There are so many fun things you can do in Chicago any time of the year and the winter months are no different. December is one of the busiest and coldest months of the year but don't let the cold and snow deter you from experiencing the Christmas parties, markets, and concerts aplenty.

Here are the best and most fun things to do in Chicago in December:


Christkindlmarket, which starts in November and runs all the way ‘til Christmas Eve, is Chicago’s largest open-air market. The market, which is held at the Daley Plaza, is largely German-influenced and a favorite for both locals and tourists, who come to purchast holiday items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, wooden handicrafts, and authentic German food.

Ice Skating at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Ice skating is such an integral part of Christmas. There’s nothing like practicing those twists and turns, or gliding on the ice, made more enjoyable in Chicago’s largest outdoor skating rink.

Enjoy skating over 16,000 square feet of space at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park from November 17, 2017 through March 4, 2018. Admission is free, if you bring your own skates. If not, you can always rent a pair at $12 each.


After Thanksgiving, Lincoln Park turns into a lighting spectacular during their Zoolights event. Besides the iconic lights display, attendees can enjoy other activities, including ice carving demonstrations, photos with Santa, carnival rides, Christmas food and holiday shopping. Check Lincoln Park Zoo’s event calendar for Zoolights dates.

Chicago’s Christmas Tree

Although Chicago’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony happened last November 17, it’s still a great idea to drop by Millennium Park to take selfies with the tree, The Bean (Cloud Gate), and maybe even catch a caroling performance while you're at it!

The Nutcracker

The Joffrey Ballet Chicago presents their adaptation of the timeless Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, for the entire month of December. Journey into the world where young Marie Stahlbaum’s favorite toy, The Nutcracker, comes alive. It’s perfect for families with children as young as 5 years old. Tickets are available on the Joffrey Ballet website.

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

Now on its 17th year, Navy Pier’s annual indoor winter fair is packed with lots of family fun! Featuring over 170,000 square feet of space, there’s enough room for winter golf, a 15-foot “snow tubing” hill, an Arctic Express train ride, a Chicago Blackhawks ice skating rink, and more!

Christmas Around the World

Explore Christmas traditions around the world at the annual showcase presented by the Museum of Science and Industry. A much-loved tradition that started in 1942, today’s annual celebration highlights the 45-foot, floor-to-dome Giant Tree, surrounded by 50 other beautifully decorated trees representing various ethnic groups. The exhibit runs until January 7, 2018.

Chicago Resolution Gala

Navy Pier’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show are unlike any other and revelers flock to the Pier to watch the lighting display once the clock hits twelve. Get the best seats in the house when you attend the Chicago Resolution Gala, which will be held at Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom. Now on its sixth year, the event attracts over 3,000 guests yearly. With over 30 bars pouring unlimited drinks, a fully stocked buffet table, and top DJs, it’s the perfect place to ring in the New Year!

Fun Things to Do in Chicago in December

Which of these fun things to do in Chicago in December will you be taking part in?