Chicago is a happenin' place when holidays roll around. There are so many things to do and places to go – many of them FREE – that it may be a challenge for residents to keep up. If you're looking for something to help you get in the holiday spirit. Here are some outstanding options.
MACY'S (MARSHALL FIELD'S) on State Street all decked out
MILLENNIUM PARK ICE SKATING – We have already written about the fun of skating downtown among the skyline, but I will say it again, grab your skates and head over to the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink on Michigan Avenue in Millennium Park. The 2009-2010 season runs from Nov 20 — March. (also fun around Valentine’s day)
SANTA’S HOUSE & Photos With SANTA – Sit on Jolly Ol’ St. Nick’s lap, tell him what you want for Christmas and get a picture. Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, (312)744-3315. Nov 26-Dec 24. Free.
RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER – The classic tale of Rudolph in a funny, family-friendly retelling of said story. The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, (773)561-4665. Nov 27 –Dec 18. $15, $10 for kids under 12.
WONDERLAND EXPRESS MODEL TRAINS – Eighty model trains travel through Chicago landmarks, waterfalls and holiday trees in this 10,000-square-foot exhibit, tiny trains wind through more than 80 miniature Chicago landmarks, waterfalls, holiday trees and more. New on the map this year is Barack Obama’s Hyde Park home and Michelle Obama’s childhood home. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe, (847)835-5440. Nov 27-Jan 3. $6-$10.
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY FLOWER SHOW – Garfield Park Conservatory has more holiday flowers than you can dream of. Fields of poinsettias and other holiday plants are in their vast and amazing greenhouses for viewing. Come see this horticultural treasure in Chicago. The Garfield Conservatory, 300 North Central Park, (312)746-5100. Open Nov 28 — Jan 10. Free, but donations appreciated.
WINTER WONDERFEST NAVY PIER – Keeping the tradition of elaborate holiday tourist traps alive, Navy Pier transforms itself into a winter wonderland complete with a skating rink, inflatable games and a bungee run. Santa and his elves will be on hand every day ‘til Christmas to listen to kid’s holiday wishes. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, (312)595-PIER. Dec 4-Jan 3. $16-$19.
THE OSMOND BROTHERS – If you are in the SW suburbs Wayne, Jay, Jimmy and Merrill Osmond will celebrate their fiftieth year in entertainment with this Christmas show at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 North Chicago Ave in Joliet, (815)726-6600. Dec 15, 7:30pm. Tickets are $29-$47.
SONGS OF GOOD CHEER – Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn and Mary Schmich and musicians head a caroling party at the Old Town School of Folkmusic. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 North Lincoln, (773)728-6000. Dec 18 — 19 @ 7:30 pm, and Dec 20 @ 5 pm. Tickets are $36-$40.
WELCOME YULE! – A holiday concert featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, as well as the Welcome Yule! Children’s and Dance Ensemble. Symphony Center, 220 South Michigan Avenue, (312)294-3000. Dec 18th — Dec 23. Tickets: $20-$98.
The 26TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SING-ALONG AND DOUBLE FEATURE MOVIES – Come see two favorite classic Christmas Movies and sing some carols too —“It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas”— at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Ave, (773)871-6604. Dec 18 — 24. Tickets are $16 for the double feature, or $11 for the single.
VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS HOME TOURS – Tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park home, decked out for the holidays, and learn about the Wright family’s Christmas celebrations. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park, (708)848-1976. Dec 19 at 9am-11am. Free!