When visiting Chicago during the winter months, take advantage of this citywide imitative featuring holiday fun and special hotel rates from mid-November through late February. Highlights include themed weekend celebrations, and explosion of shopping, dining and hotel deals and hospitality packages.
Other special events to see during Winter Delights include the Magnificent Lights Festival, the State Street Thanksgiving Parade, Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker, the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show, the City of Chicago's New Year's Eve Fireworks and much more...

Our Picks

Chicago Auto Show

First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. 2013 marks the 114th edition of the show.


Black History Month - 2013

Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in most countries worldwide in the month of February, while in the UK it is held in the month of October.
The remembrance originated in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as "Negro History Week". Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. Woodson also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Chicago Auto Show

First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. 2013 marks the 114th edition of the show.

Chicago Boat - RV and Outdoors Show

Whether it's on land or in water, the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show is the destination choice for outdoor enthusiasts. As the biggest show in the Midwest, exhibitors fill over 350, 000 square feet of exhibit space with over 600 boats, 200 RV's and hundreds of booths filled with marine accessories, travel resorts and outfitters. The show is the place to view, board and buy everything you need for summer fun.

Chicago Cultural Center - Sunday Salon Series

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs continues its Sunday Salon Series of innovative music and performance programs in Winter/Spring 2009. The series is one of the most popular at the Chicago Cultural Center and regularly draws capacity crowds. The weekly series, which began in 2000, showcases a wide variety of classical music by local, national and internationally based classical artists.

Chicago Cultural Center - Winter Exhibitions

Winter 2009 Exhibitions
This season features  a retrospective of abstract artist William Conger.

Chicago Greeter: Magnificent Mile InstaGreeter

November 4 through December 31 – Fridays and Saturdays
Just in time for the holidays, Chicago Greeter will offer free, one-hour walks of North Michigan Avenue and the surrounding area with local residents who provide information and insights on the Streeterville and Gold Coast neighborhoods; landmarks such as the John Hancock Center and the former Playboy Mansion, historic hotels and cathedrals; and best bets for holiday shopping. Departing from the Water Works Visitor Information Center, all InstaGreeter walks are first-come, first-served and limited to groups of six or fewer.

Chicago Humanities Festival

Since 1990, world-renowned authors, scholars, poets, policy-makers, artists and performers have gathered each November at Chicago's many cultural institutions to celebrate the power of ideas in human culture. This year, the theme is “ Laughter.” Festival events will invite attendees to consider the many ethnic and cultural shadings of laughter, the battles around humor and political correctness, gallows humor and medical ethics, laughter as imagined by artists including

Chicago Restaurant Week 2012!

Tables are set at over 130 tantalizing eateries throughout the city for the 2nd Annual Chicago Restaurant Week. Food lovers will enjoy amazing opportunities to revisit their favorite spots – or sample some they've always wanted to try – for just $22.00 for 3-course prix-fixe lunches and $32.00 for 3-course prix-fixe dinners (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity).
Restaurants may offer lunch or dinner, or both, as a participant in Chicago Restaurant Week. 

Chicago Winter WonderFest

‘Tis the season to have too much fun at the 12th annual Winter WonderFest presented by Bank of America with great value every day! With Free Parking Packages, Special Seasonal Parking Rates at Navy Pier and Extra Savings on Special Discount Days, you will find more reasons to bring your family to Winter WonderFest this holiday season!

Free admission.
Admission to Winter WonderFest is free. Activity Wristband purchase is required to participate in rides and attractions within the event. There are two wristband types: Premium (includes indoor ice skating with skate rental) and Regular (excludes indoor ice skating).


Premium Wristband (includes indoor ice skating)
$20 at box office / $19 online

Regular Wristband (excludes indoor ice skating)
$16 at box office / $15 online

Chicago's 99th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The City of Chicago gets ready for the holidays early and announces the dates for the 98th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is an anticipated family tradition. Festive holiday music begins  and the holiday season in Chicago officially commences at 12:00 pm, when the switch is flipped and the lights begin to sparkle and shine in Daley Plaza. Chicago's massive 90 foot tall holiday tree is comprised of more than 130 smaller Balsam Fir trees illuminated with thousands of lights and hundreds of ornaments. The tradition of an official City tree was initiated back in 1913 was first lit by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park.

