Magnificent Mile Lights Festival - Beginning on November 17, Mickey Mouse says it’s time to start your Christmas shopping! With the flip of a switch, Mickey, Minnie, and their crew will light up the mile-long stretch of Michigan Avenue, which has never looked so magnificent. More than a million lights, marching bands, celebrity appearances, and fabulous fireworks await you at this special Chicago holiday event. The switch flips at 5:30 p.m., so get a spot early, and while you’re out, enjoy the extended hours and special offers of the many participating Mag Mile stores.
Tree Lighting Ceremony - Shop though you may beforehand, it isn’t quite Christmastime until this special ceremony commences. As the official kick-off of the holiday season, The Daley Plaza will light its Christmas tree at 5 p.m. on November 21, marking the 99th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony here in Chicago. Music begins at 4 p.m., and all who plan to attend and be a part of this amazing holiday tradition are encouraged to arrive early.
Christkindlmarket Chicago - Following the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Chicago’s Daley Plaza will play host to an open-air Christmas extravaganza, the Christkindlmarket. This delightful German-themed marketplace will light up Daley Plaza from Thanksgiving Day all the way up until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with regular daily hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday – Saturday.
This magical market offers an amazing array of handmade ornaments and crafts that you can’t find elsewhere, with toys, decorations, jewelry, clothes, and artistic creations made by the artists right in front of your eyes. Even with all these precious items for sale, what Christkindlmarket is really known for is its sensational German-style cuisine, offering German beer, body-warming hot spiced wine, savory sausages, an assortment of nuts and pastries, tempting German chocolates, waffles, potato pancakes, and of course sauerkraut!
Christkindlmarket is a celebration of kids too, and at 4 p.m. on December 5, The Annual Children’s Lantern Parade will light up the marketplace with colorful lanterns and the singing of both German and American Christmas carols. Stop by the Plaza to see this beautiful spectacle, or register to participate here.
Christmas Around the World - Once again this year, the Museum of Science and Industry will become a complete Christmas haven, richly decorated in ornaments from the many cultures of the world. From an astonishing 45-foot-tall Christmas tree to simulated snow to a wonderland of smaller trees, all adorned with beautiful ornaments designed by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities, this spectacle is quite simply a must see! Christmas Around the World will be open to the public from November 15 – December 6.
For more input on what to see during this special season, check out our lineup of the best light displays in Chicago, or, for the kids, see all the places where you and your family can meet Santa this holiday season.