THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Having Your Merriest Christmas Ever!

This is it folks!  The last weekend before we celebrate Christmas on Monday.  And, whether you’re all set or just getting started, Chicago’s holiday events and traditions will make this the merriest Christmas you’ve ever had!!

Explore rich holiday traditions from around the globe at the 75th anniversary of the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights this Saturday (9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) and Sunday (9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) in the Hyde Park neighborhood (5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.).  As is tradition, this annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree in the rotunda, decked out in 30,000 twinkling lights.  Surrounding it is a forest of more than 50 trees (beautifully decorated by volunteers) representing various cultures and holiday traditions. There are three additional trees this year from Assyria, Australia, and Nigeria.  Guests can also enjoy live holiday performances, as well as the occasional falling of “snow” adding to the fun!

Another great family holiday tradition takes you to one of Chicago’s north suburbs for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Wonderland Express this Saturday (8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.).  Located in Glencoe (1000 Lake Cook Rd.), this wonderland features a railroad garden complete with magnificent model toy trains winding their way through plantings, onto overhead bridges, and past 80 miniature, meticulously crafted recreations of Chicago’s most famous buildings and landmarks!  Plus, carolers will make Wonderland Express sing this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Best of all – there’s even indoor snow!!

There’s still time to head over to the Lincoln Park Zoo (2200 N. Cannon Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for their free lights festival ZooLights this Saturday (4:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.). Catch it before they close down for two days! They will resume on December 26th and stay open through January 7th.  Not only will guests get to enjoy the more than two million lights illuminating the zoo grounds, including larger-than-life illuminated animal designs, but they’ll also have an opportunity to do holiday crafts, take pictures with Santa, watch live ice carving, enjoy animal encounters, and so much more!  Join in the brilliance of this fun, free holiday celebration!!

Last one of the holiday season!  Don your ugliest Christmas sweater and join others in full holiday spirits at Saturday’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Crawl in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  This crawl will pass through the breathtaking ZooLights display at the Lincoln Park Zoo and will end with a vote on the ugliest sweater of the crawl.  The lucky winner will receive a Starbucks gift card and be personally chauffeured via the Polar Express!

A Chicagoland favorite holiday tradition since 1996, the Christkindlmarket Chicago located in the Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) in the Loop has expanded to two other locations — the Park at Wrigley and Naperville, a suburb west of Chicago.  These open-air, German-style markets showcase handmade ornaments, accessories, clothing, and gifts from dozens of vendors for the perfect last minute gift!  And, while you’re browsing, don’t forget to enjoy spiced wine, strudel, sausage, and other traditional German treats!  After all, it’s your last chance to shop ‘til you drop, or until you’ve had one too many spiced wines!!

And finally, there’s always Holiday Theater in Chicago for some unwinding time!  Enjoy old and new favorites such as “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre, “The Christmas Schooner” at the Mercury Theater, “Mrs. Claus: A Holiday Musical” at the Beverly Arts Center of Chicago, “The Customer Is Always Right – Holiday Edition” at The Annoyance Theatre, Ken Ludwig’s “Twas The Night Before Christmas” at the Broadway Playhouse and many others!!