by Jill P

If you are looking for fun things to do to celebrate this holiday, Chicago provides lots of wonderful events and activities going on all throughout the city. While Chicago winters can be a bit harsher than most cities, their beautiful lights and decorations will all make it worth it. Chicago is definitely the place to be to get your family in the holiday cheer. Here are some fun things to do in Chicago before Christmas.


Lincoln Park Zoo Lights-photo credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015


Dates: November 25–27, December 2–4, 9–23, 26–31; January 1, 2017 4:30–9:00 pm

Lincoln Park Zoo puts on Zoolights every year and is definitely an event to check out. Not only can you and your family get photos with Santa but there is just so much to do! Get into the holiday cheer with their 3D displays, ice-sculpting, music light shows and their carousel and train rides. They even have warm spiced wine and frosty lagers for us parents. Monday is family night at Zoolights. Kids eat for free at the Park Place Café and all guests enjoy unlimited train and carousel rides. If you are a zoo member, you can park for free.


Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden

Dates: November 25 – December 15, 2016 10:00 am – 5:00 pm & December 16 – January 2, 2017 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Wonderland Express is a great holiday event that you must do with your family. They have so much to do! There is caroling, a holiday market, ice sculpting and holiday handmade goods for sale to help out with your Christmas shopping. Don’t miss movie weekend on December 3 and 4 where they show classic family Christmas movies for free!


CTA Holiday Train

Dates: November 21 – December 23 at 1:00 pm-8:00 pm on weekends and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on weekdays

Do you have a train enthusiast in your home? Then they will love checking out the CTA Holiday train. Get into the holiday season with their gorgeous display of holiday lights and décor on the city’s train. Not only can you take your picture with Santa but you and your family can do some giving back this season at the CTA Holiday train hosts the donation of 300 food baskets to local community organizations.

winterwonderland-chicagoWinter Wonderfest

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

Dates: December 2- January 8

In its 16th year, be prepared to be amazed as Navy Pier transforms into the biggest indoor winter playground. Your kids will squeal with fun as there is just so much to do, especially if they are thrill seekers. Plan on spending a whole day here! With 170,000 square feet of rides, an icerink and giant slides, you and your family may never want to leave.


Dates: November 18 – December 24

Inspired by Nuremberg, Germany you and your family will be in awe of Chicago’s largest awesome outdoor market. You will truly feel like you are being transported to a different country. This market features beautiful iconic German items such as nutcrackers, beer steins and handmade ornaments. Try out their authentic German cuisine as well as their holiday entertainment. People from all over the word visit Christkinlmarket. It is truly one of a kind!



Did we miss any of your favorite things to do in Chicago over the holiday? If so, let us know in the comment section below.





By | 2016-12-12T03:52:41+00:00 December 12th, 2016|Categories: Guides, Newly Published, Seasonal, Travel, Trips|Comments Off on Five Fun Things to Do in Chicago with Kids Before Christmas

About the Author:

Jill is a mom of a busy 9 year old son. When not working the website, Jill likes to hike, cook, and read in her free time.