Holiday activities in the Chicagoland area


Ingrid Marques Reginato

Go for a walk through Knoch Knolls to appreciate nature as seasons change.

Sanchali Pandey, Staff Writer

As the weather begins to cool and the leaves begin to turn, that magical time of the year is finally here: the holidays! If you’re looking for fun holiday-themed activities to do in and around the Chicagoland area but are being drowned in the barrage of activity options out there, don’t fret! This list of holiday-themed activities has been carefully curated to only feature the best of the best and will keep you wanting to return for years to come!


Morton Arboretum

There’s nothing better than taking a long stroll with a loved one—or even just by yourself—and taking in the vibrant fall foliage around you. The Morton Arboretum is the perfect place for this, with its fall colors being truly unparalleled. There’s even a guided tour provided by the arboretum to experience its picturesque fall colors to the fullest!


Lightscapes at Chicago Botanical Gardens

Take a long, relaxing stroll down a mile-long path through the scenic Chicago Botanical Gardens while basking in the glow of the thousands of glimmering lights and humming along to the melodic tunes of the singing trees! Get your tickets quick (they all sold out last year) and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime immersive holiday experience! 



Inspired by the 16th century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany—one of the first outdoor markets of its kind—this annual Christkindlmarkt features stunning items and delectable food from local vendors, all while spreading immense holiday cheer. There is truly no greater place to form such memorable holiday season memories with family and friends!


City of Chicago Christmas Tree

Each year, Millennium Park is embellished with an extravagant Christmas tree that remains on display till the beginning of the new year (Jan. 9). Adorned with shimmering lights and topped off with a vibrant, illuminated star, this jumbo-sized attraction is the perfect backdrop for pictures or—if you’re more of a ‘stay in the moment’ kind of person—opportunity to revel in the holiday cheer around you!


Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry

Representing countries and rich holiday traditions from around the world, the Museum of Science and Industry’s yearly holiday exhibit boasts a larger-than-life tree spanning four-stories, floor-to-dome, surrounded by a forest with over 50 trees as well as displays decorated to represent the holiday traditions of cultures around the globe. With snow falling from the ceiling every half-hour to make your time at the museum even more magical and dance and music performances of various cultures on the weekends, not only will you form such amazing holiday memories with those you love, but you will also learn about different cultural celebrations! 


Walnut Room at Macy’s

Located on the 7th floor of Macy’s on State Street, the famed Walnut Room was the first restaurant ever opened in a department store, and it truly does holiday season like no other! Conveniently located in the heart of Chicago’s theatre district, the historic Walnut Room is the perfect place to wind down from the relentless gift shopping of the day and enjoy a holiday meal in the perfect festive atmosphere or to grab a bite before a show! Its impressive interior includes elegant decor such as several sparkling chandeliers and the towering Great Tree placed at the center of the room.