15 events and activities for Thanksgiving and Black Friday
Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Streets (312-744-3315, www.christkindlmarket.com). Subway: Red to Lake, Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph.
Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition to Chicago, featuring an array of German food and drinks, ornaments, crafts and other goods for sale.
"Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights"
Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lakeshore Dr (773-684-1414, msichicago.org). Bus: 6, 10, 55. 9:30am–4pm. Free with general admission.
The MSI's halls are decked with holly—literally—and filled with the sparkles of dozens of holiday lights at this popular annual exhibit. As always, the museum's 45-foot-tall Grand Tree takes center stage in the rotunda with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions. School choral groups perform during the week, and ethnic song and dance performances take place on the weekends in conjunction with the exhibit. All performances are also included in general admission.
The Christmas Schooner
Mercury Theater, 3745 N Southport Ave (773-325-1700, mercurytheaterchicago.org). El: Brown to Southport. 7:30pm. $30–$49.50.
This heart-warming story of the first Christmas tree ship, and the people who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit, is a family favorite every year.
Holiday Thorne Rooms
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 N Michigan Ave (312-443-3600, artic.edu/aic). El: Blue, Red to Jackson; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Adams. Bus: 3, 4, 6, 14, 26, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 151, 157. Metra: Elec Main to Millennium Station. 10:30am–5pm. Free with general admission.
The tiny but joy-filled rooms are back, trimmed in historic holiday finery. This year, the New Orleans and New Mexico rooms join the festive tradition, and the never-before-seen Americana Room from Marshall Field V's private collection will be on display.
McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink
Millennium Park, 55 N Michigan Ave (312-742-1168, millenniumpark.org). El: Blue to Washington; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph; Red to Lake. Bus: 3, 4, 14, 124, 145, 157. Holiday hours 10am–4pm.
Now in its 11th season, this rink is free and open to the public. Skate rentals are available for $10. Visit the website for exceptions to regular hours.
FREE McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade
State Street from Congress to Randolph. 8–11am.
Let New York have its famous procession—Chicago’s has monster-size floats, gigantic helium-balloon characters, upbeat marching bands and countless performance groups that file past the shops of State Street and some 425,000 onlookers during the annual parade. If you’re too busy—or tired—to head downtown, watch a live broadcast of the parade on WGN-TV.