Fun and interesting holiday outings

 

Ice skate amid van Gogh’s swirling colors. Down a mug of mulled wine or snack on a warm pretzel. Browse artisan goods. The holiday season is back with delightful choices for all ages.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. (City of Chicago photo)
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. (City of Chicago photo)

Ice skating

Tis the season for millions of twinkling lights to transform paths from the Chicago Botanic Garden and The Morton Arboretum to Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoos. But if looking for something different to do this year skate against a Chicago cityscape. Mask wearing is encouraged as well as social distancing.

Downtown Chicago area

Look below the “Bean” at Millennium Park at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue where skaters move to music and can take lessons at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. Skating is free and available now through March 6. To avoid overcrowding, reservation tickets are needed. Visit  City of Chicago :: McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Just east of the McCormick Rink is the quarter-mile Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon where visitors can skate a top of van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers” thanks to a partnership of the Chicago Park district and “Immersive Van Gogh.” Open now thru March 13, 2022, reservation tickets are needed. Admission with your own skates is free Monday through Thursday and $5 Friday through Sunday and on holiday dates. Admission with skate rental is $16 Monday through Thursday and $20 Friday through Sunday and on holiday dates. Maggie Daley Park and Skating ribbon is at 337 E. Randolph St. Visit Gogh skating for more information and reservations. Maggie Daley Park

A bit further north and east (600 E. Grand Ave.), skaters will find indoor ice at Navy Pier’s Alpine Rink in Festival Hall. It’s part of the Pier’s Light Up the Lake Festival that features a beer garden and shopping through Jan. 2, 2022. https://navypier.org/

Further out

Wrigleyville

The Rink at Gallagher Way, a large community patch of lawn abutting the Chicago Cubs stadium, is frozen over for ice events such as bumper cars and curling but its main use during the annual Winterland at Gallagher Way is for ice skating and skate lessons now through Feb. 20, 2022.

Admission is free for skaters 12 years and younger and $6 for skaters 13 years and older. Visitors can bring skates or rent them there for $12. Bags can be checked for $2. For hours and more information visit Winterland at Gallagher Way

Rosemont

Parkway Bank Park, Rosemont’s fun entertainment district and the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink, hosts Skating in the Park now through Feb. 27,2022. Bring skates or rent them for $8. For hours and more information visit  Parkway Bank Park – It’s all here in Rosemont

 

Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza. (J Jacobs photo)
Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. (J Jacobs photo)

Unique Shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone leaving holiday shoppers with time to search for something different for themselves and others.

The Christkindlmarket, a traditional, outdoor German marketplace, now open downtown at Daley Plaza and north at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville, is a fun and tasty holiday destination. In town now through Dec. 24, 2021, admission is free but there is crowd control so there may be lines to get into the market. For Chicago hours and more information visit German Christmas in Chicago | Christkindlmarket. For Gallagherway see German Christmas in Wrigleyville | Christkindlmarket

To find interesting fashion and home décor items and yummy food, go to the Chicago Artisan Market at Fulton Market West Loop on Dec. 12. For more information and ticket reservations visit About – Chicago Artisan Market.

Jodie Jacobs

Add a joyous a cappella concert to your holidays

 

 

Photo courtesy of Chicago a cappella ensemble.
Photo courtesy of Chicago a cappella ensemble.

Chicago a cappella, a versatile, talented vocal ensemble of professional singers, is back doing concerts across the Chicago area. “Holidays a cappella,” a program of beautiful Christmas and Chanukah music, runs Dec. 3 through Dec. 12, 2021.

Founded in 1993, Chicago a cappella has a subscription series and does live and broadcast-media musical content plus educational outreach programming. The group gives performances on tour and in special engagements.

Check the following schedule for a concert near you:

  • Friday, December 3 (8 PM): St Josaphat Church, 2311 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
  • Saturday, December 4 (8 PM): Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park
  • Sunday, December 5 (4 PM): Community UMC, 20 Center St., Naperville
  • Friday, December 10 (8 PM): Fourth Presbyterian Church (Buchanan Chapel), 115 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago
  • Saturday, December 11 (8 PM): Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
  • Sunday, December 12, (4 PM): Pilgrim Congregational, 460 Lake St., Oak Park

For ticket and other information visit Chicago a cappella.

