Festivals Nov. 19-25: AMAZE Light Festival, Santa's Rock 'N' Lights & more
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays from Wednesday, Nov. 17, through Jan. 3 at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Explore holiday traditions from around the globe. $21.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids 3-11. msichicago.org/catw.
"Dr. Seuss Experience": Noon to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Jan. 2, at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Immersive exhibit lets guests journey through nine different Dr. Seuss books. $23-$30; free for kids younger than 1. Super Stoopendous tickets are available from noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays (closed on Thanksgiving) and 10 a.m. to noon Fridays. www.experienceseuss.com.
Let It Shine Lightshow: 4:30-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 9 at Fox Valley Mall, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora; Northbrook Court, 1515 Lake-Cook Road, Northbrook; and Wintrust Field, 1999 S. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. A drive-through wonderland of light displays synchronized to holiday classics. Online ticket purchase required. $29.99 per vehicle weekdays, $39.99 weekends and holidays, $20 add-on for Fast Pass. shinelightshow.com.
Lightscape: 4:30-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Last entry at 9 p.m. The enchanting, after-dark, illuminated trail features an all-new path filled with artistic installations and new works. Admission: Adult: $24 for members, $26 for nonmembers; kids 3-12: $12 for members, $14 for nonmembers; free for kids 3 and younger. Tickets purchased the day-of cost an extra $2. (847) 835-5440 or www.chicagobotanic.org/lightscape.
"The Snow Queen": Various times and dates through Jan. 2, Chopin Theatre Mainstage, 1543 W. Division Ave., Chicago. The House introduces a reimagination of Hans Christian Anderson's fable infused with The House's hallmarks of magic, puppetry, and music. $20. www.thehousetheatre.com.
Media Arts Fall Festival: 4:45 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, and 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, 1010 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. The fall fest theme is "Thriller" and features animation, creative writing and film during three shows. www.chicagoacademyforthearts.org.
IllumiBrew: 5:30-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 18-19, at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. See Illumination: Tree Lights before it opens to the general public while sampling seasonal beers, ciders and meads from Chicago-area breweries stationed along the 1-mile trail. The $75 ticket includes 15, 3-ounce pours and a souvenir glass. The designated driver ticket is $40 and includes hot cocoa or cider. The event is 21 and older only. Fridy is sold out. mortonarb.org/explore/activities/art-and-entertainment/illumibrew/.
Re-Deck the Halls Sale: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20, at Bethel United Church of Christ, 316 E. Huntington Lane, Elmhurst. A sale of gently used holiday decorations, collectibles and gifts at inexpensive prices. www.bethel-ucc.org.
Shades of Crimson Poinsettia Sale: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. See up to 3,000 poinsettia plants of 15 varieties in the Cantigny greenhouse and learn about the Christmas flower from the horticulture staff. Plants in various colors and sizes will be for sale. Free; parking is $5. cantigny.org.
Mistletoe Market: 1-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Local crafters and artists offer one-of-a-kind items for holiday gift giving. Free; parking is $5. cantigny.org/event/mistletoe-market.
Festival of Trees: During mall hours from Friday, Nov. 19, through Dec. 24 at Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills. See Christmas trees decorated by various organizations throughout the mall and vote on your favorite tree through Nov. 30. www.shophawthornmall.com/events.
Winterland: Friday, Nov. 19, through Feb. 20 at Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark St., Chicago. Includes the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, ice skating on an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, Santa's Workshop, wreath-making classes, holiday movie screenings, special programming at Hotel Zachary, a celebration of Hanukkah, ice bumper cars and more. www.gallagherway.com.
Wrigley Building tree lighting: 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, in The Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza, 400-410 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Holiday tree lighting ceremony. www.themagnificentmile.com/lights-festival.
ZooLights: 4-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, through Jan. 2 at the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. Includes a holiday lights experience on the Main Mall and a light show on the South Lawn. New this year: Sensory-friendly visit times and an 18-foot holiday tree. $5; free on Mondays and Tuesdays. www.lpzoo.org.
Santa's Rock 'N' Lights: 5-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5-8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, from Friday, Nov. 19, through Jan. 2 at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. The drive-through animated light show returns with nearly 1,000 programmable elements and more than 100,000 animated lights dancing to holiday music. $19.99-$34.99 per vehicle. santasrocknlights.com.
AMAZE Light Festival: 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20, and 5-9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21; and various times and dates through Sunday, Jan. 2, at Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont. The festival offers outdoor holiday activities for all ages, including an immersive display of more than one million holiday lights, Santa's Workshop (complete with lit see saws and giant light brights), costumed characters, holiday food and beverages, toboggan rides, thrill hill tubing, train rides, holiday market, an immersive storybook experience and more. $23 for adults, $18 for kids 2-12. amazerosemont.com.
