Chicago events December 2020. Things to do in Chicago.

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Chicago events December 2020

Model trains & holiday flowers

December 1, 2020 - Jan. 3, 2021
(begins Nov. 27)
3 miles north
Model trains wind their way among 700 poinsettias and a Christmas tree during the Holiday Flower Show at Lincoln Conservatory. Open daily. Free.

Irish Christmas Luncheon

December 4, 2020
1.2 miles south
The $80 Christmas Luncheon includes cocktails (11:15 a.m.) followed by lunch (12:15 p.m.), with Christmas carols, Irish music, and a green Santa Claus at the Hilton Chicago. The public is welcome to attend.

Christmas caroling

December 4, 11, 18, 2020
(Fridays 6 p.m.)
0.7 miles SE
Bundle up and prepare to belt out holiday classics when asked to sing along with the choir at Caroling at Cloud Gate outdoors in Millennium Park. Free.

Santa bar crawl

December 5, 2020
1 mile south
Wear a Santa suit to SantaConChicago, a tour of city bars beginning in the bar at Congress Plaza Hotel for age 21+. Free.

Doggie Christmas

December 5, 2020
32 miles NW
Your dog can dress for a costume contest, hunt for treats, and get photographed with Santa indoors at Jingle Paws by the Schaumburg Park District. Bring your dog’s vaccination records.

Swedish bazaar

December 5 - 6, 2020
7 miles north
Julmarknad is a Christmas bazaar of Scandinavian food and gift items plus traditional entertainment at the Swedish American Museum.

Model train show

December 5 - 6, 2020
27 miles west
LEGO Christmas Show features a huge diorama of trains that run past skyscrapers, brick mania, and kids’ crafts, plus a ticketed party the first evening in Wheaton. Free except parking.

Christmas lights - Brookfield Zoo

December 5 - 31, 2020
(begins Nov. 28)
14 miles SW
Holiday Magic has a million twinkling lights, a train display, carolers, ice carvers, a magician, a talking tree, zoo chats, and singing to animals at the Brookfield Zoo. Dates in 2020: Nov. 28-29, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, and 26-31.

Beer festival

December 12, 2020
35 miles NW
A ticket to Mother Truckin’ Booze Fest gets you 25 tasting tickets and an opportunity to shop from food trucks at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates for age 21+.

Holiday market

December 12 - 13, 2020
(also Nov.)
2.5 miles west
Randolph Street’s Holiday Market offers affordable antique, vintage, and modern goods indoors at 1340 W. Washington Boulevard in November and December. Children age 12 and younger are free. Free parking.

Anime convention

December 18 - 20, 2020
16 miles NW
Con Alt Delete celebrates Japanese animation and “nerd culture” with games, panels, vendors, and dances at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont.

Craft fair

December 19 - 20, 2020
1.9 miles west
Shop from independent artisans and chefs at the Renegade Craft Fair at Revel Fulton Market. Free.

Jewish party

December 24, 2020
1 mile NW
Join 1,500 people at the Matzo Bash for two hours of hosted cocktails and appetizers, plus DJ dance music on two floors at Sound-Bar.

New Year’s party - a day early

December 30, 2020
1.7 miles SW
Enjoy an open bar, hors d’oeuvres buffet, a band, dancing, and a silent auction at the black-tie-optional charity benefit EVE of the EVE at Chicago Union Station.

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2020
Chicago locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve - Radisson

December 31, 2020
0.4 miles SE
A ticket to Blu Year’s Eve includes an open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, DJ music, party favors, a balloon drop, and a midnight champagne toast at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

New Year’s Eve - Swissotel

December 31, 2020
0.4 miles east
Ballroom Blitz New Year’s Eve Party includes an open bar, appetizers & pasta & desserts, champagne all night, a cover band, and DJ music in multiple rooms at Swissotel for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - The Wit

December 31, 2020
0.4 miles SW
Wear black tie to casino themed New Year’s Eve Monte Carlo for gaming tables, open bar, food stations, DJ music, and a champagne toast on top of the Wit.

New Year’s Eve - Asian restaurant

December 31, 2020
0.5 miles west
A ticket to Sunda New Year’s Eve includes a premium buffet and premium drinks, a DJ dance party, and a midnight champagne toast in the private upstairs lounge at Sunda Chicago for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - Congress Plaza

December 31, 2020
0.7 miles south
A ticket to Chicago New Year’s Eve Party includes unlimited food, drinks, multiple dance floors, nine bands, and DJs.

