Discover the Top 5 Christmas Activities in Chicago

Top 5 Things To Do At Christmas In Chicago

Top 5 Things To Do At Christmas In Chicago

Chicago is a magical wonderland during the Christmas season, with its festive decorations, ice skating rinks, and holiday markets. If you’re planning a trip to the Windy City during this merry time of year, you’re in for a treat! Here are the top five things you absolutely must do to make the most of your Christmas in Chicago experience.

1. Marvel at the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

One of the most iconic Christmas events in Chicago is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Join thousands of spectators as Michigan Avenue transforms into a twinkling wonderland with over one million lights adorning the trees. Marvel at the dazzling light displays, enjoy festive performances, and don’t forget to snap a selfie in front of the giant Christmas tree!

Book a Magnificent Mile Lights Festival tour

2. Glide Across the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Embrace the holiday spirit by gliding across the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Surrounded by the iconic Chicago skyline and the shimmering lights of the city, this outdoor ice skating rink offers a picturesque setting for some festive fun. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a novice, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Book an Ice Skating Experience at Millennium Park

3. Shop Till You Drop at Christkindlmarket


Experience the charm of a traditional German Christmas market right in the heart of Chicago at Christkindlmarket. Browse through rows of wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights, offering an array of handcrafted ornaments, festive decorations, and delicious holiday treats. Sip on mulled wine as you shop for unique gifts and soak in the festive atmosphere!

Explore Christkindlmarket Tours and Experiences

4. Take a Festive Cruise Along the Chicago River

Festive Cruise Chicago River

Get into the holiday spirit with a festive cruise along the Chicago River, adorned with twinkling lights and seasonal decorations. Whether you opt for a daytime cruise to admire the city skyline or a nighttime cruise to see the glittering lights, it’s a magical experience for visitors of all ages. Keep an eye out for iconic landmarks like the Wrigley Building and the Willis Tower!

Book a Festive Cruise Experience

5. Admire the Spectacular ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights Lincoln Park Zoo

Experience the magic of the holidays at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights event. Marvel at the stunning light displays, illuminated animal sculptures, and festive activities throughout the zoo. From ice carving demonstrations to holiday-themed crafts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo with Santa Claus amidst the twinkling lights!

Discover ZooLights Tours and Activities

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the dates for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival?

    The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival typically takes place in mid-November, kicking off the holiday season in Chicago with a spectacular display of lights and festivities.

  2. Is ice skating at Millennium Park suitable for beginners?

    Absolutely! The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink welcomes skaters of all skill levels, and there are often skating aids available for beginners to use.

  3. Are there any special events at Christkindlmarket?

    Yes, Christkindlmarket hosts various events throughout the holiday season, including live music performances, cooking demonstrations, and visits from Santa Claus.

  4. Do I need to purchase tickets for ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo?

    No, admission to ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is free of charge, although donations are appreciated to support the zoo’s conservation efforts.


Christmas in Chicago is truly a magical experience, with an array of festive activities and attractions to delight visitors of all ages. From enchanting light displays to traditional holiday markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So bundle up, sip on some hot cocoa, and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit as you explore the wonders of the Windy City!

Key Takeaways:

  • Experience the dazzling lights of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.
  • Embrace the holiday cheer with ice skating at Millennium Park.
  • Shop for unique gifts and delicious treats at Christkindlmarket.
  • Take in the stunning views on a festive cruise along the Chicago River.
  • Marvel at the magical ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo.

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