Christkindlmarket Chicago

November 20th - December 24th
Daley Center Plaza
The Christkindlmarket is a four week, open-air market modeled after the famous Nuremberg Christmas market dating back to 1545. The market offers shopping opportunities and serves as a winter wonderland meeting place for families and friends.
If you are in the market for authentic German gifts like cuckoo clocks and hand-blown glass ornaments then this is the place for you....


Christkindlmarket Chicago

Daley Plaza will transform itself into a little piece of Germany, known as the Christkindlmarket Chicago. This transformation has been taking place every Holiday season since 1996; and the entire world is invited to witness it. Visitors from as far away as Turkey, Ireland, Mexico and, of course, Germany, flock to the market.
It is estimated that more than 1 million people attend each year.   At the Plaza, visitors will find that the Picasso, which towers over the plaza, will be surrounded by red and white crested huts glowing with warmth and overflowing with curios. Nutcrackers, cuckoo-clocks, beer steins, European chocolates, toys, jewelry, clothing and a wide variety of holiday ornaments are just a few of the items for sale from more than 50 vendor booths.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light 2012
A Museum of Science and Industry time-honored celebration featuring more than 50 dazzling trees, displays and crèches that celebrate holiday customs from around the world. The trees are decorated by members of Chicago’s ethnic community and showcases various global holidays that celebrate light or enlightenment, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali

City Hall Holiday Concert Series

Young Voices Celebrate the 2012!!
Get into the holiday spirit while listening to the classics sung by children's choirs from throughout the city. The City Hall Holiday Concert Series begins December 3st - December 20th with concerts every weekday from Noon to 1:00 pm.
The concerts will take place in the west end of the City Hall lobby (121 N. LaSalle) near the LaSalle Street entrance.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago officially describes itself as a City in a Garden and backs-up that claim with an endless amount of top-notch parks and green space available to any visitor all year round. One of the places you can go to see a great example of an internationally renowned park system is the Garfield Park Conservatory on Chicago’s West Side. Four and a half acres of plants, including a gigantic fern room modeled after prehistoric Illinois. This huge greenhouse was built in 1908 and is one of the oldest and largest in the United States.

Holiday Delights at Chicago's Airports

Holiday Delights at O'Hare and Midway International Airports.
Featured performances included blues, jazz and samba bands, children's choirs, strolling barbershop quartets, dance companies and a visit from Santa.
Free holiday gift wrapping for passengers was provided by Volunteer Airport Ambassadors inside security checkpoints at both O'Hare and Midway. A diverse selection of Christmas and Hanukkah wrapping paper and gift bag designs were available for travelers to select from, including a design created by Gallery 37 students as part of Chicago's internationally recognized job-training program for young people interested in the arts.

Holiday Windows Along The Magnificent Mile

Stroll The Magnificent Mile an enjoy the spirit of the season displayed in windows along the avenue. Magnificent Mile retailers decorate their window and holiday glamor in competition to win one of nine awards. Select your favorite window display among the following participants.

  • American Girl Place
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Chiaroscuro
  • Crate & Barrel
  • Fogal of Switzerland
  • H2O Plus
  • Lester Lampert
  • Macy's
  • Max Mara
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Pottery Barn
  • Room and Board
  • Tiffany & Co.

International Kennel Club of Chicago

Bring the family to see the one of the largest dog shows in the country, where more than 10,000 purebred dogs from 161 breeds will demonstrate their skills in a variety of competitions.
Visit the dogs and their handlers in the benching area on Saturday and Sunday, visit dog-related vendors, and experience special events and demonstrations like Earth Dog, Canine Drill Team, Search & Rescue and the Puppy Spectacular!

Lakeview Polar Bear Club's 9th Annual Polar Plunge

The swim will take place at Oak Street Beach by the Hancock Building just north of the Magnificent Mile.  All participants should plan on arriving by 11:30 am to register, set up camp, and to allow time for pictures prior to jumping in the cold Lake Michigan Water.

Mayor Daley's Holiday Sports Fest

The Mayor's Office of Special Events presents Mayor Daley's Holiday Sports Festival. So save the date, it's FREE and begins Sunday, December 27th through Monday, December 28th

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