Best Holiday Activities for Families in Chicago

carriage ride chicago

The Chicagoland area has some wonderful family-oriented activities to help you celebrate the Holidays and have fun together. Here are a few well-known and lesser-known local Holiday favorites that my family loves to do. Many of these have become Holiday Traditions that our kids look forward to every year.

Younger Kids:

  • Wonderland Express – Holiday Train Exhibit at Botanical Gardens
  • Zoo Lights at Brookfield Zoo
  • Christmas Tree/ Exhibit at John Hancock Building – Christmas tree is beautiful, the train exhibit inside is delightful for kids, and get a free photo with Santa every weekend from 12 – 4 p.m.
  • Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier
  • Drive around the neighborhoods and see the lights or see the Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show at the Cuneo Museum – perfect for little kids who can’t walk far or for those nights when it is absolutely freezing

Kids Aged 6 and up

  • Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza – This is my family’s favorite thing to do every Christmas. We have been 3 times already this year.
  • Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science & Industry – While the exhibit is nice and has a lot of great history, I would go see the Jim Henson exhibit before it closes and then also check out the decorated Christmas trees. The Gingerbread Museum in the lobby is AWESOME!
  • Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theater or Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker - we alternate these two shows every year. This year we hit the Christmas Carol. The stage and the special effects were incredible. My kids loved it.
  • Ice Skating Millenium Park – Rockerfeller Plaza doesn’t have the mighty Bean behind it, now does it? Friday nights in December there is caroling in front of the Cloudgate sculpture (aka the Bean) at 6 p.m. Haven’t gone yet but I’m sure the photo ops are incredible.

Any Age:

  • Carriage ride on Michigan Avenue – Grab yours by the Water Tower
  • Tower Brass Holiday Concert Fourth Presbyterian Church

  • Tower Brass Holiday Concert at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue
  • – We go every year. It’s amazing. This year it is scheduled for tonight at 5 p.m. Save us a seat, we’ll see you there.

  • Shop windows at Macy’s on State Street, see the beautiful, decorated Christmas trees at Water Tower Place, 900 North Mall or NorthBridge

No matter what you decide to do this year, create some memories and have some Happy Holiday Fun with your family!

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Holiday Fun

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