CHICAGO — It’s time to swap out pumpkins for peppermint and skeletons for sleigh bells.
Celebrate the coming holidays with the return of Chicago’s iconic winter festivities, including the annual tree lighting in Millennium Park, Christkindlmarket and ZooLights.
There’s also a Viking pub crawl happening in Andersonville, a West Loop wine night, a classical Indian dance festival at the Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts and more.
Here’s a roundup of 28 things to do in Chicago this weekend:
Gothics As Aesthetic & Political Practice
5-6:30 p.m. Thursday
Northeastern Illinois University, Avondale/El Centro Campus, 3390 N. Avondale Ave.
Four Chicago creatives — cheesemonger Alisha Norris, weaver Anders Zanichowsky, death doula Nicole Daigle and DJ Flores Negras — will discuss how Gothic aesthetics shape their work and politics. You can browse and sample their creations after the discussion. This event is free and open to the public; reserve a spot here.
Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.; Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark St. and suburban Aurora
Chicago’s beloved holiday market opens Friday, bringing holiday cheer, three iconic Christmas mugs and the market’s first-ever beer stein. Also new this year: a Christkindlmarket fast pass that lets you skip the lines. Each market location features dozens of vendors, local and international food, merchandise booths and unique mug designs. Find more information on each location here.
90-minute skate sessions from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday
Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.
Skate between the city’s skyscrapers at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, which opens for the season Friday. Skate rentals start at $16; online tickets are required. Skate aides, skate sharpening and locker rentals are available for additional fees of $2-10. Free skating lessons will be offered 9-10 a.m. most Saturday and Sunday mornings. Learn more here.
Kicks off 4:30 p.m. Friday and runs through Jan. 7
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.
The Lincoln Park Zoo will once again transform into a winter wonderland with interactive Christmas lights, including a light tunnel and 65-foot Ferris wheel. There will also be professional ice carvers, carolers, hot chocolate, fire pits and more. Tickets are available online.
City Of Chicago Tree Lighting Ceremony
5-7 p.m. Friday
Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago’s iconic Christmas tree will once again illuminate Millennium Park this weekend. Watch as the spruce is lit up, plus enjoy performances from DJs, musical casts, dance groups, bands and more. Find more information and the livestream here.
Chill Set: Under 25 Night At The NMMA
6-10 p.m. Friday
National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.
Any and all Chicagoans under 25 are invited to the Pilsen museum’s annual Chill Set night. Enjoy access to the museum’s galleries, food, live music and more. There will be sexual health information from local organizations like Planned Parenthood and Howard Brown Health Center, and free condoms will be available. Sign up for free online.
7-8:30 p.m. Friday
Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave.
Enjoy experimental performances by Asian American and Pacific Islander dancers from Chicago, Japan and Taiwan at the Bridge Dance Festival, which highlights Japanese and Asian art. General admission tickets start at $16 online.
Noon-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.
Enjoy holiday shopping, live entertainment and concessions at this seasonal market, which opens alongside the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The market features dozens of local creators selling jewelry, pottery, drawings, paintings and more.
Various times Friday-Sunday
Block 37, 108 N. State St.
Bring the classic whodunit game of Clue to life with a holiday edition kicking off this Friday. Set mostly indoors at Block 37, participants will search for clues to solve a murder and get Christmas deals at participating vendors. All ages are welcome; children under 5 get free admission. Tickets are $35 online.
10 a.m.-noon Saturday
Chicago Fair Trade Pop-Up Shop & Museum, 2352 N. Clark St.
The Chicago Fair Trade Pop-Up Shop is hosting a dye workshop this weekend. Participants will learn how to dye an organic cotton t-shirt using shibori, a Japanese resist dyeing technique. Tickets are $95, which includes admission, shibori supplies and a t-shirt. RSVP online.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive
During the museum’s annual holiday event, you can admire more than 50 twinkling holiday trees, each decorated to represent a different country, and enjoy live cultural performances, Santa, a meet-and-greet with a Chicago Cubs player, slime-based activities and storytelling. This event is included with museum entry.
11 a.m.-noon Saturday
Uptown Chicago Public Library, 929 W. Buena Ave.