Hawthorn Mall Welcomes Santa: 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills. Costumed characters from "A Christmas Story," along with the Countryside Fire Department, will escort Santa through the mall to his new "A Christmas Story"-themed home on the lower level near Center Park. Each child attending will receive a swag bag including an ornament, a tumbler, chocolate fudge and a $25 gift certificate to Barbara's Bookstore. The event includes live reindeer, a balloon artist, a face painter, a DJ, a spin-to-win prize wheel for children, cookies and a hot cocoa bar. $5 per child; all proceeds will be donated to Make-A-Wish. Registration is required. ow.ly/9Jh430rWKym.
Lighting the Bridge: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the covered bridge on Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove. Residents and neighbors are invited to see Village President Bill Jacob flip the switch to light the bridge and welcome Santa and Dog Mayor Lincoln. Free carriage rides will be available for residents of the 60047 ZIP code. www.longgroveil.gov.
Winter Arts & Craft Expo: Preview party at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19; show runs 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Saturday, Nov. 20, through Dec. 20 (closed on Thanksgiving), at the Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St., Evanston. Includes original, handmade works of jewelry, ceramics, fiber, metal, glass, painting, photography, mixed media and more. All proceeds benefit the ongoing exhibition, education and outreach programs at the Art Center. Purchase preview party tickets online for $40 in advance and $50 at the door. www.evanstonartcenter.org.
Winter Lights: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, in downtown Aurora. The illuminated parade with Santa and Mrs. Claus steps off at 6:30 p.m. at Downer Place, and proceeds from Water Street to River Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with Mayor Richard Irvin and the newly crowned Little Mr. and Miss Aurora, will light the city's holiday tree. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be inside Wyckwood House for photos and holiday wishes. After the fireworks, Stolp Avenue, between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard, will be filled with food vendors, hot cocoa, artisan vendors, roaming costumed characters and music at Millennium Plaza. www.aurora-il.org.
"The Film Music of John Williams": 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at the Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin. The Elgin Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Stephen Squires, performs selections from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Jaws," "The Adventures of Tintin," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "Schindler's List," "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Star Wars." $35-$65. www.elginsymphony.org.
The Four C Notes: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre, 1250 W. Wilson St., Batavia. The group re-creates the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. $33-$43. www.bataviafineartscentre.org.
"Elf The Musical": 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays from Friday, Nov. 19, through Dec. 5 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock. Based on the 2003 movie about Buddy, Theatre 121 presents the tale of a human raised as an elf at the North Pole who travels to New York City to find his birth father. $20-$26, $18-$24 for students and seniors. www.woodstockoperahouse.com.
GJHP 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Run Fun: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Central School, 620 Greenwood Ave., Glencoe. Find your best turkey outfit for this 5K run and walk. Register in advance. www.gjhp.org/fun-run.
Art + Market Aurora: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 20, at Society 57, 100 S. River St., Aurora. Local vendors and makers sell baked goods, soaps, flowers, art and more at the indoor market. Free. auroradowntown.org/market.
Craft/Vendor Fair & Bake Sale: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Ave., Elgin. Crafts and baked goods will be for sale. Free admission and parking. fumcelgin.org.
Mosaic Fest: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at The Chicago Mosaic School, 1127 W. Granville Ave., Chicago. Create a mosaic or make a holiday gift at a creation station. Food provided by Cookies and Carnitas. Includes a virtual and in-person art auction with the proceeds going to operational funds. $35 for adults; $15 for kids 13-18; free for kids 12 and younger. chicagomosaicschool.org.
Sis, Self-Care Isn't Selfish Wellness Fair: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Christ Community Church gym, 2500 Dowie Memorial Drive, Zion. A free wellness fair for women, with screenings, massages, boxing demos, food sampling and self-care information. Free. www.ssisexpo.com/events.
Tom-A-Hawk Turkey Trot: 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in downtown Aurora. Run on a flat and fast course along the Fox River, finishing with the final straightaway across the new pedestrian bridge. Two Brothers Roundhouse opens at 10 a.m. for the post-race celebration, with the awards ceremony at 11 a.m. All proceeds benefit the Aurora East Educational Foundation and A + Foundation for West Aurora Schools. Register at runsignup.com/Race/IL/Aurora/TomAHawk5k.
Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party: 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, from Saturday, Nov. 20, through Dec. 19 and Thursday and Friday, Dec. 23-24, at Chicago Children's Theatre, 100 S. Racine Ave., Chicago. Puppet show starring Beatrix Potter's favorite animal friends, tea in a Victorian-style dining hall and activities. Tickets start at $42. chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
Art In the Time of Pandemic: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 4 in the Batavia Fine Arts Centre gallery/lobby, 1250 W. Wilson St., Batavia. See the work of artists who responded to the pandemic through drawing, painting, sculpting, design, photography and more. Some artwork is available for sale. www.bataviafineartscentre.org.
