THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Pulling Out All the Stops To Welcome The Holiday Season!

I’ve been warning you and now they’re here!  Chicagoans will be pulling out all the stops this weekend to welcome in the holiday season!

Chicagoland’s favorite holiday tradition since 1996 returns to the Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) in The Loop with Christkindlmarket Chicago 2018!  Christkindlmarket offers visitors a unique holiday shopping experience.  Offerings include traditional German food like bratwursts and sauerkraut, potato pancakes, leiberkäse, and of course mulled wine.  Shop German handmade items like beer steins, cuckoo clocks, ornaments, and other crafts.  A German/European candy shop is also a must-see.  The Christkindlmarket is no longer just a German tradition, it has become a Chicago institution!  Don’t forget to pick up some candied nuts made on-site before you leave!!

The 105th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting takes place Friday at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square (201 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop.  Miguel Cervantes, star of Hamilton, will serve as the emcee for the ceremony featuring music, special guests, and fireworks after the lights go on at 6:30 p.m.!  Even Santa Claus will be there!!

The 27th annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival rings in the 2018 holiday season with two days of free, family-friendly activities.  The festival begins Friday (4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.) at the Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) on the Near North Side with a full lineup of activities.  Continuing Saturday at 11:00 a.m. is an interactive wonderland of holiday-themed activities, a Kids’ Zone, and samples from crowd favorites Garrett Popcorn, Frango, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, and more!  The fun culminates with the grand Tree-Lighting Parade down North Michigan Avenue with grand marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse direct from Walt Disney World® Resorts in Florida!  Keep your eyes out for Santa Claus as well!!

The Madison Square Garden Company presents a limited holiday engagement of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas-The Musical at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.) in The Loop from November 16-25.  It’s a heartwarming, whimsical holiday classic live on stage!

Perfectly timed as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, the 16th annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair returns to Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood on Saturday (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).  It is an unsurpassed celebration of play for kids, parents, and grandparents; as well as toy and game enthusiasts with hundreds, if not thousands, of toys and games!  Costumed characters, deep discounts for the hottest toys and games for the holidays, giveaways, stage events, magic shows, contests, and more are all part of the fair as well.  After all, it’s the largest playdate in the world at the largest toy store you’ve ever seen; so come out & play!!

Come out and enjoy a fun-filled game of bowling at Pinstripes’ Bowl A Turkey, Give A Turkey, Get A Turkey located at 435 E. Illinois Street in the Streeterville neighborhood on Saturday & Sunday.  Help raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry and its mission to end childhood hunger!

It’s Turkey Time on Thursday, November 22nd, and Uncle Dan’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (new sponsor this year) kicks off the holiday season with a fun-filled morning (8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.) in the heart of downtown Chicago on State Street from Congress to Randolph!  As usual this parade features the nation’s best marching bands, giant popular inflatable balloons, spectacular performance acts, and much more!!  It’s a great way to begin your Thanksgiving Day!!!

Tired of hosting Thanksgiving dinner?  Well, here’s Chicago’s Thanksgiving Dining Guide as an alternative!