Holiday Happenings Part Three

 

Skating is fun at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink where you move to music, grab a hot chocolate and skate against a backdrop of the Chicago skyline. (City of Chicago photo)
Skating is fun at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink where you move to music, grab a hot chocolate and skate against a backdrop of the
Chicago skyline. (City of Chicago photo)

 

Around Chicago it’s that time of year to see such holiday shows as those listed in Holiday Happenings Part One and walk paths of twinkling, colored lights highlighted in Part Two.

Holiday Happening Part III brings you places for fun holiday shopping, ice skating and traditional events.

 

Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza is a fun place to shop for German food and European trinkets. (J Jacobs photo)
Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza is a fun place to shop for German food and European trinkets. (J Jacobs photo)

Markets and More

Christkindl, a European-style holiday market filled with delicious snacks, drinks and trinkets is back in Daley’s Plaza on Washington Street between Clark and Dearborn Streets.  Begun in Chicago 24 years ago, the Christkindl Market takes after the famous one in Nuremberg, Germany, begun in the middle 16th century. It’s downtown Chiago now through Dec. 24.

More recently a Christkindle Market added a Wrigleyville location at Cubs Park’s Gallagher Way where it is part of Winterland at 3635 N. Clark St., now through Dec. 31. The “More” part is the Ice Rink at Gallagher Way open through Feb.. 16, 2020. Skating charge is $6 for ages 13 and older.

If over by Navy Pier, that  mile (almost)-long Chicago attraction sticking into Lake Michigan at the end of Grand Avenue, check out its Winter Wonder Market. It’s in the FifthThird Bank Family Pavilion through Dec. 24.  The “More” is Winter WonderFest, a large, indoor winter playground that includes carnival rides and an ice rink. It’s in Festival Hall from Dec. 6, 2019 through Jan.12, 2020. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave.

 

 Slate on the Ribbon Ice Rink at Maggie Daley Park next to Millennium Park. (City of Chicago photo)

Slate on the Ribbon Ice Rink at Maggie Daley Park next to Millennium Park. (City of Chicago photo)

Ice Skating

You heard about the rinks at Gallagher Way and Navy Pier. But Millennial Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Maggie Daley Park’s Ice
Skating Ribbon I
ce Rink, downtown near  Michigan  and Randolph Avenues, have free skating rinks.  Hilton guests also can get complimentary skates to use at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. The rinks are a fun way to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eves and Christmas and New Year’s Days. For rental information and special rink events such as DJ night visit Ice skating at Millenium Park and Maggie Daley Park ice skating Ribbon.

On the edge of Chicago near O’Hare Airport in Rosemont, is The Park, a 200,000 square-foot entertainment complex that sparkles with thousands of holiday lights. It also contains the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink. Surrounded by tempting shops and restaurants, it’s a fun place to skate and take a food break. A special treat is Sundays from 9 to 11 a.m. when parents and youngsters age 12 and under can skate with Characters on Ice: Dec. 1 Cinderella & The Prince, Dec. 8 Anna & Kristoff, Dec. 15 Batman & Catwoman, Dec. 22 Santa & Mrs. claus and Dec. 29 Peter Pan & Captain Hook.

 

Macy's windows tell a holiday story of some toys that help Santa. (J Jacobs photo)
Macy’s windows tell a holiday story of some toys that help Santa. (J Jacobs photo)

Traditional holiday events

At Caroling at Cloud Gate (The Bean)  anyone can join in the holiday singing by what is fondly called “The Bean” sculpture in Millennium Park. The event is free and goes 6 to 7 p.m. on Fridays from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, 2019. Part concert and part sing-along, carolers are given song books and will be singing along with the Sounds good! Choir on Nov. 29, Mark Hubbard and The Voices on Dec. 6, the Chicago Children’s Choir on Dec. 13 and the Wicker Park Choral Singers, Dec. 20.  Assisted Listening Devices are also available with 72 hours notice by emailing dcase@cityofchicago.org.

Perfect for the next generation of nutcracker and sugar plum fairy dancers is the city’s Nutcracker dance-along. Youngsters have been moving and twirling to Tchaikovsky’s popular ballet for years in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center. This year the event is Dec. 8 beginning with dance lessons at 9 a.m. and again at noon, and performances at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. The event is free. The Chicago Cultural Center is on Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Washington Streets and uses 78 E. Washington St. as the main entrance.

