20 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Chicagoland This Weekend

Find the latest family events and activities to make it an awesome weekend.

Welcome December this weekend with lots to do in Chicagoland with kids! You can enjoy holiday activities, Hanukkah events and more. Plus, if you need a break from the holidays, check out the Dino and Dragon Stroll at Lake County Fairgrounds.  

With Illinois in Phase 5, you can bet that your favorite attractions are back and there are plenty of events to enjoy. We’ve rounded up our favorite family-friendly events, activities and even date nights to check out this weekend.

Remember that if you’re leaving the house, be sure to wear a face covering indoors and heed social distancing requirements. Stay safe and have a great weekend!

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 safety precautions and any last-minute cancellations.


Photo Credit: Stoptime Live

The city and suburbs continue to offer excellent options for family-friendly events. We picked some of our favorites going on this weekend below. Find even more events on our calendar.

Holiday Lights in Homewood

Dec. 3, 2021

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

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Begins Dec. 4, 2021

Journey to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair with Christopher Wheeldon’s holiday masterpiece. Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the iconic Statue of the Republic. As they prepare for their annual holiday celebration, a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario sets off a Christmas Eve dream of whirlwind romance and adventure.

Roselle Winterfest

Dec. 4, 2021

Join the village of Roselle and the Roselle Public Library District along Main Street in Roselle’s Town Center and at the Roselle Public Library. Festivities include strolling carolers, food trucks, ice sculptures and more.

Hyde Park Holly-Day

Dec. 4, 2021

Enjoy outdoor ice carving demonstrations, take an ice sculpture stroll, meet two live reindeer, hang out with Buddy the Elf and get a free family photo.

Tinley Toyland Parade

Dec. 4, 2021

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 people of any age to be donated to a local charity. Parade begins at 175th Street and follows to Zabrocki Plaza.

Annual Winterfest + Cookie Walk in Downtown Oak Park

Dec. 4, 2021

Enjoy free hot cocoa, take a photo with St. Nick, enjoy family-friendly music and entertainment and participate in the cookie walk. Update: Cookie Walk tickets are sold out but you can still enjoy other activities.

Hometown Holiday in Lemont

Dec. 4, 2021

The village of Lemont is gearing up for the holidays with a festive event. Get started with your holiday shopping at local stores open later and a Kris Kringle Market. Children’s activities include Santa visits, carnival rides, face painting and more.

Dino and Dragon Stroll

Dec. 4-5, 2021

Travel back in time to the Mesozoic Era and roam with more than 75 life-like dinosaurs at the Dino Stroll touring across the country. Guests can introduce selfies to these animatronic dinosaurs as they move their heads and wings, blink their eyes and spray water. Also, become a paleontologist and study skeletons, fossils and dinosaur eggs.

8th Night 8th Light

Dec. 5, 2021

A community-wide celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, in partnership with JCC Chicago. At sundown, the seven candles on the menorah will be lit and guests are encouraged to ice skate and enjoy DJ entertainment with music, dancing and trivia. Light sticks will be passed out in the final hour of the event.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Through Dec. 12, 2021

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. A pre-recorded performance will also be available online so you can still enjoy the show from home.

Around town

Photo Credit: Santa Suite

Spend the weekend exploring Chicagoland with your family with these ideas. Find more things to do on our website.

  • Santa Claus has arrived in Chicagoland! We rounded up our favorite Santa experiences to make the moment special for kids.
  • There are so many holiday light shows for families this year. Get your tickets early because some of these attractions are selling out fast.
  • Ready to re-introduce theater to your kids again? Here are the best family-friendly performances to see. 
  • The CTA Holiday Train and Bus are welcoming riders for the first time in two years. Check out the 2021 schedule.

At-home fun

Photos courtesy of Amazon

Spend the weekend exploring Chicagoland with your family with these ideas. Find more things to do on our website.

  • Celebrate the Festival of Lights with these Hanukkah children’s books, one for each night.
  • If your kids are fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, check out the all-new animated version streaming Dec. 3 on Disney+.
  • Winter is basically here, so make the chilly season a bit brighter with this DIY door wreath. Kids can help out with this activity, too!

Parents only

Photo Credit: One of a Kind Holiday Show

Treat yourself to a night out! Consider these ideas for a date night or a day out with friends.

  • Finish up your holiday shopping The One of a Kind Holiday Show at Merchandise Mart featuring hundreds of artists on Dec. 2-5. 
  • Enjoy latkes, boozy jelly doughnuts, matzo ball soup and more at 8 Crazy Nights, a Hanukkah pop-up bar at Graystone Tavern.
  • Get ready for some holiday bar fun with the Elf Invasion Pub Crawl on Dec. 4 in Highwood.

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