The holidays are always an exciting time of year, especially when you’re in Chicago. From memorable indoor activities to unique outdoor attractions, the city always has something going on. If you’ll be in the Windy City this winter, you know you’ll have an exciting time when you check out some of these best holiday activities in Chicago.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most beloved holiday traditions in the city. This year, the event runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Nov. 19, 2021, to Jan. 2, 2022. During that time, the historic zoo glows brightly with more than 2.5 million colorful lights. While you’re there, you can marvel at the 18-foot holiday tree, check out the fun and whimsical moving displays set to music, try to make your way through the twists and turns of the dazzling light maze, and more.

In addition to beautiful light displays, ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo also offers a variety of festive activities. Santa will stop by the zoo until December 23 so kids can have their picture taken with him. You can head to Snowy’s Spirits & S’more pop-up bar to make a sweet treat at the fire pit and warm up with hot chocolate or spiced wine. The zoo also offers gift shopping, delicious holiday snacks, amusement rides at night, and special events like Adults Night Out and The Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden

If you’re interested in viewing even more magical holiday light displays, head to Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden. This joyous event starts on Nov. 12, 2021, and goes until Jan. 2, 2022. During this immersive experience, you get to explore the 1.25-mile trail after dark and surround yourself with the glow of thousands of twinkling lights.

There are so many different displays around every corner, you never know what you’ll discover next. You can marvel at the beauty of the 110-foot lighted tunnel, hum along to the tunes of the singing trees, and check out the cool lighted waterfall. As you’re enjoying the displays, you can stop by the snack stations at the beginning and middle of the route to get a hot drink and a light bite to eat. The gift shop in the visitor’s center will also be open for holiday shopping.

Millennium Park

Christmas Tree Chicago
Image via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 by chrismetcalfTV

If you’re looking for outdoor events to enjoy this holiday season in Chicago, you’ll definitely want to stop by Millennium Park. The festivities kick off on Nov. 19, 2021, at 6 p.m. with the official City of Chicago Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Washington Street.

You can then lace up your skates and try to keep your balance as you skate around the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. This scenic rink offers amazing views of the city and Cloud Gate, better known as “The Bean.” The rink is open every day from Nov. 19 to March 6. While admission is free, you do have to make online reservations to skate.

If you want to enjoy even more ice skating, you can also head to nearby Maggie Daley Park. This park is known for its unique skating ribbon that twists through the beautiful landscape. Like the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, admission to the Maggie Daley Park rink is free. You simply need to make a reservation.

Plus, be sure to visit Millennium Park every Friday at 6 p.m. from Nov. 26 to Dec. 17 for the Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along. Everyone will have a chance to sing and celebrate holiday music traditions from a variety of different cultures and faiths.


Whether you need to do some holiday shopping for everyone on your gift list or you simply want to experience a unique way to get into a festive spirit, you should visit Christkindlmarket. This free-admission event is the most authentic traditional holiday market of its kind that you can find outside of Europe. It will be open in Daley Plaza from Nov. 19 to Dec. 24, 2021. An incredible variety of local vendors will be selling everything from beautiful glass ornaments and hand-knit gloves to wooden cuckoo clocks and other traditional German crafts.

The Stammtisch Tables in the heated Timber Haus are another favorite tradition at Christkindlmarket. Whether you want to take a break from holiday shopping or enjoy a cozy lunch or dinner with friends and family, you can reserve one of the festively decorated indoor tables and savor delicious German food and drinks. Kids will also enjoy virtual appearances by the Christkind during Christkind Story Time, which occurs every Sunday at 2 p.m. Plus, there are numerous other special events for everyone to enjoy during the market.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The museums around Chicago love to get in the holiday spirit, and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is no exception. Its Christmas Around the World celebration started in 1942 with a single tree. Today, it’s one of the most admired holiday traditions in the city and has grown to include more than 50 trees and displays decorated to represent cultures and holiday traditions from around the world. As you explore the displays, you can learn more about your family’s traditions and discover traditions you never knew about in other countries.

To make your holidays more memorable, the museum is also offering pictures with Santa. The entire family can visit Santa and have their picture taken with him in his festive photo studio inside the holiday store. While you’re at the store, don’t forget to do some holiday shopping for everyone on your gift list! The celebration starts Nov. 17, 2021, and runs until Jan. 3, 2022.

With so much to see and do, the holidays are a special time of year in Chicago. At Allied Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., these are some of our favorite holiday activities to enjoy around the city. Did we forget to mention an activity you love to do? Then please be sure to contact us and let us know so we can add it to this list!