20 fun holiday events for kids in South Suburbs


Celebrate the holidays in the South Suburbs 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, North/Northwest Suburbs and Western Suburbs.

‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home


When: Nov. 9-Dec. 31


Where: Indiana Welcome Center I-80/94 & Kennedy Ave., Hammond, Indiana


Visitors to the Indiana Welcome Center are welcome to relive favorite childhood memories of in anticipation of Christmas as they gaze at animated window displays depicting scenes from the holiday movie classic.


Jingle Mingle


When: Nov. 15


Where: Burr Ridge Village Center, 701 Village Center Drive, Burr Ridge


Kick off the holidays with giveaways, train rides, crafts, letters to the military and a tree lighting.


Light Up The Park


When: Nov. 19


Where: Apollo Recreation Center, 12521 South Kostner Avenue, Alsip


Join Mrs. Claus, Prairie Jr. High Band and Choir and the preschool class in celebration of the holiday season. After the outdoor oooh-ing and ahhh-ing at the lit tree, head into the warm gymnasium for carols, cookies, and cocoa.


Holiday Tree Lighting at Lake Katherine


When: Nov. 29


Where: Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, 7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights


Activities include a visit with Santa Claus, real reindeer, crafts, face painting and story time, plus hot chocolate and cookies.



Home for the Holidays at the Rialto


When: Nov. 25-Dec. 23


Where: Rialto Square Theatre 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet


Festivities include holiday movies, concerts and plays, including a Teddy Bear Tea on Nov. 29; a showing of the movie “The Polar Express” at 2 p.m. on Nov. 30; “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the musical at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11 and a showing of the 1947 version of “Miracle on 34th Street” at 11 a.m. on Dec. 14. The season kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25 with “A Very Rialto Christmas,” a family concert for the family.


Light Up the Holidays Festival & Parade


When: Nov. 29


Where: Chicago street between Van Buren and Jackson, Joliet


There will be family activities at several locations including a tree lighting ceremony, parade, museum free day, ice carving, craft activities and musical performances. Tree lighting ceremony begins at 5:15 p.m.


Chicago Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker


When: Dec. 1


Where: Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet


The magical production features lavish costumes, exquisite sets, including a Christmas tree that grows before your eyes, and choreography that takes the audience through the land of whirling snowflakes and a visit to the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy.


Holiday Lights in Homewood


When: Dec. 6


Where: Holiday Lights in Homewood, Downtown Homewood, Homewood


Watch Santa flip the switch for the annual tree lighting ceremony. Throughout the downtown, costumed characters and carolers spread holiday cheer and follow a parade of brightly, decorated antique cars to Hickory Road and watch live ice sculpting demos, take photos with Santa, hot cocoa, bonfire, and holiday music.


Kris Kringle Market


When: Dec. 6-7


Where: Municipal Parking Lot, 12217 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights


Children’s activities and holiday crafts are included as well as a visit from Santa. Crafters and vendors will sell their wares in time for the holidays inside a heated tent.


Holiday Happenings in Downtown Tinley Park


When: Dec. 6-8


Where: Oak Park Avenue Train Station, 6700 South Street, Tinley Park


Featuring live entertainment, specialty vendors, kids’ crafts and activities, and food. Enjoy tree lighting ceremony, parades, carriage rides, movies and carnival rides. Visit website for schedule of events.


Christmastime in Palos


When: Dec. 7


Where: Palos Heights Library, 12501 S. 71st Ave., Palos Heights


Enjoy heartwarming readings, a live performance by the Stagg High School Madrigal Singers, Community Sing-Along, Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt, children’s crafts and games and much more including a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus.


Tinley Toyland Parade


When: Dec. 7


Where: Zabrocki Plaza, 17375 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park


The Tinley Toyland Parade celebrates the official arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will visit the Oak Park Avenue train station immediately following the conclusion of the parade. Children are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift for persons of any age, to be donated to a local charity. Parade begins at 175th Street and follows to Zabrocki Plaza.


Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”


When: Dec. 7


Where: Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park


A magical tale featuring Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score, a brand new set & costumes – along with waltzing flowers, giant mice, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Plus, take photos with Santa at 3 p.m.


Tree Lighting Ceremony Evergreen Park


When: Dec. 7


Where: Klein Park, 97th & Homan, Evergreen Park


Gather with family & friends to welcome the spirit of the Christmas season. Fun includes “Sounds of Christmas,” Those Funny Little People and the tree lighting ceremony.


Parade of Lights


When: Dec. 8


Where: 177th Street, Tinley Park


The Parade of Lights will march north down Oak Park Avenue from 177th Street to the Subway parking lot. The parade includes festive floats, vehicles, local businesses, community groups and school bands displaying the spirit of the season. A few very special guests from the North Pole will be making an appearance!


Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt


When: Dec. 11


Where: Alsip Park District, 12521 S. Kostner Ave., Alsip


Hundreds of candy canes will be hidden, just waiting for participants to find them. If weather permits, the hunt will be outdoors on the playground at the Apollo Recreation Center. In case of inclement weather, the hunt will be inside, throughout the recreation center. In addition to the regular candy canes, there will be three special candy canes that will lead to an extra special treat. After hunt we will have hot chocolate and cookies inside. Hunt begins at 6 p.m.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical


When: Dec. 11


Where: Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet


The story tells the tale of a young Rudolph who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is ousted from the reindeer games in Christmas-town. He flees town, meets up with new friends Hermey and Yukon, and a series of funny and endearing adventures ensue including a visit to The Island of Misfit Toys.


Breakfast with Santa


When: Dec. 14


Where: Apollo Recreation Center, 12521 South Kostner Avenue, Alsip


Enjoy a buffet breakfast with the big man himself: Santa Claus. In addition to an array of breakfast foods, juices, coffee and bakery, there will be a Christmas craft and face painter. Santa will stick around for photos and each child will receive a gift.


Waddles Winter Wonderland


When: Dec. 14


Where: Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Department, 6601 W. 127th St., Palos Heights


Children age 12 & under will enjoy holiday games, decorate cookies, make holiday decorations and more. Holiday entertainment will include a visit by Santa Claus. Bring a toy to donate in lieu of admission.


Beyond the Nutcracker


When: Dec. 21-22


Where: Lincoln-Way West High School, 21701 S. Gougar Road, New Lenox


Beyond the Nutcracker mirrors many aspects of the traditional Nutcracker ballet, including Tchaikovsky’s renowned score, the classic Christmas party, and the second-act divertissements that highlight countries around the world. It also invites reflection on the story of the first Christmas – the Nativity – and its impact on our world today.


RELATED: Where to see ‘The Nutcracker’ in Chicago


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This story was originally issued Nov. 19, 2018 at ChicagoParent.com. It has been updated with the most recent information.


Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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