Macy’s Windows and Walnut Room is a long-time Chicago family tradition that began years ago when the landmark State Street department store was Marshall Fields. It started in 1897  toy displays but changed to themed windows in 1944 with “The Night Before Christmas.” Macy’s has kept the tradition. So walk along State Street between Washington and Randolph Streets to see what holiday story Macy’s is doing this year.

Then go up to the seventh floor to see Macy’s 45 foot high tree in the store’s historic (1905) Walnut Room. Make a reservation to eat near the tree which will be up until early January 2019, Macy’s is at 111 N. State St.

Enjoy the holidays!

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around town: Not gone yet

 

With everything you have to do, places to go, people to visit there might not have been time to fit in everything you hoped to see by Dec. 31. No worries. Some of the fun shows, exhibits and festivals will still be around in January, 2019.

Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera
Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera

Shows

Lyric Opera’s delightful “Cendrillon” (Cinderella ) runs through Jan. 20 and its exceptional “La boheme” continues at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, through Jan. 31. For tickets and more information  visit Lyric Opera.

Steadfast tin Soldier at Lookinggglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N. Michicagn Ave. runs through Jan. 13. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass.

Women of Soul” at the Black Ensemble Theatre goes to Jan. 27. See tickets and more information at Black Ensemble Theater.

“ A Midsummer Night’s Dream“ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, opens this weekend (Dec. 14 2018), and runs through Jan. 27. Tickets and more information at Chicago Shakes.

At Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted, “Familiar” continues through Jan. 13 and “”La Ruta” goes through Jan. 27.  Visit Steppenwolf.

 

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Festivals

Illumination” at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle, goes through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

Winter Wonderfest” continues at Navy Pier, Chicago, through Jan. 6. For tickets, parking and other information visit Navy Pier.

Wonderland Express” is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through Jan. 6. (This is a time and date ticketed show)  For tickets and other information visit . For parking check Chicago Botanic.

Zoo Lights” at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.,, Chicago, is open New Year’s Day and continues through Jan. 6.

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Winter WonderFest

 

Navy Pier celebrates winter
Navy Pier celebrates winter

We had a great time visiting the Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier.

The event is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and even though it is geared primarily toward the little ones there is plenty of fun for the whole family.

Essentially this is an indoor carnival. In fact the brochure claims “thrills without the chills.”

For the little tykes, designated as under 46 inches tall, there are two bouncers and other games in the Jingle Jym Junior area right by the entrance.

WinterFest at Navy Pier is a fun family experience (Photos by Reno Lovison)
WinterFest at Navy Pier is a fun family experience (Photos by Reno Lovison)

Of course the Kringle Carousel which is the first thing you see when you enter is fun for anyone looking for a classic carnival experience. My wife never misses an opportunity to ride a carousel.

There’s mini golf artic style and an artic plunge is a giant inflatable slide topped by an enormous polar bear.

The Lighthouse takes those 36” and taller up a roughly thirty foot lighthouse then unexpectedly drops them repeatedly for a bit of a thrill.

The Winter Tube is a slippery snowless toboggan-like slide, only rather than a sled, you ride a kind of colorful inner tube style ring.

Ice skating at WinterFest
Ice skating at WinterFest

I think a feature for many is the star spangled ice skating rink. This seems like it might be an attraction for teens looking for a fun date night, especially if mom makes you take your little brother along.  But indoor ice skating is actually my idea of enjoying the sport.

Kids love to climb and what could be more fun than making your way to the rafters via the Snowy Summit Climbing Wall?

The gigantic Christmas tree is beautifully decorated offering a perfect back drop for a photo or just to be enjoyed from virtually every vantage point within the fair.

Gaze up at the wonderful Christmas tree.
Gaze up at the wonderful Christmas tree.

The Cliff Hanger is certainly the most visual and most exciting offering, whirling you at break-neck speed in a kind of hang glider looking contraption, ultimately landing you gently back the ground.

The psychedelic lighting of the Winter WonderWhirl adds a lot to the sense of excitement.

There are bumper cars, an excursion train, Tilt’a Whirl and spinning Hot Cocoa Cups.

Enjoy plenty of holiday photo ops which you can do yourself or take advantage of the photo package available for purchase on site.

There are snacks, additional rides and attractions and as a nice bonus each ticket also includes a ride on Chicago’s very own Centennial “Ferris” Wheel.

This is a good excuse to get off the couch and do something together as a family or just another nice way to enjoy a trip to Navy Pier.

DETAILS: You will find the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at the West end of Navy Pier on the Lakefront at Illinois Street through Jan. 6, 2019. For tickets and information visit NavyPier.org

Reno Lovison