Jodie Jacobs

Holiday events now

 

Lights go on North Michigan Avenue trees during the Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade and stay on on holiday season. (City of Chicago photo)
Lights go on North Michigan Avenue trees during the Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade and stay on on holiday season. (City of Chicago photo)

It may be hard to believe we’re in the midst of the holiday season, already!

The Chicago Botanic Garden opened its paths at night for Lightscape. Santa is already listening to wishes at Macy’s where the famed holiday windows are ready for their close-ups. And, Christmas Around the world and Holiday of Light opens at the Museum of Science and Industry on its free day, Nov. 17, 2021.

But don’t miss the BMO Lights Festival – The Magnificent Mile this Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Folks line up two and three deep to watch lights go on as the parade moves south on Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the Chicago River and ends with fun fireworks.

A great place to view the action would be Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave.  You need to know, however, that the DuSable Bridge (formerly Michigan Avenue Bridge) closes at 3:30 p.m. But there are activities and food (smell Garrett’s? (It’s at 625 N. Michigan Ave.) along the Mile.

If you go downtown Friday, see the tree lighting at at Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza, 410 N. Michigan Ave. 4 p.m.

Related: Around Town: Two holiday doings to know about now – Chicago Theater and Arts

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

Around Town: Two holiday doings to know about now

 

Macy's on State sill doing a Great Tree like this one in the Walnut Room but look for a blue reindeer in 2021. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Macy’s on State sill doing a Great Tree like this one in the Walnut Room but look for a blue reindeer in 2021. (Photo by J Jacobs)

 

First, the doings at Macy’s on State

Macy’s announced it should have its State Street holiday windows ready for oohs and aahs by Nov. 6 when it will also have Santa in his workshop ready to hear what youngsters want.

Santa visits are on the store’s fifth Floor by reservation Nov. 6 through Dec. 24, 2021.  The 2021 holiday window theme introduces belief in ones self with a blue reindeer named Tiptoe who is too shy to fly with Santa.. Follow “Tiptoe and the Flying Machine” story in each window and see the reindeer as a balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For youngsters who can’t visit Santa in person, there is an interactive online journey available starting Nov. 26, 2021..  Macy’s on State is at 111 N. State Street, Chicago.

The Great Tree in Macy’s on State Walnut Room will also be back this weekend. To see it make a seating reservation Nov 6, 2021 through Jan. 9, 2022.

 

Museum of Science and Industry open its Christmas Around the World and Holidays light on an Illinois free day. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Science and Industry)
Museum of Science and Industry open its Christmas Around the World and Holidays Light on an Illinois free day. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Science and Industry)

 

Then, note the free days and what’s going on at the Museum of Science and Industry.

MSI entrance (not special ticketed films and labs) are free to Illinois residents on Nov. 10 and 17 and Dec. 8 in 2021. Which means that opening day for MSI’s annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibits is the free-day of Nov. 17.

See more than 50 trees and displays from around the world and the four-story Grand Tree . Also look for Take Flight and Pioneer Zepher, two popular exhibits that have been updated.

For more information, prices, hours and reserved entry ticket  visit www.msichicago.org. The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

 

Jodie Jacobs

Four holiday tickets to snag now

 

Joffrey ballet's The Nutcracker returns but will be at its new home at he Lyric Opera House.
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker returns but will be at its new home at the Lyric Opera House.

It’s not too early to think of joyous holiday theater productions  and beautiful  sounds and colors along interesting outdoor pathways.

The Joffrey Ballet just put Nutcracker tickets on sale and Goodman Theatre already has been selling tickets to its annual “A Christmas Carol.”

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum and Lightscape at Chicago
Botanic Garden are filling spots for impressive outdoor experiences among their trees.

 

Marie and The Joffrey Ballet. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)
Marie and The Joffrey Ballet. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

The Nutcracker | Joffrey Ballet

Marie and her Nutcraker Prince journey through Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair in Christoper Wheeldon’s reimagined classic. The show runs Dec. 4 through Dec. 26, 2021.  For tickets and more information visit Performances | Joffrey Ballet. The Lyric Opera House is at 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago.

