10 Things to Do This Weekend: Dec. 12-15

(Lincoln Park Zoo / Facebook)(Lincoln Park Zoo / Facebook)

1. Bask

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Millions of lights transform the Lincoln Park Zoo into a twinkling winter wonderland at ZooLights. Stroll through candy cane lane, watch a lights show programmed to holiday tunes, listen to carolers and see ice transformed into sculptures. And, of course, visit your favorite zoo animals. All animal exhibits are open except the McCormick Bird House and Farm-in-the-Zoo.

Details: 4:30-9 p.m. daily through Jan. 5 (closed Dec. 24-25) at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St. Free / MAP


2. Cherish

A holiday classic gets fresh moves in the Hyde Park School of Dance’s production of The Nutcracker.” The 90-minute performance fuses ballet, modern dance and hip-hop choreographed to Tchaikovsky’s score. Before the show, see some of the school’s youngest dancers in their first-ever performance in the “Pre-Ballet Holiday Show.”

Details: 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday at the University of Chicago, Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St. $10-$25; $40 for reserved seats; free for kids 4 and under / MAP

(Photo by Marc Monaghan)(Photo by Marc Monaghan)

3. Belt it out

Join Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in singing holiday tunes to “White Christmas” or cheer on Jimmy Stewart as he plays George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Music Box Christmas Sing-a-Long and Double Feature. Warm up your windpipes by singing Christmas carols with Santa Claus before the show. Make it a double feature for an extra dose of holiday cheer.

Details: Screenings begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. Full schedule here. Single ticket: $11.50-$15.50; double feature: $17-$24; $10-$15 for children under 13 / MAP

Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in “White Christmas.” (Wikimedia Commons)Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in “White Christmas.” (Wikimedia Commons)

4. Cut a rug

Bust out your dancin’ shoes and finest (or most hideous) holiday attire for an Ugly Sweater Party Beginner Swing class. Learn to swing dance to holiday tunes during a 45-minute class before tearing it up on the dance floor. All adults 21 and up are welcome – including those with two left feet.  

Details: 9-11 p.m. Friday at Duet Dance Studio, 2412 W. North Ave., #201. $25 / MAP

(The Ugly Sweater Shop / Flickr)(The Ugly Sweater Shop / Flickr)

5. Admire

Get all the holiday feels at the Community Trees exhibit featuring seven trees, each decorated by a different local nonprofit. Be sure to vote for your favorite – the winning tree will get a donation from the McCormick Foundation (which has already donated $2,500 to each participating organization).

Details: 2-6 p.m. Saturday self-guided tour; 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily except Monday and Dec. 24-25 through Dec. 29 at the Robert R. McCormick House at Cantigny Park, 1 S 151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Free / MAP

(Courtesy of Cantigny Park)(Courtesy of Cantigny Park)

6. Buy

More than 40 local artists showcase their work at The Chicago Art Girls Holiday Pop-Up. Decorated cookies, magnets, cards, coasters and art are among the items for sale. Tip: Arrive early – the first 25 shoppers each day receive a free tote bag.

Details: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Bell Elementary School, 3730 N. Oakley Ave. Free / MAP


7. Hark

Festive songs, like “Deck the Halls” and “Angels We Have Heard on High,” are performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus along with choral works such as “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah at Merry, Merry Chicago!Learn about the annual show from conductor Emil de Cou, who appeared this week on “Chicago Tonight” to preview the show with seven CSO chorus members.

Details: 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with additional performances through Dec. 23 at the Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. $38-$150 / MAP

(© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018)(© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018)

8. Cruise

Excited to soak up the warm glow of holiday lights while avoiding the frosty temps? Admire the sights and sounds of the season from inside your toasty car at Santa’s Rock N Lights, featuring nearly 200,000 animated lights set to Christmas music along a mile route.

Details: 5-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31 at Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. $19.99 Monday-Thursday per vehicle; $24.99 Friday-Sunday per vehicle / MAP

(Santa's Rock N Lights / Facebook)(Santa's Rock N Lights / Facebook)

9. Pick up

Shop eco-friendly gifts at the Holiday BIDE Market, from soaps to spirits to handbags and jewelry. Organizers say the market is designed to showcase vegan, fully sustainable, plastic- and cruelty-free items. Talks and panels on sustainability round things out. Partial ticket proceeds benefit the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Exchange312, 1714 W. Division St. $10 / MAP

(Photo by Mandy Lancia)(Photo by Mandy Lancia)

10. Gather

Hot chocolate, Christmas carols, face painting and photos with Santa are a handful of holiday activities happening at Christmas on 55th Street. Free meals, coat and clothes giveaways and an arts marketplace are also on tap.

Details: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at various locations, including the Washington Park Fieldhouse, 5531 S. King Drive. Free / MAP

(Courtesy of the Washington Park Chamber of Commerce)(Courtesy of the Washington Park Chamber of Commerce)

Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.


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