It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and truly it is a wonderful time to travel and see new things. We have a child who LOVES holiday lights. His first trip to Disney World the lights on Cinderella’s castle were the most magical thing to him. And 3 years later he still loves any opportunity to see lights!
I know its not quite Thanksgiving yet, but there are already plenty of ways to celebrate the season! Its tough to put them in order because I love them all but here is my top list of things to do…
10. Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker. I love the music of the Nutcracker, it just evokes memories of the holidays. That being said they changed the setting so its not quite the classic its always been. The Joffrey always does a wonderful job however so…
9. Goodman Theater’s Christmas Carol. Its a classic, they’ve been doing it for years so for many people it has become a Holiday tradition. If you’ve never seen it, definitely do.
8. Drury Lane Oakbrook’s Christmas Carol. They do a fantastic job but make it family friendly for all ages. They also offer a brunch with Santa. Its also in the western suburbs and they have a huge parking lot.
7. Holiday Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute The Art Institute kicks off the holidays with the wreathing of the Lions on the Friday after Thanksgiving but they keep it going with the Holiday Thorne rooms. The Thorne Miniatures are always worth a visit but now they showcase different holiday traditions from different eras and cultures. Every year they add 2-3 more rooms that are decorated.
6. Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo. This is the 38th year which is why I have many childhood memories of attending. This year there are over a million lights. Lots of decorated trees including community trees from schools (including my son’s) and corporate decorated tree. They also do caroling to the animals. Its great family fun and also in the suburbs.
5. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Saturday November 23rd. It’s a day long event capped off by a parade staring Mickey and Minnie Mouse which turns on all of the lights and then ends with Fireworks. Its beautiful, magical and extremely crowded! For those who want to avoid crowds the parade is usually broadcast on WGN tv as well.
4. Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo It’s beautiful, they have Santa, you can see the city skyline lite up. Its a wonderful family friendly event. There are various light shows throughout the event. Also as a bonus, there’s no cost to enter the Zoo, only for parking.
3. LightScape at the Botanic Gardens We got to go to a special member preview night of this new light display and its amazing!!! We all enjoyed different parts of it and would definitely recommend it. I have a feeling it will sell out so get your tickets now if you are interested. This is in the Norther Suburbs so its another nice, non-city option.
2. Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Merry Merry Chicago It this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit then nothing will. Its a mix of classical holiday music mixed with sing alongs to carols. Local choirs are featured and Santa himself usually makes a visit! Fun for the whole family!
1. Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry It started back in 1942 so its part of many locals holiday traditions. There are trees and displays representing different cultures and celebrations. Every weekend until Christmas they have different performances from local groups. So much to see and enjoy! Definitely family friendly!
There are so many other wonderful seasonal things to do in the area but these are some of my family’s favorites! What are your favorite traditions?