From the conditions outside to the numerous holiday-themed events happening across the city, wintertime festivities are fully underway in Chicago.
Friday marked the beginning of many of the city’s holiday events with the 109th annual Christmas tree lighting , taking place in Millennium Park.
Also kicking off Friday was Winterland inside Gallagher Way , this year featuring the opportunity to ice skate inside Wrigley Field, with many more occasions throughout the iconic stadium to get Chicagoans in the holiday spirit.
Here’s a look at the major vacation events that got started this weekend in Chicago:
One of the best Christmas markets in the country returns to three neighborhoods Friday across the Chicago area — Chicago’s Christkindlemarket.
The famed-German-style market offers visitors the opportunity to buy handmade artisan goods and taste international foods while listening to festive tunes. And this year, the Christmas marketplace will take place in three different locations: Wrigleyville, Downtown Chicago, and Aurora.
The Christmas marketplaces all open Friday, Nov. 18. Hours of operation and locations are below.
RiverEdge Park: 360 N. Broadway , Aurora
- Thursdays: 11 a. m. -7 p. m.
- Fridays and Saturdays: 11 a. m. -9 p. m.
- Sundays – 11 a. m. -6 p. m.
- Special hours Dec. 19 to Dec. 21: 11 a. m. -7 p. m.
- Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve: 11 a. m. -4 p. m.
Daley Plaza: 50 W. Washington St ., Chicago
- Sundays to Thursdays: 11 a. m. -8 p. m.
- Fridays and Saturdays: eleven a. m. -9 g. m.
- Special hours Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve: 11 a. meters. -4 p. m.
Wrigleyville: 3635 And. Clark St ., Gallagher Method, Chicago
- Mondays to Thursdays: 3 l. m. -9 p. mirielle.
- Fridays plus Saturdays: 11 a. m. -10 p. m.
- Sundays: 11 a. m. -7 p. meters.
- Special hours Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: 11 a. m. -4 p. m.
- Unique hours Dec. 26-29: eleven a. m. -9 g. m.
Winterland in Gallagher Way
Ever dreamt of running the bases at Wrigley Field? Well, you can’t quite do that this winter. But you can go ice skating in the outfield.
While it’s not the North Pole, it may look (and feel) like that. It’s all part of Winterland at Gallagher Way , which this year includes a number of activities that take place inside the Friendly Confines.
Carnival games, ice tubing, an ice slide and the “Infield Express train” will also grace field, along with holiday music, festive food, beverages and more.
Winterland begins Nov. 18 and runs through Jan. 8. Admission to Gallagher Way activities, including the Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville and Santa’s Workshop, will be free.
Tickets, priced at $5, will be required for access to the Wrigley Field portion of Winterland. Attraction tickets will also be required to get on rides and to skate on the rink, according to officials.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
The 31st annual Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Event takes place throughout the weekend, beginning on Fri afternoon with a tree lighting ceremony at 401 In. Michigan Ave.
On Saturday Nov. 19, Pioneer Court will be transformed into a “Lights Festival Lane” holiday village, with holiday booths, family holiday activities and more.
At 5: 30 l. m., the festival will culminate with a grand Tree-Lighting Parade, where Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will light up more than 200 trees along the Magnificent Mile, with the help of Santa Claus, marching bands, holiday floats and more.
The parade steps off at N. Michigan Ave. and Oak Street and will head south.
Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management says the following street closures are in effect for the parade beginning Saturday, Nov. 19:
Closed from 3: 30 to 7: 30 p. m.
- Oak Road from State Street to Michigan Avenue
- North Michigan Avenue through Oak Street to Wacker Drive
- Upper Wacker Drive from Wabash Avenue to east turnaround
Closed from 5 p. m. in order to 7: 30 p. mirielle.
- Top Columbus Drive from Wacker Drive to Randolph Street
Closed through 8 a. m. to 6 p. m.
- Clark Street (east curb lane only from Oak Street in order to Delaware Street)
- Delaware Street from Dearborn Street to Clark Road (north curb lane only)
- Oak Street from Clark Street to State Street
- Dearborn Street from Delaware Road to Maple Street
- Walton Street from State Street to Clark Street
Closed from 3: 30 to 9 p. m.
- Upper Columbus Drive (the curb lanes from Wacker Drive in order to Randolph Street)
- Randolph Street (curb lane from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive)
- Intermittent closures based on traffic conditions
Ice Skating from McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, Millennium Park Art Market
Another attraction that opened for the season on Friday is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and the Millennium Park Art Market.
Entrance to the ice rink is free, but reservations are required. Reservations for session times and dates vary and can be found here . Skate rentals are extra.
Millennium Park’s Art Market, featuring local artists selling jewelry, pottery, art and more, begins November. 18 and runs through Nov. 20.
Lincoln Park ZooLights
The longtime tradition on Lincoln Park Zoo opened up on Friday, with a slate of attractions in store for visitors. A Ferris wheel, an expansive light tunnel and re-envisioned light shows are some of the event’s highlights, according to the zoo.
ZooLights will run from 4: 30 in order to 10 p. m. Nov. 18-23, 25-30, Dec. 2-14, 16-23, 26-31 and Jan. 1 . Of the dates, tickets to the show will be free Nov. 21 and 28, as well as Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26.
Tickets are available right here and cost $5 Tuesdays through Sundays.