 

 

Larry Yando as Ebenezer Scrooge in Goodman Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol' (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre)
Larry Yando as Ebenezer Scrooge in Goodman Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre)

Goodman Theatre

Larry Yando once again takes audiences on Ebenezer  Scrooge’s path from the character who defined the meaning of scrooge to his change into a generous and kind person.

Last year, the 2020 show experience was audio. This year, the production will be back at Goodman Theatre Nov. 20 through Dec. 31, 2021. Adopted by Tom Creamer, and directed by Jessica Thebus, the show marks its 44th production.

For tickets and more information visit A Christmas Carol 2021 | Goodman Theatre. Goodman Theatre is at 170 N. Dearborn St. Chicago.

 

Lightscape is back at the Chicago Gotanic Garden this November with new attractions and old favorites such as the Cathedral. ( J Jacobs photo)
Lightscape is back at the Chicago Gotanic Garden this November with new attractions and old favorites such as the Cathedral. ( J Jacobs photo)

Lightscape | Chicago Botanic Garden

A new path, new installations but also some old favorites including Cathedral and Singing Trees will be at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s 2021 edition of Lightscape. , a popular holiday event that sold out last year.

A popular holiday event that sold out last year, Lightscape runs Nov. 12, 2021 through Jan 2, 2022. For tickets and more information visit Lightscape.(Nonmembers also need parking.) Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe.

 

 

Illumination at Morton Arboretum shows trees in a new light. (Morton Arboretum photo)
Illumination at Morton Arboretum shows trees in a new light. (Morton Arboretum photo)

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum turns the light, color, actions on its trees at Illumination, Nov. 20, 2021 through Jan 2, 2022. New will be a Human Nature display and colorful lanterns.  The mile-long path features a roast marshmallow stop for s’mores.

For tickets and more information visit Morton Arboretum. Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Rt. 53, Lisle.

ED Note: When getting tickets note that proof of full vax needed for 12 and older and recent negative test under 12 for indoor shows: Nutcracker and  A Christmas Carol. Also check requirements for outdoor shows: Lightscape and Illumination when buying tickets.

 

Around town: What to put on the calendar

Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)
Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)

 

 INDOORS

Martin Luther King celebrations

The Art Institute of Chicago has a week of programs scheduled starting on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. That is the official “Martin Luther King Day” this year. “MLK Day” as it is often called, is the third Monday of January because it is close to King’s birthday on January 15

The first program is a virtual performance by the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and In the Spirit from 5-6 p.m. CT. Registration is needed but is free.

For more information visit ARTIC/KingDay and KingDay/Virtual.

 

OUTDOORS

Put outside activities on the calendar. Your forest preserve district has suggestions of where to go and what is available. So go sledding, cross country skiing, hiking. Or ice fishing.

Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)
Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)

Lake County Forest Preserves

As an example, check the winter sport’s page for Solar-lit Evening Hikes

On a 1.3-mile fitness trail at Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville and a1.65-mile hilly section of the Millennium Trail next to the Winter Sports Area at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.. This activity is for walkers, snow shoe and cross country skiiers evenings until 9 p.m. through March 14.

Also look for Sledding at Lakewood in Wauconda and Old School in Libertyville. Lakewood is lighted and open until 9 p.m. Old school is a day time hill. Snowboards, toboggans and metal runners not allowed.

For Cross-Country Skiing find groomed trails at Lakewood’s Winter Sports Area and at Old School, and along the Des Plaines River Trail between Old School and the Wright Woods Canoe Launch on Route 60. A 4-inch snow base is required for cross-country skiing at the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods.

 

Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)
Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship plus festival

A more than two decades old annual event, Lake Geneva, WI’s Winterfest 2021 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (visitlakegeneva.com)

is a fun outdoor getaway  that this year is Feb. 3-7. It includes the US National Snow Sculpting Championship between teams from across the country.

Best day to see the finished works is Saturday, Feb. 6.

