Holiday Magic in Chicago

chicago_picasso_christmas_tree

Come one, come all.The holiday season has arrived!This year, Chicago is over flowing with holiday magiclike special exhibits atlocal museumsandpopular annual traditions like the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival andChristkindlmarket at Daley Plaza.So gather your loved ones, and spread some holiday cheer!

ANNUAL TRADITIONS

Michigan Avenue: The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® presented by Harris

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Admission Free!

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® presented by Harris kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 11 a.m. with a day full of musical performances on the Harris Stage. The day culminates with a magical procession down North Michigan Avenue led by Mickey Mouse and his friends from Walt Disney World® Resorts in Florida. The parade, which starts at 5:30pm, is followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the Chicago River.Enjoy a host of holiday experiences and shopping along The Magnificent Mile in Chicago throughout the holiday season.

DaleyPlaza: Christkindlmarket Chicago

Thursday, November 25, 2010 through December 24, 2010

Opens daily 11a.m.; Closing hours Sunday through Thursday 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9 p.m. (Closes at 4 p.m. on November 25th and December 24th)

Admission Free!

Watch as DaleyPlaza is transformed into a little piece of Germany, known as the Christkindlmarket Chicago. At the Plaza, visitors will find Chicago‘s iconic Picasso sculpture surrounded by red and white crested huts glowing with warmth and overflowing with curios. Nutcrackers, cuckoo-clocks, beer steins, European chocolates, toys, jewelry, clothing and a wide variety of holiday ornaments are just a few of the items for sale from more than 50 vendor booths.

DaleyPlaza: Chicago Christmas Tree and Lighting Ceremony

Ceremony on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.

Admission Free!

Presented by The City of Chicago and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) the 97th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a highly-anticipated event drawing people of all ages to the heart of Chicago‘s downtown Loop. Musical performances and festive holiday music begin at 4:30 p.m. and the holiday season officially commences at 5:00 p.m., when the switch is flipped and the lights begin to dazzle in Daley Plaza.The tree will be on display in the plaza from Thanksgiving through New Years as a sign of the city’s holiday spirit.

MillenniumPark: Caroling at Cloud Gate

Fridays, November 26–December 17, 2010, 6 PM

Admission Free!

Chicago‘s holiday tradition returns on Friday nights throughout the holiday season. Chicagoans and visitors alike are invited to Cloud Gate to hear the beautiful voices of different Chicago choral groups and participate in a holiday sing-along.After the holiday sing-along (approximately 50 minutes), everyone is encouraged to skate at MillenniumPark‘s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.

Navy Pier: Winter Wonderfest

Friday,December 3, 2010 through Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Admission Free, wristbands required to participate in rides and attractions ($16-19)

Navy Pier’s annual holiday extravaganza returns for its eighth magical year. This holiday tradition features more than 750,000 holiday ornaments, hundreds of decorated trees, an indoor Ferris wheel, Musical Carousel, NorthPoleE-WishCenter, Large-Scale Inflatable Games and Giant Slides, Winter WonderStage, Carolers, and more!

City Hall Concert Series: Young Voices Deck “The Hall”

Wednesday December 1st through Friday, December 17, 2010, 12-1 p.m.

Admission Free!

Get into the holiday spirit while listening to the classics sung by children’s choirs from throughout the city. The City Hall Holiday Concert Series begins Wednesday December 1 and runs through Friday, December 17 with concerts every weekday from noon to 1 p.m. The concerts will take place in the lobby of City Hall (121 N. LaSalle) near the LaSalle Street entrance. The series exhibits the talents of children from all over Chicago and warms the hearts of the audience.

Mayor Daley’s Sports Festival

December 18 and December 19, 2010, 10 am – 4 pm

McCormick Place in Halls A & B

Admission Free!

Highlights of the annual Chicago Sports Festival include interactive zones featuring trampolines, golf, climbing walls, football, chess, obstacle course, tot’s zone, bowling, table tennis, inflatable tumbling, tennis, badminton, boxing, a pitching zone, fishing ponds, footbag, giant slide, 40-Yard dash, skateboarding area, wrestling, and open courts for volleyball and basketball. The Halftime Stage features special performances and demonstrations from 12 – 4 each day.

Breakfast with Santa at John Hancock Observatory
December 4, 5, 11, 12 18 and 19, 2010

Adults $39, Youth $29, Infant $19

Experience a magical holiday high more than 1,000 feet in the air as you enjoy breakfast in our award-winning Lavazza Espression cafe.And, make sure to get your picture taken with Santa while you are here.Even though we’ve added another weekend, the spots at this great event fill up fast!50% non-refundable deposit due at time of booking.

Do-Division Holiday Walk

Saturday, December 4, 2010, 11 a.m.

Admission Free!

The shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars of trendy West Division between Milwaukee and Leavitt rock the holiday cheer on Saturday, December 5th at the annual Do-Division Holiday event.Beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the evening, those who make the trek along this holiday trail can enjoy decked out Division Street merchants – boasting incredible deals on everything from designer duds to renowned cuisine.A family-friendly occasion, the Do-Division Holiday event is a fun way for Chicago residents and visitors alike to become acquainted with a distinctive corridor of Chicago filled with unique and independent businesses that are matchless in charm.The street charged with the warmth of the holidays, as seasonal activities like a FREE horse-drawn carriage ride (from Ashland to Leavitt) help revelers get into the spirit.