New Year’s Eve - Hard Rock

December 31, 2020
0.7 miles NW
Rock ‘Til The Drop includes a “premium cocktail reception, appetizer buffet, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, desserts and sweets,” plus DJ music, a midnight balloon drop, and a champagne toast at the Hard Rock Cafe for age 21+.

Fireworks at the lake

December 31, 2020
1 mile east
Welcome the new year with New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. Security screening. Gates may close if crowd capacity is reached. Free.

Gourmet New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2020
1 mile west
A $199 ticket to New Year’s Eve Celebration is “an elegant evening of gourmet food stations, top-shelf open bar with specialized cocktails, and a midnight champagne toast while you try your luck at fantasy casino all night” at Taste 222 for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - Congress Plaza

December 31, 2020
1 mile south
A ticket to New Year's Eve Party includes all drinks (beer, wine, liquor, champagne) served by 50 bartenders, a celebrity DJ, “state of the art sound and lighting,” multiple party rooms, and a midnight balloon drop at The Congress Plaza Hotel.

New Year’s Eve - Drake Hotel

December 31, 2020
1 mile north
Chicago Scene’s New Years Eve Party has multiple ballrooms with DJs, hors d’oeuvres, bartenders, and balloon drops at the Drake Hotel.

New Year’s Eve - Navy Pier #1

December 31, 2020
1 mile east
Join 3,000 people at Chicago Resolution Gala, which has multiple DJs, 30 bars, food stations, a champagne toast at midnight, and views of fireworks over the lake in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - Navy Pier #2

December 31, 2020
1 mile east
Crystal Gardens New Year’s Eve has dancing to “top 40, pop, hip hop, mash-ups, and house,” party favors, bars, food stations, a champagne toast at midnight, and a terrace to watch the fireworks, at Navy Pier.

New Year’s Eve - Marriott

December 31, 2020
1.1 miles SW
Formal New Year’s Eve Soiree includes drinks, a food buffet, dessert, DJs, and a cover band at JW Marriott for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - W Chicago

December 31, 2020
1.1 miles SW
A ticket to Chicago New Year’s Eve Party includes food, drinks, and entertainment at W Chicago - City Center for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - Hilton

December 31, 2020
1.2 miles south
A ticket to New Year’s Eve Party at the Hilton Chicago includes drinks, a buffet, desserts, DJs, a cover band, and a champagne toast at midnight, for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - roaring ‘20s

December 31, 2020
1.9 miles west
Prohibition New Year’s Eve features DJ music (hip hop, pop, R&B, electronic, and top 40), an open bar, and a complimentary champagne toast in historic Morgan Manufacturing.

New Year’s at the zoo

December 31, 2020
(9 p.m.)
2.5 miles north
See millions of holiday lights, watch artists carve blocks of ice, buy beer/wine/champagne, hear DJ music, play games, and visit the animals during Zoo Year’s Eve at Lincoln Park Zoo for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve bar crawl

December 31, 2020
3.5 miles NW
A ticket to Chicago New Year’s Eve (NYE) Bar Crawl gets you discounts at a dozen bars, a champagne toast at midnight, and no cover charge (although you may have to wait in line to get in) for age 21+. You must check in at The Flat Iron before 10 p.m.

New Year’s Eve on the Lake

December 31, 2020
3.7 miles north
New Year’s Eve on the Lake promises upscale appetizers, a champagne toast, aerialists, a balloon drop, and a view of the Navy Pier fireworks at midnight from Theater on the Lake for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve race

December 31, 2020
3.7 miles north
Beginning and ending at Theater on the Lake in Lincoln Park, New Year’s Eve 5K “showcases the beauty of Lincoln Park and the Lakefront” and is followed by a post-race celebration.

Casual New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2020
7.9 miles north
Brew Year’s Eve features 25 craft beers from 10 breweries, cocktails, wine, passed hors d’oeuvres, and live music on three floors of Architectural Artifacts for age 21+. Jeans are OK. Free coat check.

New Year’s dinner dance

December 31, 2020
26.2 miles west
A ticket to New Year’s Eve Celebration [sound] includes a four-course dinner, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, a balloon drop, a champagne toast, and a party band at Abbington Distinctive Banquets in Glen Ellyn.

New Year’s Eve - classical

December 31, 2020
27 miles west
The New Philharmonic plays classical music with guest vocalists at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn.