There is also an ice sculpture tour downtown plus beach bonfires and a cocoa crawl.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Unusual holiday gift

Snow leopard cub Ahava is among the residents of Brookfield Zoo in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)
Snow leopard cub Ahava is among the residents of Brookfield Zoo in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)

Imagine a youngster (or adult) opening  a large envelope with a photo of a cute leopard cub accompanied by a certificate of adoption this holiday season.

Ahava, a six month old snow leopard and Sasha, a nine month old Amur leopard, are among  Brookfield Zoo residents in an Animal Adoption program.

Operated by the Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo is doing different gift adoptions ranging from Basic Package of $35 to the Plush Duo of $120.

Basic includes a 5 by 7-inch color photo of the leopard, a personalized certificate, a species fact sheet, an Animal Adoption decal and an invite to the Animal Adoption summer event in 2021 (subject to COVID-19 guidelines).

Ahava is among Brookfield Zoo residents in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)
Amur leopard Sasha Snow leopard cub Ahava is among Brookfield Zoo residents in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)

Plush starts at $65 to include a 12-inch plush animal, four free tickets to the Animal Adoption summer event in 2021 and all the benefits of the Basic Package. But if not sure which leopard to adopt there are the Basic Duo at $65 and Plush Duo at $120 for  adoptions of both Ahava and Sasha.

In addition, the gifts help pay for the animal’s care at the

The leopard cubs are among two residents the zoo is featuring as holiday adoption gifts. There are also 4-year-old African lions Brutus and Titus, orangutans Kecil and Kekasih and Zeus, a bald eagle.

For more information on the packages and animals to visit CZS.org/AnimalAdoption or call (708) 688-8341. To ensure holiday delivery, orders must be received by Dec. 15, 2020.

Three holiday shopping ideas

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (expect the leftovers) just about every store and business is advertising Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. But sometimes the deals and gifts get lost in the over abundance of ad noise. So, here are a few places to check out this weekend. (More ideas next week).

The Olive Tap founder Rick Petrocelly (Photo by J Jacobs)
he Olive Tap founder Rick Petrocelly (Photo by J Jacobs)

 

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

The Olive Tap in Illinois and Colorado has 15% off most oils and vinegars and 10% off some gift baskets  on Nov. 27-28. The owner and staff are very knowledgeable about flavors, shelf life and go-with foods.

Locations are Long Grove IL, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, Co. Covid protocols are observed. Curbside delivery is available. For information visit The Olive Tap.

 

 

 

 

Cyber Monday

Macy's Chicago (Daniel Boczarski/Getty images photo)
Macy’s Chicago (Daniel Boczarski/Getty images photo)

Maybe you watched  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday. No, it wasn’t canceled but the crowds had to watch from blocks away or on TV.

If the program’s wonderful floats and entertainment (included a number from “Hamilton” put you in the holiday shopping mood then go to the department store’s cyber Monday deals. They range  from clothes and shoes to stuff for the home. Find them at CyberMondayMacy’sSales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBG items at the Illinois Holocaust Museum (JJacobs and IL Holocaust photo)
RBG items at the Illinois Holocaust Museum (JJacobs and IL Holocaust photo)

Hanukah Holiday Gifts

Before Christmas, Dec. 25, and Kwanzaa, Dec. 26, is Hanukah which begins at sunset Dec. 10, 2020. The Illinois Holocaust Museum carries several gift items ranging from RBG stuff to menorahs and books. Visit the museum’s gift shop at IllinoisHolocaustshop.

 

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

Windows and Walnut Room say ‘Thanks’

 

Macy's State Street windows send messages of Thanks, Love and Believe. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)
Macy’s State Street windows send messages of Thanks, Love and Believe. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)

Macy’s State Street windows are packed with presents but the main messages they deliver to Chicago and to its front-line workers are Thanks and Love.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the Walnut Room, Macy’s employee put together thank-you food packages from the famed restaurant to be delivered to Chicago Police Department 001st District officers who are unable to spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones and to Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 Unit.

Walnut Room Manager Gino Tarallo loads up with food packages for front-line works. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)
Walnut Room Manager Gino Tarallo loads up with food packages for front-line works. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)

The window decorations and the Walnut Room’s Great Tree can be seen and photographed through Jan. 3, 2021.

The store currently remains open. Check protocols at Macy’s State Street.