclaimed Christmas extravaganza.




When: Dec. 13-14


Where: Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford


Enjoy a walk on the candle-lit trail, a wagon ride through the prairie and live music, kids crafts and refreshments in the nature center.


Breakfast with Santa at Lambs Farm


When: Dec. 14, 15, 21, 22


Where: Lambs Farm, I-94 and Route 176, Libertyville


Kids will not only enjoy a delicious brunch and special visit with Santa, but they can also choose a holiday gift, make a picture frame, decorate a gingerbread man, create Sand Art ornaments and more. Reservations required.


Santa Visit at FireZone


When: Dec. 14


Where: FireZone, 1100 National Parkway, Schaumburg


Enjoy pictures with fire fighting Santa, holiday treats, crafts, a free Christmas fire helmet, a fire fighter gear demo and bring a toy to donate to the toy drive.


Brunch with the Grinch


When: Dec. 14


Where: Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg


Enjoy a ‘green-inspired’ brunch, games, crafts and a visit from the Grinch himself.


North Shore School of Dance: The Nutcracker


When: Dec. 14-15


Where: Lake Forest Academy, 1500 W. Kennedy Rd., Lake Forest


The story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince as they fight the Mice King and journey through the snow to the Land of Sweets, told by ballet dancers. A portion of the proceeds are donated to organizations and charity groups.


Ballet Makkai Nutcracker


When: Dec. 14-15


Where: Gorton Community CenterLake Forest400 E. Illinois Road


Join Clara at her party where she receives the gift of a lifetime, battles mice, travels through a Winter Wonderland and visits the Land of Sweets.


The Nutcracker


When: Dec. 14-15


Where: Elgin Community College Visual & Performing Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin


The holiday performance features Anima Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, professional dancers and actors from around the world and our inclusive program for children with special needs.


Holiday Tea at The Grove


When: Dec. 15


Where: The Grove, 1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview


Relax in the setting of the Historic Kennicott House, enjoying the company of friends, a comforting cup of tea and a three-course “high tea” menu of sandwiches, scones, and sweets.


Tidings of Tap!


When: Dec. 15


Where: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie


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.


Jewish Holidays 101: Hanukkah Storytime – These Little Lights of Mine (Deerfield)


When: Dec. 17


Where: Barnes & Noble Deerfield, 728 N. Waukegan Road, Deerfield


Learn about the Jewish holidays with stories, songs, and activities especially for children ages 0-2 (with a parent or caregiver). Older siblings are welcome. Resources for celebrating the holidays in your home will be provided.


Holiday House Decorating Tour


When: Dec. 17


Where: Community Recreation Center, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg


Travel around Schaumburg to see the sights and lights of houses decorated for the holidays. Serve as a judge for the Holiday House Decorating Contest.


Jewish Holidays 101: Hanukkah Storytime – These Little Lights of Mine (Vernon Hills) 


When: Dec. 18


Where: Barnes & Noble Mellody Farm, 901 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills


Learn about the Jewish holidays with stories, songs, and activities especially for children ages 0-2 (with a parent or caregiver). Older siblings are welcome. Resources for celebrating the holidays in your home will be provided.


The Elf On The Shelf-A Christmas Musical


When: Dec. 20


Where: Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan


This all-new musical and stage production includes an exclusive invitation to Santa’s North Pole and engages audiences with a glimpse into the magical lives of Scout Elves. Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and wondrous moments that make even the most cynical believe, this momentous celebration of the season leaves spirits high and captivates all with the splendor of Christmas.


Chicago Holiday Princess Ball


When: Dec. 21


Where: Chicago Marriott Northwest, 4800 Hoffman Blvd., Hoffman Estates


Dream Parties brings all new stage performances, dancing, stories, picture opportunities and more for some magical entertainment. Little ones ages 3-7 can participate in princess games, story time sing along, learn some ballroom dance moves and more. Princesses expected to attend include: Cinderella, Tower Princess, Beauty, Snow Sisters, Mermaid Princess, Sleeping Princess, Snow White, Arabian Princess, Frog Princess and more.


Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”


When: Dec. 21-22


Where: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie


An affordable full-length holiday production performed in the grand Russian style by a professional company with incredible guest soloists.


Holiday Hoopla


When: Dec. 26-30


Where: Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford


Pick up a hammer or grab a screwdriver and get the imagination in gear. Construct using recycled materials, and take what is made from bird feeders and toys to decorations and musical instruments! Then have a blast building with Lego, cardboard, wire, and foam.


Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories


When: Dec. 30


Where: Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont


The multi-sensory extravaganza of music and staging will highlight the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s roots in “Christmas Eve and Other Stories.” Following favorite TSO themes of “strangers helping strangers” and “the kindness of others,” “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” takes listeners all over the world to help reunite a young girl with her distraught father. The album and tour feature such fan-favorites as “Ornament” and the epic “Old City Bar,” both of which have not been performed live in recent years.



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This article originally published on ChicagoParent.com on Nov. 19, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information.


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