New Year’s Eve with knights

December 31, 2020
28 miles NW
Ring in the New Year with the lords and ladies of Medieval Times. Ticket includes admission to the Museum of Torture, a two-hour live tournament, a four-course meal, party favors, DJ dancing, and champagne at midnight (or kids’ beverage) in Schaumburg.

Family events at the parks

December 2020
(undated)
multiple locations
Enjoy parties, plays, craft making, and visits with Santa at Holiday Season Events by Chicago Park District.

Free gym

December 2020
(undated)
multiple locations
Register to use any of the city’s 70 fitness centers with “state-of-the-art equipment” or visit 25 locations that have lap swimming during Free Fitness Week. Free.

Holiday humor

December 2020
(undated)
multiple locations

Japanese dance & drum

December 2020
(undated)
0.7 mile north
Taiko Legacy & Reduction [website has sound] both feature Japanese drumming, dance, and street theater at Museum of Contemporary Art. (Reduction is Saturday, and Taiko Legacy is Sunday.)

Gift show

December 2020
(undated)
0.8 miles west
One of a Kind Holiday Show features handmade gifts by 600 artists, entertainment, and food at The Mart. Repeats in April.

Austrian music & dance

December 2020
(undated)
1 mile south
Costumed dancers and singers bring the waltzes of Strauss to life, as a full orchestra plays at Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert at the Symphony Center.

Speedo run

December 2020
(undated)
1.3 miles north
A ticket to Chicago Santa Speedo Run includes an open beer bar beginning at 11 a.m. (or pay extra for beer plus liquor), and a one-mile run/walk at 1 p.m. outdoors in your underwear or festive attire, beginning at She-nannigans for age 21+.

Holiday train ride

December 2020
(undated)
1.4 miles SW
Take a one-hour train ride through downtown Chicago as you drink cocoa on the Polar Express, which travels round trip from Union Station at Jackson Boulevard. See schedule

Artisan market

December 2020
(undated)
1.9 miles west
Shop from 100 independent vendors of food, fashion, art, and home goods at the Chicago Artisan Market at Morgan Manufacturing, including a kids’ zone. Children age 11 and younger are free. Held in multiple months.

Beer at Zoolights

December 2020
(undated)
2.5 miles north
A ticket to BrewLights gets you a dozen samples of draft beer. You also can buy food for sale, take a photo with Santa, see the holiday lights, and visit animals in their exhibits at Lincoln Park Zoo for age 21+.

Holiday market at the zoo

December 2020
(undated)
2.5 miles north
Shop from local artisans and boutiques at the Holiday Market, set against the glittering backdrop of ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Santa Claus race

December 2020
(undated)
2.5 miles south
Join thousands of runners dressed as Santa for the Santa Hustle Chicago 5K at Soldier Field, which offers Santa wear, candy, cookies, a medal, and an after-party at Navy Pier. Shorter versions for kids.

Northerly Island adventure

December 2020
(undated)
3 miles south
See birds of prey and wolves, make “nature-inspired winter crafts,” walk on snowshoes (if there’s snow), and drink cocoa (while it lasts) at Polar Adventure Days on three dates in December, January, and February. Free except parking.

Storytelling evening

December 2020
(undated)
5 miles north
Hear five storytellers plus five audience participants during the Winter Show by “Here, Chicago” at Stage 773. Optional potluck at 7:30 p.m.

Meet the chef

December 2020
(undated)
6.3 miles north
Hear National Public Radio (NPR) interview a chef live, and enjoy a pairing of food and beverage at $35 Food, Booze, & Tunes with Peter Sagal at the Cubby Bear for age 21+.

Ugly sweater swing dance

December 2020
(undated)
6.4 miles NW
Wear your tackiest to Ugly Sweater Swing Class, which includes a beginner’s class, open dancing, mingling, and a costume contest at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+. BYOB.

Exciting short plays

December 2020
(undated)
7.9 miles north
You may be entertained, surprised, and shocked, but never bored watching The Infinite Wrench, a daring production of two-minute plays at The Neo-Futurists.

Wine tasting

December 2020
(undated)
7.9 miles north
Sample wine, hear live music, and buy food at Chicago Wine Fest at Artifact Events for age 21+.

Beer tasting at the zoo

December 2020
(undated)
14 miles SW
“Take a walk through the zoo and see the lights of Holiday Magic while sampling adult beverages” during Lights and Lagers at Brookfield Zoo for age 21+.

