With holiday events underway, here’s 11 things to do across the Chicago area this weekend

With holiday events underway, here's 11 things to do across the Chicago area this weekend

Holiday season is underway in the Chicago area, with numerous events and festivities beginning on Friday.

With Chicago’s official Christmas tree in Millennium Park now illuminated, there’s plenty of places around the area to immerse yourself in the season.

Several holiday events are getting started this weekend across the city and suburbs, from holiday markets to dazzling light displays.

From Aurora to Lincoln Park and beyond, here’s a look at some of the events and activities that are getting underway for the 2023 holiday season this weekend.

Christkindlmarket — Chicago, Wrigleyville, Aurora

The Chicago, Wrigleyville and Aurora Christkindlmarkets are all officially open for the season. Traditional foods like bratwurst, hot spiced wine and roasted nuts will be available, alongside a variety of handmade Christmas décor for your home. 

The Aurora Christkindlmarket will have lantern parades on both Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m.

The events will include lantern pick-ups on stage, a welcome and reading of the story of St. Martin, a parade and a goodie bag distribution. Tickets can be purchased in advance here

A full schedule of events at each market, as well as hours, dates, and locations, can be found here.

Randolph Street Holiday Market — Chicago, West Loop

Randolph Street’s final market of the season takes place this weekend, Nov. 18 and 19.

The market features 200 vintage and antiques dealers, fashion designers and makers and more, a release said. The market will also feature food, music and cocktails, the release said.

Located at Plumber’s Hall at 1341 West Randolph Street, the market is open Nov. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are required and start at $12.

ZooLights — Chicago, Lincoln Park

ZooLights have returned to Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo with its dazzling LED light displays, carolers and more. Enjoy a variety of live music events scheduled throughout this year’s chilly season and purchase holiday refreshments while exploring the zoo’s attractions. Tickets can be found here.

Ice Skating — Chicago, Multiple Locations

Several ice skating rinks open for the season beginning this weekend, including the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon in Chicago, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, Chicago’s Sky Rink at The Peninsula.

More information about each can be found here.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival — Chicago

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is back Saturday to kick off the holiday season. Marvel at the one million lights to be illuminated by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The parade features 385 marching band members, 40 floats, three giant helium balloons, celebrity performances and Santa Claus making their way down North Michigan Avenue. 

More information can be found here.

Santa at 900 North Michigan Shops — Chicago

Santa returns to the Magnificent Mile at 900 North Michigan Shops beginning Nov. 18 through Dec. 24. Visits with Santa will be available on Level 3. Reservations are required.

MORE: Check out these eight places to see Santa this holiday season

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights at the Museum of Science and Industry — Chicago

Holiday displays among a forest of over 50 trees are just part of this year’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights at the Museum of Science and Industry.

In addition to the scenic sights, the museum’s four-story Grand Tree highlights the exhibit that celebrates the diversity of holiday traditions around the globe.

Snap photos of the Museum of Science and Industry’s four-story Grand Tree and explore a forest of over 50 trees and holiday displays opening Saturday. This seasonal exhibit celebrates the diversity of holiday traditions around the globe. 

Entry to the holiday exhibit is included in a general admission ticket to the museum.

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum — Lisle

Traverse the Arboretum’s 50 acres of trees illuminated with dazzling colors starting Saturday. The Arboretum will new immersive installations and features in addition to the returning fan favorites this year. 

Visitors can also enjoy s’mores, a bonfire and concession tents with more snacks.

More information can be found here.

World of Illumination: Arctic Adventure — Gurnee

See the Six Flags Great America landscape transform in this drive-thru experience that features millions of lights. Guests can venture through lights displays in the parking lot led by Beti the Yeti.

The park will also offer a Carousel Lights and Market on select nights where visitors can take more pictures or purchase snacks and decorations.

Arctic Adventure tickets can be purchased here.

Sparkle Light Festival — Rosemont

Rosemont’s Sparkle Light Festival is back at Impact Field.

This year’s Sparkle Light Festival features five illuminated villages for families to explore, along with an ice skating rink, a “Holly Trolly” train, snow tubing, food and drink and more.

General admission tickets begin at $24 for adults. More information on tickets, dates and hours and can be found here.

Light up the Park Rosemont

Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park opens on Saturday with the return of its Chicago Wolves Ice Rink. Mrs. Claus, horse-drawn sleigh rides, carolers, ice sculpting and more will also be on site.

More information can be found here.