Grandma's Attic Sale and Nativity Collection Display: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Faith Community United Church of Christ, 2023 Route 176, Prairie Grove. The sale features vintage and like-new items, jewelry and accessories, unique and inexpensive gifts and holiday decor. Plus, more than 160 different Nativity sets will be on display. faithcommunityucc.org.
Holiday Craft Fair: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 20, at Triphahn Center and Ice Arena, 1685 W. Higgins, Hoffman Estates. Local vendors and crafters will be selling home decor, treats, accessories and more. Free admission. www.heparks.org/event/craft-fair.
Long Grove Vintage Holidays: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 20 through Dec. 19, in the historic downtown near 308 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove. Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, holiday caroling, visits from Santa and more. Carriage ride reservations are $15 per section (six-person maximum) or $30 for the full sleigh (12-person maximum). longgrove.org/festivals/holiday-season.
"Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins": 1 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 20 through Dec. 12, at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. In the show based on the award-winning book by Eric Kimmel, a traveling troupe of actors must put on a show to save Hanukkah. Buy tickets at www.strawdog.org.
An Almost Winter Day: 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at SEBA Park, 151 Water St., South Elgin. Enjoy the S'more Station, cookie decorating, craft station and concessions. Take a socially distanced picture with Santa Claus from 2-4:45 p.m., play a game of Ottoman Curling, watch an ice sculptor and drop off letters to Santa. The event ends with a tree lighting with Santa at 5 p.m. at Panton Mill Park. Free. (847) 622-0003 or www.southelgin.com/recreation.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage": 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang sing, dance and learn the true meaning of Christmas. $25-$70. VIP packages available, which include a meet and greet. www.geneseetheatre.com.
Illumination, Tree Lights: 4:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, through Jan. 2 at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. The ninth annual spectacle of color, light and sound returns on a 1-mile walking trail, with five new features, including the Human+Nature sculpture Hallow lit up at night. Concessions will be available along the trail. Advance ticket purchase is recommended as dates sell out. Member tickets: $14-$19 for adults, $8-$11 for kids 2-17; nonmember tickets: $19-$24 for adults, $13-$16 for kids 2-17. mortonarb.org.
Willow Hill's Winter Magic, A Drive-Through Christmas Lights Experience: 4:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, through Jan. 2 at Willow Hill Golf Course, 1350 Willow Road, Northbrook. Features over one million lights adorning displays of characters, Christmas trees, drive-through light tunnels and more. $45-$50. Reserve tickets at www.WillowHillsWinterMagic.com.
Hoffman Estates' tree lighting ceremony: 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the village hall, 1900 Hassell Road, Hoffman Estates. An outdoor event beginning with fireworks. Canned goods and toiletry items will be collected. (847) 882-9100 or www.hoffmanestates.org.
Palatine tree lighting ceremony: 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in Towne Square, 150 W. Palatine Road, Palatine. Mayor Jim Schwantz and the Palatine Fire Department will be on hand for the annual tree lighting ceremony. The Palatine Children's Chorus will perform holiday music. Children can take pictures with Santa in the Towne Square gazebo. www.palatine.il.us.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, on North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse lead a parade of floats, helium balloons, marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, Santa Claus and more. Also includes booths and family activities, including photos with Santa Claus, starting at 11 a.m. www.themagnificentmile.com/lights-festival.
Reindeer Run: 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Features a 2-mile fun run or walking course. Registration is $30. The noncompetitive run will kickoff at 7 p.m. in front of the Pavilion. www.czs.org/ReindeerRun2021.
Island Lake Star Lighting: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Culver's, 203 E. State Road, Island Lake. Annual lighting of the village star. The switch will be flipped at 7 p.m. A percentage of proceeds from sales that evening will be donated to the Historical Society. villageofislandlake.com.
"A Christmas Carol": Various times Saturday, Nov. 20, through Dec. 31 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Experience the story of Ebenezer Scrooge's discovery of kindness, compassion and redemption. Proof of full vaccination with an FDA-authorized vaccine is required for all guests 12 and older upon entry. Face coverings required at all times. $31-$91. www.goodmantheatre.org.
Artisan Faire: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Temple Beth Israel, 3601 W. Dempster St., Skokie. Artisan works will be available for holiday gift-buying. www.tbiskokie.org.
