Things To Do This Weekend In And Around Chicago: Nov. 29-Dec. 1

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Holiday events are in full swing in and around Chicago; therefore, there are plenty of things to do this weekend from Christmas markets and tree lightings, to holiday exhibits, ice skating, and more! It is also a big shopping weekend, as this weekend marks Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, followed by Cyber Monday. 

And as for sports, the Chicago Blackhawks is the only team playing at home this weekend, so if you are looking to escape the holiday madness or just want to cheer on Chicago, the Hawks are your team!

Kick off the winter season with this Chicago family favorite – the Art Institutes famous lions put of their holiday outfits! Join the Art Institute of Chicago on the Michigan Avenue steps as crews place wreaths around the lions’ necks. Enjoy special performances by Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and complimentary hot chocolate while you welcome the holiday season. Following the ceremony, head inside the museum for art-filled activities in the Ryan Learning Center. More info.

Where: Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

When: Friday, 10-10:30 a.m.

All are invited to bundle up and belt out holiday classics during Caroling at Cloud Gate located on the Millennium Park’s iconic Cloud Gate Plaza. The festive series is part concert, part sing-along with some of our city's most entertaining choirs on Fridays from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. The caroling is led by the likes of the Sounds Good! Choir (Nov. 29), Mark Hubbard and The Voices (Dec. 6), the Chicago Children’s Choir (Dec. 13) and the Wicker Park Choral Singers (Dec. 20). Songbooks will be distributed at this event. More info.

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave.

When: Fridays, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, and Dec. 20; 6-7 p.m.

Skip the shopping crowds Black Friday weekend and head to SX Sky Bar for Thanksgiving-themed bites and drinks. All weekend long, the fashionable chef-driven 6th-floor cocktail lounge adjacent to Hotel Essex will be serving Open Faced Pulled Turkey Sliders, chili-and-brown-sugar-seasoned Sweet Potato Fries served with maple aioli dipping sauce, Roast Corn Fingers with herb butter and chili seasoning and Foie Gras Deviled Eggs. SX Sky Bar will also offer guests a Cinnamon Gimlet. Reservations are available through SX Sky Bar’s website, but walk-ins are also welcome! More info.

Where: SX Sky Bar, 808 S. Michigan Ave. 

When: Friday, Nov. 29-Sunday, Dec. 1

The most wonderful time of the year deserves the most wonderful event of the year. For that, Lincoln Park Zoo invites you to join them in celebrating 25 years of ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. This one-of-a-kind, festive holiday experience offers a free, merry, family-oriented celebration of joy right in the heart of the city. ZooLights features hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities, all under the glow of 2.5 million lights. Ice sculpture carving, strolling carolers and Santa are regular fixtures of the event, but you'll also find ticketed happenings like a holiday market (Dec 3), an adults-only night (Dec 5), a live performance of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas (Dec 15) and a Zoo Year's Eve celebration (Dec 31). More info.

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.

When: Fridays, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Jan. 5

More than one million lights cover the trees, fences and structures in the Brookfield Zoo at this annual holiday event. Attendees are encouraged to sing carols to the animals, explore the zoo's indoor exhibits and view light shows. This year, Holiday Magic will feature a Chicago Wolves skating rink, where visitors can slide around while admiring the decorations. More info.

Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield

When: Saturday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Dec. 31

The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts a new display of festive lights, giving guests a host of shimmering reasons to visit the forest preserve during the holiday season. Set along a one-mile path, the night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light. At times, you’ll find yourself in the center of it all — stepping inside a cathedral of golden light, walking down an avenue of luminous linden trees, moving through colorful ribbons of light. More info.

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe 

When: Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Jan. 5

It's that time of year again! Yup the shopping season in Chicago is upon us and where else can you find those one-of-a-kind gifts other than shopping in small business for the holidays? The Absolutely Anything Essential Gift Shop of Chicago has everything you want and need, with three levels of shopping, eating, creating, learning, networking and more. More info.

Where: Absolutely Anything Essential Gift Shop, 3521 S. King Dr.

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Every year, Millennium Park is adorned with an epic Christmas tree that remains on display until the beginning of the new year. The larger-than-life attraction is festooned with twinkling lights and crowned with an illuminated star—and it's not too far of a walk from Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Spectators can check out the festive tree near Washington Street and Michigan Avenue through Monday, January 6, 2020. More info.

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave. 

When: Now through Monday, Jan. 6.

When the weather gets cold, the trees at Morton Arboretum light up in a sea of color at this popular winter event. Guests at Illumination walk down a one-mile path through the forest, admiring the magical display and seasonal music. Enjoy the display while strolling along a one-mile path and then warm up by a crackling fire with hot beverages and s’mores. More info.

Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte 53, Lisle 

When: Saturday, Nov. 23-Jan. 5, first entry at 4:30 p.m., last entry at 8:30

Every year, the Museum of Science and Industry puts up its 45-foot-tall Grand Tree and surrounds the towering pine with more than 50 trees that represent Chicago's various communities and their respective holiday celebrations. Visitors can admire the 30,000 lights that cover the trees and stick around for the "snow" that falls from the rotunda every 30 minutes. During the weekend, live performances of holiday music fill the room, lending some additional seasonal cheer to your day at the museum. More info.

Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lakeshore Dr.

When: Thursday, Nov. 14-Sunday, Jan. 5

You haven't experienced the holidays in Chicago until you've stepped into this giant open-air market inspired by a similar seasonal tradition in Nuremberg, Germany. At Christkindlmarket, guests can shop handcrafted items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins and glass ornaments and nibble on potato pancakes, hot pretzels, schnitzel, döner and chocolate-covered treats. And no trip to Christkindlmarket is complete without a steaming mug of Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine (there's also hot cocoa for the kids) – and don’t forget to order it in the keepsake boot mug! More info.

Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.

When: Friday, Nov. 15-Dec. 24; Sunday-Thursday,11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent skates for $13–$15. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don't feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. Take advantage of free skating lessons on Fridays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 8, weather permitting. More info.

Where: Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave. 

When: Friday, Nov. 15-March 8 (weather permitting)

Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, with the city's sweeping skyline as a backdrop, the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is a winter attraction unlike any other. The skating ribbon is dramatically different from typical civic ice rinks, creating a multi-sensory activity that is integrated into the landscape. Skaters can experience “alpine in the city” as they lace up their ice skates and follow a path twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink. More info.

Where: Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St. 

When: Friday, Nov. 15-March (weather permitting)

The Cubs may be hibernating for the winter, but Gallagher Way provides some excellent reasons to hang out in Wrigleyville during baseball's off-season. The public square's Winterland event series offers an array of seasonal, family-friendly activities, including an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, holiday movie screenings and visits from Santa Claus. Beloved holiday bazaar Christkindlmarket also hosts an outpost at Gallagher Way, bringing shopping and glühwein north of the Loop. Plus, look out for wreath-making workshops, breakfasts with Santa and a tree lot at Big Star. More info.

Where: Gallagher Way, 3637 N. Clark St.  

When: Friday, Nov. 15-March (weather permitting)

Parkway Bank Park will kick off its winter programming Friday with the opening of the Chicago Wolces Ice Rink at the Parkway Bank Park “Light Up The Park” tree lighting event, featuring a spectacular display of more than 80,000 lights in the park Family-friendly festivities include ice skating, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free horse-drawn sleigh rides, holiday carolers and ice carving viewing. Rosemont’s Mayor Brad Stephens arrives at 5:30 p.m. to officially illuminate the Park. More info. 

Where: Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Pl., Rosemont  

When: Friday, 5:30 p.m. tree lighting; ice skating from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Join Glenview as they kick-off the holiday season with their annual Holiday in the Park & Parade. Follow the parade down Glenview Road from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church going west to Jackman Park.  Festivities in the park include a visit with Santa, hay rides, a train ride for kids, carolers, cookies, hot chocolate and popcorn. More info.

Where: Jackman Park, 1930 Prairie St., Glenview    

When: Saturday, 4-6 p.m.

Santa Claus is coming to Geneva Commons, transported not by reindeer, but by a red vintage firetruck. He comes, along with the St. Charles North High School Dance Team, to light the Christmas tree on The Green. Tree lighting takes place at 5 p.m., followed by Santa visits for the kids from 5:30-7 p.m. More info.

Where: Geneva Commons, 602 Commons Dr., Geneva    

When: Friday, 5 p.m.

It’s Lake Forest’s first Cocoa Crawl. Bring friends and family, pick up your passports, and jump on board the Northern Trust Holly Trolley for a swing through the wonderful businesses in downtown Lake Forest. Be sure to stop first at the "Cocoa Crawl Station" (at the former J Crew store) in Market Square to grab a passport to take on your tour, then visit participating businesses to get your passport stamped while enjoying shopping discounts, nibbles and sips, and some good old-fashioned fun. When done return your passport and you will be entered in the drawing. More info.

Where: Start at "Cocoa Crawl Station" in Market Square (Behind holiday tree in Market Square)

When: Saturday, 1-5 p.m.

Join Santa’s Village for their Magical Christmas Days! Enjoy rides, seasonal entertainment, holiday shopping, festive treats, and so much more. Make sure to stay until the end of the day to enjoy a half million beautiful twinkling lights throughout the park including multiple light shows! More info.

Where: Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, 601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee    

When: Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 22

Cheer on the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday when they take the ice to play the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center! More info.

Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.

When: Friday, 3 p.m.

Cost: Varies