6 Ways to Experience Holidays Around the World Right Here in Chicago

6 Ways to Experience Holidays Around the World in Chicago

Whether you’re eager to do a deeper dive into the diversity that surrounds us here in Chicago or excited to explore your own roots, you don’t have to go far to experience the season from a new perspective. Start with the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual Christmas Around the World extravaganza, on display from Nov. 15 through Jan. 6. The gorgeous annual exhibit dates back to 1942 and includes 50 beautifully decorated Christmas trees that represent different cultures around the globe, plus live performances on the weekends. Visit the museum’s website for more — and to really immerse yourself in a different culture, consider these five fantastic events.

France: Lycee French Market

Nov. 17-18

If you can’t jet to France for the holidays, this event, which transforms Chicago’s Lycee Francais school into a bona fide Parisian market, is the next best thing. Shop for everything from cheeses and macarons to jewelry and home decor, and pop into the bistro for an authentic French lunch.

Sweden: Julmarknad

Dec. 1-2

This annual holiday bazaar at Andersonville’s beloved Swedish American Museum includes crafts, games, and a visit from Santa for the kiddos, plus a kaffestuga (coffeehouse), St. Lucia processions, and folk dance performances.

Ireland: Irish Christmas Luncheon

Dec. 7

Experience traditional Irish food, carols, and even an emerald-hued Santa Claus — plus plenty of mixing and mingling — at this annual lunch. Plan to wear green, and bring an unwrapped toy to benefit the Catholic Charities Celebration of Giving Toy Drive.

Japan: Tsukasa Taiko 29th Annual Winter Solstice Concert

Dec. 21

This unique performance features students from Tsukasa Taiko (a renowned Japanese drumming program based in Chicago) as well as its executive director, jazz double bass player Tatsu Aoki, and renowned jazz percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang.

Austria: Salute to Vienna New Year’s Eve Concert

Dec. 30

Time-travel back to Vienna’s golden age with an authentic performance of waltzes by champion ballroom dancers, operettas performed by European singers, and music by the Strauss Symphony of America featuring the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. This is Viennese tradition at its best.


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Danielle BraffDanielle Braff is a full-time freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and travel. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two daughters, two dogs, and two cats. To see more of her stories, check out daniellebraff.com. Danielle is passionate about pet adoption, and her favorite nonprofit is the Anti-Cruelty Society.