The holiday season is officially here now that annual favorites like the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World exhibit, The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, and Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum are making their much-anticipated return to the Chicago area. Plus, don’t miss a wood- and barrel-aged beer festival and the latest production at Lyric Opera of Chicago this weekend.
Opens Nov. 15
The Museum of Science and Industry’s annual holiday exhibit is back with more than 50 trees and displays showcasing holiday traditions around the world. For a grownups-only experience, visit Nov. 16 for MSI After Hours: Naughty or Nice, featuring treats like spiked hot chocolate and candy cane marshmallows. Find a complete list of exhibit-related events on MSI’s website.
More than 200 of the country’s top craft breweries will showcase their rare and inventive wood- and barrel-aged beers while competing to be the best of the best in the National Barrel-Aged Beer Competition.
Kick off the holiday season with this parade and festival along Michigan Avenue. Highlights include BMO Harris Bank’s Kid’s Zone tent, AT&T’s Holiday Magic Truck, complimentary cheesecake slices from Eli’s Cheesecake, complimentary popcorn from Garrett Popcorn, tacos and Mexican Hot Chocolate from Pink Taco, and a pop-up gallery from Shedd Aquarium. Plus, you can watch all the festivities at Raised, an Urban Rooftop Bar. The bar’s family-friendly Festival of Lights on Nov. 17 will feature live entertainment, hot drinks, and a build-your-own s’mores box.
Opens Nov. 17
This weekend, Lyric opens Verdi’s “Il trovatore,” which will run through Dec. 9. “‘Il trovatore’ is full of ‘primary-color’ emotions and contains some of Verdi’s most darkly intense music,” says Lyric General Director Anthony Freud. “It is unforgettably tuneful and powerfully dramatic. From Manrico’s thrilling ‘Di quella pira’ to the ‘Anvil Chorus,’ one of the most famous choruses in all opera, ‘Il trovatore’ is the epitome of Italian grand opera: stirring and spectacular.”
Opens Nov. 17
It’s once again time for The Morton Arboretum to glow with a kaleidoscope of color. New this year is Crown of Light, an exclusive five-piece sculpture by HYBYCOZO, and Woodland Wonder, where visitors can step inside a grove of trees to be surrounded by thousands of rotating lights. Explore it all with an adults-only opening night event, IllumiBrew, on Nov. 16.
More Can’t-Miss Events:
- Shop goods from more than 40 vendors at the Women’s Board of Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Holiday Boutique Nov. 14-17. Proceeds will benefit the board’s fundraising goals.
- Find clothing and accessories, home decor, gourmet food, and more at The Woman’s Club of Evanston’s Holiday Bazaar Nov. 16-18.
- Looking for a holiday event everyone will love? Don’t miss “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” at The Chicago Theatre Nov. 16-25.
- Christkindlmarket, a favorite Chicago holiday tradition, opens Nov. 16 and runs through Dec. 24.
- Goodman Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” returns Nov. 17 and runs through Dec. 30. Enhanced performances include ASL Interpreted (Dec. 2), Spanish Captioned (Dec. 28), and Sensory-Friendly (Dec. 29) shows.
- Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership’s One Book | One Community program kicks off Nov. 18 with a conversation between author Mark Sarvas and WBEZ’s Alexandra Salomon. Sarvas’ novel “Momento Park” is this year’s book selection.
More from Make It Better:
- 30 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This November
- 18 Plays in Chicago You Won’t Want to Miss This Holiday Season
- Finished Your Favorite TV Series? Here’s What to Watch (Ahem, Binge) Now
Anna Carlson writes the weekly Weekend 101 column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of 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.