With winter break fast approaching, you might be wondering what fun holiday-related activities in Chicago you can do with your children. Luckily, the area offers plenty of fun ways to get out of the house and celebrate the season. From a stroll through Lincoln Park Zoo to a staged production of “A Christmas Carol,” you and your family can start a new holiday tradition together with these five unique holiday experiences in the Chicago area.

(Credit: msichicago.org)

(Credit: msichicago.org)

Christmas Around The World And Holidays Of Light

Museum of Science and Industry

5700 S. Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 684-1414                                        


Dates: Nov. 14, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014

Are you looking for something to do with your kids over winter break? Then consider combining science with learning about other cultures by checking out “Christmas around the World and Holidays of Light” at the Museum of Science and Industry. The exhibit is a long-standing tradition of the museum and features more than 50 trees decorated with traditional ornaments from around the world. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Grand Tree, which is 45 feet tall and makes a great backdrop for pictures, and can double as a meeting spot for your group.


Daley Plaza

50 W. Washington St.

Chicago, IL 60602

(312) 494-2175


Dates: Nov. 26 through Dec. 24, 2013

This year, you and your family can skip shopping at the mall and get gifts for friends and relatives at the Christkindlmarket, an annual event that began in Germany in the 16th century. The market features an assortment of handmade crafts and gifts, including nativity sets, jewelry, wooden carvings, tea, glass and ceramic pottery. Kids will also enjoy the scavenger hunt they can complete at the market, as well as the live entertainment. You can also grab a bite to eat while you shop, with food vendors offering brats, tea, sausage and beer and wine. Located in the Loop on Daley Plaza, the market is a convenient spot for shopping during the day, after work or on the weekend.

Goodman Theatre's A Christmas Story (credit: goodmantheatre.org)

Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Story (credit: goodmantheatre.org)

A Christmas Carol

Goodman Theatre

170 N. Dearborn St.

Chicago, IL 60601

(312) 443-3800


Dates: Nov. 16 through Dec. 28, 2013

If you want to truly get into the holiday spirit, then make “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol” a part of your holiday plans. The play, which will be staged in The Albert Theatre and includes Larry Yando in the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge, is a family-friendly tradition that is celebrating its 36th annual production this year. The play runs from Nov. 16 to Dec. 28, 2013, and includes a performance on Christmas Eve.

Related: Winter WonderLoop: Affordable Family Fun


Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60614

(312) 742-2000


Dates: Nov. 29, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014

This season, you and your family can jump in the car and celebrate the holidays with animals through the ZooLights program at Lincoln Park Zoo. The event features strolling through the zoo while it’s decorated and lit up for the holidays. The family-friendly event features live ice carving, carousel and train rides and seasonal crafts. Drinks and beverages are also available for purchase. You can also knock off part of your holiday to-do list by having the kids take a picture with Santa during the event. 

The Walnut Room At Macy’s

111 N State St‎

Chicago, IL 60602

(312) 781-3139


For many Chicagoans, the holidays are synonymous with tucking into a sumptuous meal at The Walnut Room. Located in Chicago’s Loop, you and your family can take a break from shopping or sightseeing and delight in the restaurant’s ornate holiday displays. The Walnut Room offers something for everyone, with a menu that includes salads, burgers, salads and chicken pot pie. If you’re planning to snag a table during the holidays, then it is advised that you make a reservation. After your meal, make sure to check out Macy’s window displays, or take a quick trip to visit Santa in-store.

Related: Best Places To Create Your Own Christmas Gifts 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.