While you might have plans for a great meal with your nearest and dearest over the holidays, there are still plenty of events in the Chicago area for good cheer and good times. From catching a performance of a classic play to exploring museums decked out for the holidays, you and your family and friends can do a whole lot more this year. If it’s possible, try to arrive early or purchase tickets in advance of a holiday event. Check out the following list of family-friendly and adults-only holiday events in Chicago, and take a look at this article for even more ideas.
Joffrey Ballet Chicago
50 E. Congress Parkway
Chicago, IL 60605
Date: Dec. 5 – 28, 2014
For many families, catching a live performance of the classic story “The Nutcracker” is a holiday tradition. If that’s the case for you and your family, then consider watching a performance by Joffrey Ballet Chicago. The music is also performed live by The Chicago Philharmonic, and afternoon and evening performances of the show are scheduled. Keep in mind that a performance of “The Nutcracker” is approximately two hours, and that the show is recommended for children four years of age and older.
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
Date: Select dates between Dec. 13 – 23, 2014
Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, “Welcome Yule!” is a tradition for many classical music fans in the Chicago area and can get you in the festive spirit. Held at Symphony Center in Chicago’s Loop, the event features performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, plus the Welcome Yule Dance Ensemble and Children’s Ensembles. If you’ve never been to a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and don’t know what to expect (or what to wear), then consider checking out the symphony’s website for additional information.
Adler After Dark: Santa Saves Mars
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Date: Dec. 18, 2014
When you think of after-hours entertainment, you probably don’t think of the Adler Planetarium. But that’s where you’re missing out, as the award-winning Adler after Hours brings plenty of music and entertainment to the planetarium. Head to the Adler on December 18, 2014, for the “Santa Saves Mars” after-hours program. The event includes a screening of the film “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” so get ready for laughs along the way. You can also explore the planetarium with your friends. Bring your camera, too, as the Adler is situated overlooking Lake Michigan and offers stunning views. Adler after Dark is held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is for those ages 21 and up.
Related: Best Museum Tours In Chicago.
8400 W 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
Date: Select dates through Dec. 31, 2014
Add “Sing holiday songs to zoo animals” to your family’s holiday events this year by heading to Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. The zoo’s annual event features caroling, live entertainment and plenty of places to purchase snacks. You can also visit the indoor animal exhibits during this family-friendly event. Holiday Magic is held between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.; check out the zoo’s website for information on parking and admission fees for this event. If you don’t have anything planned for New Year’s Eve, you and your family can also head to the Zoo Year’s Eve party for an early celebration on December 31, 2014.
‘Christmas Around The World’
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60637
Date: Through Jan. 4, 2015
Learn how other countries around the world celebrate Christmas without leaving Chicago by visiting the “Christmas around the World” exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. A yearly tradition for many Chicagoans and tourists alike, the exhibit features more than 50 trees decked out with traditional ornaments and items that represent each country. Mexico, Spain and Japan are just some of the countries represented with trees in previous years. While you’re at the museum, check out its other exhibits, too, including the “Swiss Jolly Ball,” “Science Storms,” the “Great Train Story” and the “Transportation Gallery.”
Related: Best Holiday Celebrations In Chicago
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.