Christkindlmarket, Winterland, CTA Holiday Train: Check out these holiday events in Chicago this season


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Items for purchase at Christkindlmarket. Here are some of the ways you can spend your holidays in and around Chicago.

Alex Perry, Angeli Mittal, and Maia Pandey

With most classes concluding regular meetings for the quarter, consider venturing to Chicago in between finals study sessions. You can catch holiday lights, performances and festivals across the city over the next month — many of them for free.


Daley Plaza, Aurora and Wrigleyville

Nov. 18 – Dec. 24

The iconic Christkindlmarket is an idyllic holiday must-visit. Find German sausage (complete with sauerkraut), latkes and hot chocolate booths in the center of the city. Stay warm by clustering together with friends in souvenirs shops, or pick up baubles and tree decorations to gift to family and friends. The pop-up opens at three different locations around the Chicago area.

Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon


Through Jan. 7

Want a change of scenery from skating at the Robert Crown Community Center? Maggie Daley Park’s Ice Skating Ribbon isn’t your average skating rink — with a pair of skates (available for rental on site), visitors can glide through the one-quarter mile path around the park. 

Harry Potter: Magic at Play

Water Tower Place

Nov. 11 – Jan. 29

Step into a magical, fantastical holiday world in this pop-up attraction located near Northwestern’s Chicago campus. Visitors to this immersive experience can sip butterbeer, pop on a sorting hat and live out their varsity athlete dreams on a Quidditch team. Open to all ages, but free for children under two. 

CTA Holiday Train

Chicago Transit

Nov. 25 – Dec. 20

It’s not hard to spot Santa and his reindeers if you look up to the train platforms during the holiday season — the Chicago Transit Authority holiday train makes its way around the city with its cars adorned in lights and holiday-themed decor. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the holiday train during the scheduled windows, which vary depending on the “L” line. The CTA also has a holiday bus that roams the streets through Dec. 23. 

“A Christmas Carol”

The Goodman Theatre

Nov. 19 – Dec. 31

The Goodman Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” has welcomed nearly two million audience members and is back through the end of this month. Take in the ghosts of Christmas spirit in this adaption of the Charles Dickens classic, which the theatre has staged for more than four decades. Tickets range from $20 to $80, depending on performance time, and are available for purchase online. 

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Museum of Science and Industry

Through Jan. 8

The Museum of Science and Industry is celebrating the 82nd anniversary of its iconic Christmas Around the World exhibit. The exhibit kicked off in 1942 with a single Christmas tree, redecorated daily for 12 days to commemorate the countries fighting with the United States in World War II. It has since expanded to feature 50 trees honoring holiday celebrations around the world and decorated by volunteers from across the Chicago area. Entry to the exhibit is included in museum tickets, priced at $21.95 for adults.

​​Winterland at Gallagher Way


Nov. 18 – Jan. 8

Gallagher Way is expanding its annual holiday fare this year to transform Wrigley Field into a temporary skating rink — complete with carnival games and rides, ice bumper cars, the Wintertube ice slide and a train ride. While previous years saw an ice rink outside Wrigley Field, this season marks the first year the Winterland is decking the halls of the ballpark. Tickets are available on the Gallagher Way website and start at $5, with free admission for children two and under.

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