5 Things to Do: Dec. 29-31

This is it — the final weekend of 2017. Make the most of it with educational programming at Adler Planetarium and a special sensory-friendly performance of “A Christmas Carol” at Goodman Theatre. Then, say hello to 2018 with New Year’s Eve events in Rosemont, Evanston, and Chicago.

Adler Planetarium Pop-Up Programs

5 Things to Do: Adler Planetarium Pop-Up Programs
Photo courtesy of Adler Planetarium.

Dec. 26-30

For the second year, Adler will celebrate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) during winter break with family-friendly pop-up programs throughout the museum. Kids will have a chance to create a stop-motion animation movie, make a robot, design and test a wind-powered car, and more.

“A Christmas Carol”: Sensory-Friendly/Relaxed Performance

5 Things to Do: "A Christmas Carol" at Goodman 2017
Larry Yando (Ebenezer Scrooge) in the 40th annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” directed by Henry Wishcamper at Goodman Theatre (through Dec. 31, 2017). GoodmanTheatre.org/Carol (Photo by Liz Lauren.)

Dec. 30

In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of its “A Christmas Carol,” Goodman Theatre will host its first-ever sensory-friendly/relaxed performance of the holiday classic in partnership with Autism Speaks — Chicago. The performance will feature dimmed house lights, lower sound levels, space in the theater to move around, and more.

New Year’s Eve in Rosemont

5 Things to Do: New Year's Eve at Hofbrauhaus Chicago
Photo courtesy of Carol Fox and Associates.

Dec. 31

Hofbräuhaus Chicago will host a “Munich-style,” family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with face painting, a magic show, a parade, and more. Additional celebrations will be held throughout Rosemont, including a Willy Wonka-themed party at Kings Dining & Entertainment and ice skating and fireworks at MB Financial Park. ABC 7 Chicago will also broadcast live from Joe’s Live and Bub City and throughout MB Financial Park.

First Night Evanston

5 Things to Do: First Night Evanston 2017
Image courtesy of First Night Evanston.

Dec. 31

This family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration returns with music, dancing, poetry, and more throughout Evanston. Find a complete list of talent, including Grammy-nominated Special Consensus and The Cover Girls (“Violins Like You’ve Never Heard Them Before”), and venues on the First Night Evanston website.

Fireworks at Navy Pier

5 Things to Do: Fireworks
Dec. 31

Ring in 2018 with a spectacular free fireworks show along the lakefront. Plus, some Navy Pier restaurants will have extended hours, Chicago Children’s Museum will celebrate Noon Year’s Eve, the Chicago Resolution Gala will take place at the Aon Grand Ballroom for the sixth year, and several brunch and dinner cruises will depart from the Pier, so there will be plenty of ways to celebrate all day long. Learn more.


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Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital







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