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Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Chicago, Ill.

This Chicago tradition began in 1942. The museum's 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage in the Rotunda, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago's ethnic communities to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions. Stroll through the trees, enjoy falling "snow" and savor  performances on the stage. School choral groups perform during the week, and ethnic song and dance performances take place on the weekends. This year's theme celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Christmas Around the World tradition by celebrating the history, cultures and traditions of the exhibit.

When: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily; extended hours on select days.
Cost: Free with admission

Chasing Eclipses

Adler Planetarium | Chicago, Ill.

Exhibit immerses you in the spine-tingling, goosebump-inducing experience of a solar eclipse. You’ll find inspiration in eclipse chasers from history, discover the cosmic scale of being in the shadow of the Moon, and prepare to chase down the great solar eclipse on August 21.

Cost: Free with museum admission.

Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life

The Field Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Visitors to the exhibition can see some of the most amazing objects in The Field’s collections, including a giant clamshell (that they can touch), a nearly six-foot-long sawfish snout, and a drawer full of now-extinct butterflies with silvery-blue wings. They can also try their hand at sorting seashells into different species and walk into a reconstructed map-lined office of a long-time Museum curator. An interactive touchscreen encourages visitors to explore ancient insects—millions of years old—trapped in amber.

Cost: Included in Discovery and All-Access passes

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea

John G. Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, Ill.

A traveling exhibit featuring massive, colorful sculptures of familiar ocean animals including reef fishes, sharks, octopus, penguins, sea lions and more made entirely of plastic marine debris removed from West Coast beaches. The collection provides a powerful, visual reality of the proliferation of plastic pollution in the world’s waterways through these exquisite representations of marine animals, using flip-flops, bottle caps, packing straps, beverage bottles and thousands more pieces of plastic in every color of the rainbow.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Robot Revolution

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Robot Revolution explores how robots, created by human ingenuity, change how we play, live and work together. The exhibit comes to life with a collection of cutting-edge robots secured from some of the most innovative global robotics companies and universities. Guests have extraordinary opportunities to interact with robots that have rarely been shown to the public before. New robots include a life-sized humanoid robot that greets guests at the entrance of the exhibit, the Cube Solver, who dazzles guests with its lightning-fast ability to solve a Rubik’s cube, a hexapod robot with six snakelike legs that navigates rough terrain and Adept Lynx, a self-navigating industrial robot used in shipping factories.

Cost: $12, $9 kids

Extreme Ice

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Through stunning photographic documentation and time-lapse videography of glaciers, Extreme Ice provides guests an emotionally visual representation of climate change. Artifacts on display include equipment and a customized camera that the photographer used on their expeditions. Guests will also learn about the technological advances James and his team created to capture such compelling footage. Other items on display include protective insulated clothing, helmets and climbing equipment. Guests can also touch and see a real 7-foot-tall ice wall, interact with maps showcasing the potential impact of coastal flooding around the world, see how rising temperatures will affect Chicago, explore the work of other ice scientists throughout the world and understand the part they can play in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Turn Back the Clock

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Exhibit explores the urgency of nuclear weapons and climate change with one of the most provocative symbols of the 20th century, the Doomsday Clock. Guests will interact with a digital representation of the Clock through time, learn how the atomic age extended into pop culture and walk through a visual, historic timeline of the nuclear age.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Visit to Santa

Oak Brook, Ill.


This year, the holiday season at Oakbrook Center has a whole new look! Visits with Santa will begin Nov. 10 and run through Dec. 24, 2017. Reservations are available on The Oakbrook Center Ice Skating Rink will be open Nov. 10, 2017 - Feb. 28, 2018. Admission is $9 adults and $7 for children 12 and under. Skate rental is $5. Oakbrook Center will also have a Holiday Market featuring a wide variety of local artisans and one-of-a-kind food merchants. The market will open Nov. 24 and run through Dec. 24, 2017 on weekends. Hours for the skating rink and for the holiday market are available on the Oakbrook Center website.



When: See website for schedule.
Cost: See website

Christkindlmarket Chicago

Christkindlmarket Chicago | Chicago, Ill.


Discover a traditional centuries-old holiday market in the heart of downtown Chicago. Christkindlmarket features German and international vendors who display hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique gifts as well as traditional German foods, sweets and beverages. School groups, professional singers and dance groups perform. Special events include appearances by the Christkind and the annual Children’s Lantern Parade, which celebrates St. Martin’s Day. Nov. 17-Dec. 24.

When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Cost: Free

Holidays in the Loop with Chicago Loop Alliance

Holidays in the Loop with Chicago Loop Alliance | Chicago, Ill.


Downtown Chicago is a beloved holiday destination with something for the whole family to enjoy. The Holidays in the Loop website includes a downloadable pocket guide & map of iconic holiday destinations and events in the Loop, and a series of curated itineraries, our #UnwraptheLoop social media giveaway competition and more.

When: Hours and locations vary with performances and activities.
Cost: Free

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