Fun basketball show

December 2020
(undated)
18 miles NW
The talented Harlem Globetrotters perform ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, and comedy bits in an entertaining show at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

Jingle Ball concert

December 2020
(undated)
18 miles NW
Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

Music festival

December 2020
(undated)
20.5 miles south
Weishfest is a music festival with national acts at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park to support charity.

Light show in the garden

December 2020
(undated)
24 miles north
“The night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light” at Lightscape. You walk on a one-mile path that includes “an avenue of luminous linden trees” at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Closed Dec. 24 & 25.

Holiday market

December 2020
(undated)
29 miles NW
Holiday Lights Gift and Craft Fair has hundreds of booths selling food, gifts, and decorations to holiday shoppers at Arlington International Racecourse.

Games convention

December 2020
(undated)
15.3 miles NW
Wolfcon is for players of board games, computer games, and role-playing games at The Pavilion near the airport.

Classic Christmas play

December 2020
(undated)
multiple locations
A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ holiday classic about Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and three Christmas ghosts.

Handel’s Messiah

December 2020
(undated)
0.5 miles south
It’s a holiday tradition to hear joyful Handel’s Messiah sung by the Apollo Chorus of Chicago at Harris Theater.

International Christmas trees

December 2020
(undated)
0.7 miles SW
See 90 small Christmas trees and religious displays at Christmas Trees from Around the World in the county treasurer’s office, 118 N. Clark Street, Room 112. Open daily except Christmas & New Year’s Day. Free.

Christmas market

December 2020
(undated)
1 mile SW
Christkindlmarket is an open-air European holiday market featuring traditional art, handmade gifts, German foods, choirs, and carolers. Free.

Nutcracker ballet

December 2020
(undated)
1 mile south
Joffrey Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker features brilliant costumes, fanciful scenery, entrancing storytelling, and Tchaikovsky’s famous score played by the Chicago Philharmonic at Auditorium Theatre. This version by Christopher Wheeldon is set in 1892, with a World’s Fair theme.

Winter WonderFest

December 2020
(undated)
1 mile east
Festival Hall at Navy Pier becomes an indoor Winter WonderFest for the holidays, with music, skating, carnival rides, and entertainment. You need ID if you are age 18+, otherwise you need a parent. Children shorter than 3 feet are free. Closed Dec. 25.

Christmas lights - Lincoln Park Zoo

December 2020
(undated)
2.5 miles north
ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo features millions of holiday lights, ice carving, music, carousel & train rides, food, and gift shopping (plus photos with Santa some days). Free. Closed Dec. 24 & 25.

Christmas beer

December 2020
(undated)
4.2 miles north
Delilah’s bills its event as the most comprehensive Christmas and Winter Beer Tasting in North America. Admission is $20 at the door for 20 samples at Delilah’s.

The Nutcracker ballet

December 2020
(undated)
5 miles north
Youthful members of Ballet Chicago perform the holiday classic The Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky’s score at Athenaeum Theatre.

Ballet-free Nutcracker

December 2020
(undated)
7.4 miles north
Clara struggles to save Christmas in the The Nutcracker, an imaginative, family-friendly version live at Chopin Theatre.

Christmas liturgy

December 2020
(undated)
8 miles north
Lessons and Carols tells a story in nine short Bible readings and adds Christmas carols, hymns, and choral music in the chapel at Loyola University.

Holiday music

December 2020
(undated)
8 miles north
Student musicians & singers perform a mix of sacred and secular works at Joyola at Loyola University.

Holidays around the world

December 2020
(undated)
8 miles south
See trees decorated to represent many cultures, plus weekend ethnic song-and-dance performances during Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science & Industry. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Mannheim Steamroller

December 2020
(undated)
16 miles NW
Grammy Award-winning composer Chip Davis presents Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, performed live with acoustic-electronic seasonal hits and multimedia effects at Rosemont Theatre.

Hinsdale Christmas Walk

December 2020
(undated)
21 miles SW
Christmas Walk features Santa’s arrival, carolers, animated characters, live reindeer, a carousel, and a tree lighting in Hinsdale’s Burlington Park.

Christmas lights - arboretum

December 2020
(undated)
27 miles west
See colorful tree lights and projections on a one-mile walk at Illumination, with fire pits to warm you up along the way at Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Closed Dec. 24 & 25.

The Nutcracker

December 2020
(undated)
27 miles west
Salt Creek Ballet and the New Philharmonic Orchestra perform “a gorgeous new production” of the Nutcracker at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn.

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