Christmas in Chicago Bucket List

Christmas truly is the most magical time of year in Chicago.  Twinkly lights are everywhere, good tidings abound, the temperatures aren’t too chilly yet, and there are so many fun things to do as a family.  So take advantage of this amazing time of year and tackle some of the adventures on my Christmas in Chicago Bucket List.

Check out the window displays at Macy’s on State Street.

Drive around and see some of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in the area.  My favorites?  The private homes in both Park Ridge and Sauganash.

Visit the light displays at Chicagoland’s fabulous zoos, including Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, and Cosley Zoo.

Check out the “Trees Around the World” display at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Check out the BRAND NEW Lightscape exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Enjoy a delicious and unique Breakfast with Santa experience.

Go ice skating at one of the outdoor rinks in the area.  My favorites are in Rosemont and the ribbon at Maggie Daley Park.

Catch the CTA Holiday Train using my tried-and-true tips!

Visit the Morton Arboretum’s unique light display Illumination.”

Ride the AUTHENTIC and OFFICIAL Polar Express out of Union Station.

Enjoy some donuts, potato pancakes, and drinks from a boot at a Christkindle market. If you can manage it, try to make a date out of it (it gets pretty crowded for the wee ones). Our favorite is the market set up at the Winterland at Wrigley!

Enjoy a day of fun and adventure at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest.

Visit the “Home Alone” house in Winnetka and then go home, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a movie viewing!


Tell me, what are YOUR favorite Christmas activities to do as a family?


Looking for other Christmas fun in Chicagoland?  Then this page is for you.

Merry Christmas!


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  1. Tammilee Tips says

    I had not realized that there was so much to do in Chicago. I love that cities always have so many different Christmas function to go to and attend. The zoo lights are always a favorite of mine to go to.

    • Amanda says

      We love the Zoo Lights, too! We schedule our brunch with Santa for later in the day so we can check out all of the beautiful lights at Brookfield Zoo!

  2. Brittany Bly says

    This sounds like so much fun. I love that you included links for all of the cool things to do that you mention. I’ll be clicking around here for a while. LOL! Can you please give me my day back??

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