Chicago winter has officially arrived. Stay warm by attending one of the many indoor events listed here. Head to the Art Institute for a day of culture, kids under 14 are free or maybe another free event at Chicago Architecture Foundation building a city out of blocks! If you plan to brave the cold, then maybe a festive gathering of caroling at Cloud Gate. Whatever you choose to do, there is lots to pick from here. For a full list, check out the events calendar page.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2016
Free Kids Entry at Art Institute of Chicago
What: Friday may be a half day for many school kids to kick start the holiday break! If so, this may be a perfect opportunity to head to the Art Institute. With free admission for kids under 14, the Art Institute is a perfect family outing! Explore many family-friendly art-making activities, self-guides, games, and more.
Date/Time: All weekend Friday to Sunday, 10:30 AM to 5 PM
Cost: Free for kids under 14
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Drop In French Class for Kids
What: What better way to learn French then along with your bébé. This is a drop in class for ages 0 - 3 years. Adventure together with some first steps into the whimsical My French Neighborhood. Instructor Shara Doliget will share whimsical stories while you and your little one absorb a little language as short French words and phrases are sprinkled in with music and song. Imaginative interactive play is around every corner in My French Neighborhood. It's fun to be in the neighborhood and you will fit right in!
Date/Time: Friday, December 16, 2016 from 10:15 AM to 11 AM
Age: Babies and Toddlers
Cost: $10 cash to drop in
Sprout San Francisco
1943 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Caroling at Cloud Gate
What: Holiday Music is in the Air with caroling at Cloud Gate! Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along. Local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Following Caroling at Cloud Gate, head a few steps down to the McCormick Tribune Plaza for a spin on the McCormick Tribune ice rink in Millennium Park. Visitors will also be able to enjoy views of the official City of Chicago Christmas Tree and take a spin at the nearby McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.
Date/Time: December 16, 2016 at 6 - 7 PM
Millennium Park, Cloud Gate
Michigan Ave and Randolph
Chicago, IL 60602
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2016
Cookie Decorating with Santa at Hilton Chicago
What: Can you think of a better way to get in the spirity of the season? Join our Pastry Chef’s for cookie decorating this holiday season and enjoy a sweet start to the season at this event that is free.
Date/Time: Saturday, December 17, 2016, 10 AM to 1 PM
720 S. Michigan Ave
Winter Fun Festival at Chicago Architecture Foundation
What: Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but we’re having lots of fun at CAF! Drop in any time between 10am and 2pm for a special winter celebration full of hands-on activities and, of course, some hot chocolate with marshmallows. We'll design and build a mixed-media dream gingerbread house, draw some of our favorite places in Chicago and build a city made out of blocks. You and your family will create winter-themed arts and crafts, learn about iconic Chicago architecture and build with a variety of blocks and building tools in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio.
Date/Time: Saturday, Dec 17, 2016, Drop by anytime between 10 AM and 2 PM
Age: Though all ages are welcome, this event is perfect for families with children ages 3-14.
Chicago Architecture Foundation
ArcelorMittal Design Studio
224 S. Michigan Ave.
A Christmas Carol
What: There's no better way to get into the holiday spirit (Chicago Sun-Times) than experiencing the joy of this timeless tale of hope and redemption. Charles Dickens’ messages of hope, charity and kindness towards others mean more than ever this season. Share this heartwarming tradition—chock full of festive music, glorious costumes, and more stage magic than ever—with friends and loved ones. It’s the best show to get at the true meaning of the holidays.
Date/Time: Friday, Dec 16, 2016 at 8 PM, Saturday Dec 17, 2016 at 2 PM and 8 PM, Sunday Dec 18, 2016 at 2 PM and 6:30 PM
The Goodman Theatre
170 N Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60601
What: A Spectacular Celebration of the Season. Zoo Lights is an annual fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. Festive Activities include photos with Santa, free holiday crafts, animal encounters, 3-D displays, musical light shows, warm spiced wine and frosty lager, delicious dinner and snacks, holiday gift shopping, live ice carving every night, rides on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel, rides on the Lionel Train Adventure and ice skating at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Date/Time: Daily from 12/9/2016 - 12/23/2016 at 4:30 to 9 PM
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2016
Christmas Around the World & Holidays of Light
What: It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. On the weekends, you can enjoy live holiday performances, take-home LEGO activities, and optional photos with Santa. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof.
Cost: Included in Museum Admission. Museum entry is $18 for adults and $11 for kids.
Museum of Science & Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
Children’s Holiday Storytelling
What: Visit the Drawing Room Library where friends of all ages will enjoy a special series of our regularly scheduled Storytelling hour. As families get together for the holidays, reading stories has often become a valuable tradition. We’ve invited the bright Angela Watkins in to play music and tell holiday tales celebrating the diverse world we live in.
Date/Time: Sunday, Dec 18, 2016, 10am - 11am
Cost: Free. All are welcome to attend Storytelling, free of charge. Seating is limited and first come, first served. For purchase, we’re pleased to offer Milk and Cookie service for children and a special warm libation for adults.
Chicago Athletic Assoiciation
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Concert for Kids: The Deep Friend Pickles
What: The Deep Friend Pickles are a delectable musical treat. They pride themselves on making JUGaBilly HOKUM music. Founded in '00 as a jug band, 'DFPP' now mixes other American roots forms into the breading batter as well. Bluegrass, Hokum, Folk, Rockabilly, Blues and Honky-Tonk tunes pepper their set lists.
Date/Time: Sunday, December 18, 2016. Doors open at 11 AM, show at 12 PM
Cost: $6 - $7
The Beat Kitchen
2100 W. Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618