Nov 16, 2023 - Things to Do

Chicago weekend events: Christkindlmarket, ZooLights and more

Last year's Christkindlmarket. Photo: Eric James Walsh

This weekend in Chicago, shop at a German-inspired market, drink at a Viking-themed bar crawl or see holiday lights around the city.

🎁 1. Christkindlmarket

Shop for handcrafted gifts (like the collectible mug!) and dive into German food and culture at the Christkindlmarket, opening in three locations tomorrow.

Why it matters: It's one of Chicago's premier holiday fixtures.

Dates: Tomorrow–Dec. 24, Daley Plaza and Aurora; tomorrow–Dec. 31, Wrigleyville

Hours: Vary by location

Locations: Daley Plaza, Wrigleyville and Aurora

Cost: Free; fast pass for Daley Plaza market starts at $25

🐘 2. ZooLights

  • Head to Lincoln Park Zoo after dark to see dozens of holiday light displays, festive photo-ops, costumed characters and Victorian-era carolers. New this year is a garden-themed light show on the South Lawn. Tickets start at $7.
  • Dates: Tomorrow–Jan. 7
  • Hours: 4:30–9pm Sunday–Thursday; 4:30–10pm Friday–Saturday

🍺 3. Viking Pub Crawl

  • This year's crawl in Andersonville will feature a scavenger hunt for prizes including gift certificates to local businesses. Check-in for the event is 2pm Saturday at Meeting House Tavern. Tickets start at $35.

🎄4. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

  • Start the holiday festivities on Michigan Avenue this Saturday. The event begins with interactive holiday activities at Light Festival Lane from 11am–4pm, followed by the parade at 5:30pm featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse as grand marshals, a performance by The Sugarhill Gang and fireworks at 7pm.
  • Details: The parade goes down Michigan Avenue starting at Oak Street and ending at the DuSable Bridge on Wacker Drive.

🏰 5. Disney 100: The Exhibition

  • Speaking of Mickey and Minnie, a new Disney exhibit opens this weekend in Logan Square. The showcase includes 14 interactive installations and 250 artifacts, art, costumes and memorabilia from Disney franchises including Pixar, "Star Wars" and Marvel. Tickets start at $39.90.

❄️ 6. Willow Hill's Winter Magic

  • Take a drive through a 2.5-mile holiday light show in Northbrook featuring the Abominable Snowman, Rudolph, Frosty and a 30-foot Christmas tree. Tickets start at $40.
  • Location: Willow Hill Golf Course
  • Dates: Tomorrow–Jan. 6, 2024
  • Hours: 5pm–9pm daily

✨7. Sparkle Light Festival

  • Sparkle returns to Impact Field in Rosemont this year with a completely redesigned layout featuring five illuminated villages, visits with Santa Claus, train rides, a tubing slide and an ice skating rink. Tickets start at $24.
  • Dates: Tomorrow–Dec. 31
  • Hours: Vary by day

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