Hear five Native American stories, mostly of HoChunk origin, from Chief White Winnebago. This event is free and open to all ages. Masks are strongly encouraged for all Chicago Public Library locations.
Noon-2 p.m. Saturday
Northerly Island Park, 1521 S. Linn White Drive
Learn how to carve your own marshmallow stick and enjoy a bonfire with marshmallows during this family-friendly outdoor activity. All ages are welcome.
3-6 p.m. Saturday
Kicks off at Meeting House Tavern, 5025 N. Clark St. (Check-in starts at 2 p.m.)
Hundreds of revelers will take to Clark Street this weekend for Andersonville’s 6th annual Viking Pub Crawl. Neighbors are invited to dress as Vikings as they sample drinks from 11 participating locations, including Boca Loca Cantina, Lonesome Rose, Fiya, Simon’s Tavern and more. Tickets are $35 online. They include an appetizer at check-in, discounts at participating bars and a commemorative glass.
3-8 p.m. Saturday
Along Kinzua Avenue between Devon and Leoti
Shop local at this one-day pop-up winter market in downtown Edgebrook. There is a $5 suggested donation upon entry.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Plumbers Hall, 1341 W. Randolph St.
Shop vintage and antique fashion, collectibles and more from over 125 vendors at the final Randolph Street Market of the season. Shoppers can also enjoy craft cocktails, fancy foods, music, kids’ crafts and more. General admission tickets are $12 online. Discounts are available for seniors, students, military, first responders and groups.
Noon-6 p.m. Sunday
Milieu by DPS, 2134 W. 18th St.
Nonprofit organization Deaf Planet Soul is hosting a communal Thanksgiving luncheon with unlimited food, beverages and desserts. Indulge in holiday classics including roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Tickets are $15 a person, ages 13 and up. Children 12 and under get in free. Sign up online.
1-3 p.m. Sunday
Japanese Culture Center, 2940 N. Lincoln Ave.
Learn self-defense techniques including situational awareness, assessing vulnerabilities in an attacker, escaping from different attacks and more during this free neighborhood workshop. Sign up here.
1-4 p.m. Sunday
WNDR Museum, 1130 W. Monroe St.
Social Works, Chance the Rapper’s nonprofit empowering Chicago youth, hosts its longstanding OpenMike event this weekend. It offers a non-competitive space for young creators ages 14-24 to express themselves and share their creativity. Entry is free, and attendees will be able to explore WNDR installations throughout the event. RSVP online.
2-7 p.m. Sunday
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.
Celebrate Indian traditional classic dance forms from Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi to Kathak at this five-hour fest with The Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts. This event is free and open to all ages. It’s part of the Chicago Presents program by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. RSVP online.
6-7:30 p.m. Sunday
St. Alphonsus Church, 1429 W. Wellington Ave.
Watch as the neighborhood Christmas tree lights up, sing holiday carols, enjoy doughnuts and hot chocolate, plus meet Santa, Elsa and Olaf.
6-10 p.m. Sunday
All Together Now, 2119 W. Chicago Ave.
Enjoy a night of wine and French culture at Sommelier Sunday, a wine night in collaboration with West Loop luxury retailer SVRN and natural wine shop All Together Now. The event is free to attend, and food and wine will be available for purchase from a special menu. Music will be playing all night long to “transport” guests to the French countryside.
PLUS: Six Picks From Our Partners At
6 p.m. Friday
Radius, 640 W. Cermak Road
See hits like “Smack That” with Akon this Friday at Radius.
6 p.m. Friday
Tin Roof Chicago, 3519 N. Clark St.
Tin Roof is finally opening in Chicago. Don’t miss the grand opening this Friday.
7 p.m. Saturday
House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St.
Vibe the weekend away with Moon Taxi’s hits at House of Blues on Saturday night.
8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
The Salt Shed, 1357 N. Elston Ave.
Party and sing along to English indie rock band alt-j this Saturday at The Salt Shed.
8 p.m. Sunday
Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St.
Laugh off the winter blues with Randy Feltface live at Thalia Hall.
The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave.
Head to The Promontory and celebrate the one-year anniversary of Soothe Your Soul Chi: R&B Brunch Experience.
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