SHOPPING EVENTS

66 East Randolph Street: Chicago‘s Downtown Farmstand

Mondays – Fridays, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand offers edible local products, all produced within 250 miles of Chicago, including fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in season; a full range of condiments, preserves, seasonings and other dry goods items; baked goods and seasonal items as available. The Farmstand is the perfect place to find locally produced holiday gifts, and to buy ingredients for preparing holiday meals.

Chicago Cultural Center: Glitter

Tuesday, November 30& Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Admission Free

Discover the best gifts for the holidays when Chicago designers and boutiques celebrate the season at Glitter: A Holiday Shopping Event.Extended to two days, shop special holiday items, sales, and original fashions from local designers and boutiquesat the ChicagoCulturalCenter. This event is the perfect place to find unique merchandise for everyone on your holiday shopping list. chicago_christmas_card

Holiday Shopping in Chicago Neighborhoods

There’s no better place for holiday shopping than in Chicago‘s neighborhoods! Division Street and the Southport Corridor are home to specialty shops that carry the work of independent and Chicago-based designers. In the Lincoln Park neighborhood, shop along Lincoln Avenue, Clark Street, Armitage Avenue or Halsted Street, or venture further north to the Lakeview neighborhood (along Clark Street, Belmont Avenue or Broadway) for a wide variety of shopping alternatives. In recent years, cutting-edge national stores like Anthropologie, Marc Jacobs and Cynthia Rowley have opened shops in these neighborhoods. Visit www.chicagofashionresource.com for more information on Chicago shopping excursions.

MUSEUM AND ZOO HIGHLIGHTS

Museum of Science and Industry: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Thursday, Nov 18, 2010Sunday, January 9, 2011, 9:30 – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday

The museum will be closed Christmas Day, December 25th.

Don’t miss the Museum of Science and Industry’s time-honored celebration, Christmas Around the World. The exhibition includes more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers from Chicago‘s ethnic communities to reflect holiday traditions from around the globe. Holidays of Light, a multicultural display of holiday traditions that celebrate light or enlightenment, such as Diwali and Hanukkah, also illuminates the Museum’s halls during this time.

Lincoln Park Zoo: Zoo Lights

Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights beginning November 26, 2009. Nightly December 17, 2010January 2, 2011 (closed Dec. 24 & 25), 5-9 p.m.

Admission Free!

Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a dazzling wonderland with a series of free seasonal festivities. Enter a winter wonderland illuminated by the laughter of children and more than two million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. Animal exhibits stay open late as guests roam the beautiful grounds to take photos with Santa, prepare family crafts and enjoy the zoo’s incredible animals immersed in an atmosphere unlike any other.

HANUKKAH/JEWISH CELEBRATIONS

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies: Latke-palooza: One For Each Night cooking demo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $18, with discounts for Spertus members and students

With the Hannukah holiday starting early this year (at sundown, Dec. 1), Chef Laura Frankel introduces participants to an array of latke (fried potato pancake) possibilities, as she combines her favorite ingredients into eight different, delicious crispy treats packed with produce.In addition to the traditional mix of potatoes and onions, Chef Laura will demonstrate for sampling new latke versions and variations while also offering valuable tips on which oils to use, how to simplify preparation, and how to store and serve the finished products. Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering. Founder of the adventurous, gourmet kosher Shallots restaurants in Chicago and New York and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, she has made it her creative mission to re-imagine and revitalize the diverse-and delicious-traditions of Jewish cooking. Ticket price includes take-home recipe cards.state-st-christmas

PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS

Chicago Cultural Center: Dance Along Nutcracker
Sunday, December 5, 2010

Performances at noon & 3 pm, Workshops at 11 am& 2 pm
Preston Bradley Hall, ChicagoCulturalCenter

Admission Free!

Young and old alike are invited to hit the dance floor as sugar plum fairies and toy soldiers dance and sing along with music from the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band, including selections from Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Suite.

The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker

Friday, December 10, 2010, through Sunday, December 26, 2010

Auditorium Theatre of RooseveltUniversity

Tickets range from $30 to $115

One Chicago‘s most popular holiday traditions, Robert Joffrey’s production of The Nutcracker again transforms the Auditorium Theatre into a land of beauty, fantasy and wonder. The Tchaikovsky masterpiece features the full Joffrey company, local children’s choruses and more than 120 young dancers.

Goodman Theatre: A Christmas Carol

Friday, November 19, 2010 through Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodman Theatre

For three decades and over one million people, Charles Dickens’ classic story, the exceptional actors and the miraculous stagecraft have made Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol a perennial holiday favorite and beloved Chicago tradition. Every year, audiences delight in the “Bah, Humbugs,” the arrival of the ghosts, the music and dancing and Scrooge’s joyful discovery of life and love.

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