Chanukah Wonderland: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, Nov. 21-24, and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28-29, at Lubavitch Chabad of Northbrook, 2095 Landwehr Road, Northbrook. Make a Menorah, decorate a doughnut, be part of the Grand Chanukah Mural, decorate Chanukah T-shirts, make Chanukah shrink art key chains and more. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. ChanukahWonderlandChicago.com.
Thanksgiv-o-lympics: 11 a.m. to noon Sunday, Nov. 21, at Lake in the Hills Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate, Lake in the Hills. Kids 9-11 are invited to take on four Thanksgiving-themed events and one field event. Participants are encouraged to bring canned goods and nonperishable items to donate to local food pantries. $15 for residents, $18 for nonresidents. Register at bit.ly/3oZiJ1G.
Holiday Market: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Dovetail Brewery, 1800 W. Belle Plaine Ave., Chicago. Shop from local artists and makers while enjoying seasonal beers, including Holiday Bock and Glühkriek (warmed, spiced Kriek). dovetailbrewery.com.
Talkin' Turkey: 1-2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Lyman Woods, 901 S. 31st St., Downers Grove. Learn about turkeys through games, crafts and a hike. $10 per child. www.dgparks.org.
Turkey Shoot Free-Throw Contest: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at the Techny Prairie Activity Center, 180 Anets Drive, Northbrook. Register for the individual or team competition. Teams can consist of one child and one parent or guardian, two children or two adults. Each participant shoots 15 free throws. First place in each division receives a turkey, second place receives a pie. $5 per individual or team per attempt. Unlimited entries; one prize per individual or team. www.nbparks.org.
Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Create a centerpiece in a rustic wooden container, selecting from a variety of seasonal fresh flowers and greenery. $45-$50. cantigny.org.
Autumn Splendor Hands-on Design Class: 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, at jh Events and Flowers, 3603 Municipal Drive, McHenry. Learn how to make a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Register by emailing email@example.com. $60. mchenrychamber.com.
"A Very Rialto Christmas, Making Merry Music": 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet. A concert from Nick Thomas and guests featuring the Moraine Chorale. There will be appearances by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Suzy Snowflake and an audience singalong of Christmas carols. $20. Marquee lighting at 6 p.m. rialtosquare.com/holidays.
Cool Yule Chicago: 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Celebrate holiday songs written and performed by famous Chicagoans, including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Joe Williams, Chaka Khan, Steve Allen, Dinah Washington, Mavis Staples and Koko Taylor. $15-$35. citywinery.com/chicago.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage": 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang sing, dance and learn the true meaning of Christmas in a new touring production. $29-$49. rialtosquare.com/holidays.
Thanksgiving Lego Party: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the Leisure Center, 3323 Walters Ave., Northbrook. Open to kids 5-12. Create anything you can imagine with more than 100 pounds of Lego bricks and elements. Extreme builders post party from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Bring a nut-free lunch and a drink and enjoy extra building time, then, take part in the implosion of a tower made by the group. $29 for residents, $35 for nonresidents. www.nbparks.org.
Turkey Dri Tri: 6 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, at the Oak Brook Park District, 1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. This triathlon features rowing machines, stationary bikes and treadmills. Heats start every 30 minutes. $25. Sign up at www.obparks.org/special-events/turkey-dri-tri.
McHenry Turkey Trot: 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, at McHenry East High School, 1012 N. Green St., McHenry. 5K run/walk. Partial proceeds will support JourneyCare in honor of Siman family members. $35 if you register online by Nov. 22 or $40 on race day. Register or donate online at runsignup.com/Race/IL/McHenry/McHenryTurkeyTrot.
Naperville Noon Lions 5K Turkey Trot: 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, starting at Naperville Central High School, 440 Aurora Ave., Naperville. All proceeds benefit individuals with vision, hearing or diabetes issues. $40 for adults, $30 for kids. Register at napervilleturkeytrot.com.
Palatine Turkey Trot & Drumstick Dash: 8:30-11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, at Harper College, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine. Runners may choose either a 2- or 5-mile distance. Xtreme Tek long-sleeve shirt guaranteed to all preregistered runners. Goody bags will be given to the first 2,000 registered runners. All participants will receive medals. Top finishers will receive an additional reward. Volunteers welcome. $8-$30. www.palatineparks.org/rccms/turkeytrot.
Turkey Day Skate: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, at the Winnetka Ice Arena, 490 Hibbard Road, Winnetka. A special skate day at the ice arena. Skates may be rented for $4. $2 per skater; no registration required. www.winpark.org.
Winter Lights: 4:30-9:30 p.m. daily from Thursday, Nov. 25, through Sunday, Jan. 9, at Central Park, Jorie Boulevard and Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. A free half-mile illuminated walk along paved pathways. The path will be closed during inclement weather. www.obparks.org/winterlights.