Winter is coming- and so is the holiday season! This weekend marks the beginning of the Christmas season! Check out our picks for getting your cheer on this weekend!

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is back! This is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season- with a memorable display of lights along the main thoroughfare in downtown Chicago. Over a million lights illuminate the Magnificent Mile during this family-friendly event, featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse as parade grand marshals. The festivities begin tonight at 4 pm, with more than a dozen family-friendly events, live music, and a visit from Santa Claus! There will also be delicious holiday treats from Connie’s Pizza, Garret’s Popcorn, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, and more. The festivities continue tomorrow at 11 am- with a full lineup of events during the day! The parade begins at 5:30 pm, stepping off from Oak Street and North Michigan Avenue. Check out the full schedule here!

Tonight is the 104th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony! This is a Chicago tradition- a giant, glittering tree set among Chicago’s skyline, nestled in Millennium Park. Chicago’s 104th Christmas tree was donated by Darlene Dorfler of Grayslake, Illinois. The huge 62-foot Norway spruce was selected out of 71 submissions! The ceremony will be led by WGN’s Demetrius Ivory and Erin Ivory. There will also be a special appearance by Mr. And Mrs. Claus! Admission to the Tree Lighting Ceremony is free and begins at 6 pm.

Today is the first day of Chriskindlmarket! This has been one of Chicago’s favorite Christmas traditions since 1996. This year Chriskindlmarket has 3 different locations: Daley Plaza, Naperville, and The Park at Wrigley. The market offers a unique holiday shopping experience. There are handblown and painted ornaments, nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and more! There is also a variety of food and beverage options, including beer and wine, baked cheese, Austrian strudel, schnitzel, curry fries, and much more! Admission to the market is free and it’s open daily! Hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 11 am to 8 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 9 pm. 

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens today! Located in Millenium Park, the rink opens at noon and will remain open until Sunday March 4, 2018. Skating is free and open to the public! Skate rentals are available for $12 Mondays through Thursdays and $14 Fridays through Sundays (and on holidays). Hours are Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 8 pm, Fridays from noon to 10 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm. Find more detailed information about special holiday hours here.

Take your kiddos to Cookie Decorating Day tomorrow! Located at IRL on Level 3 of Water Tower Place, this is the perfect way to get into the spirit before the lights parade. Complimentary sugar cookies are provided, as well as decorating kits. There will also be complimentary personalized monogramming from home accessories brand Kassatex. Decorating is open from 11 am to 3 pm.