Weekend 101: 11 Things to Do Around Chicago Dec. 13-15

The weekend is almost here, which means it’s time to start making plans. From Wrigleyville Wonderland and photos with Santa at the Driehaus Museum to “Potted Potter” and Straight No Chaser’s Open Bar Tour, there’s a lot to do this weekend around Chicago.

Plus, on Dec. 15 (National Cupcake Day), visit Molly’s Cupcakes for 99 cent cupcakes like Cake Batter, Oreo, Peach Cobbler, Butterscotch, and Peppermint (limit one per person).

“Potted Potter”

Opens Dec. 11

Travel to Hogwarts with this “Unauthorized Harry Experience” that condenses all seven “Harry Potter” books into one 70-minute show. One Toronto Star writer says it’s “the single funniest thing I’ve seen in ages.”

Straight No Chaser: The Open Bar Tour

Dec. 14

This a cappella group brings their Open Bar Tour to Chicago for two performances (matinee and evening). Their latest EP, “Open Bar,” features covers of “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Tequila,” “All Star,” and “Closing Time.”

Santa at the Driehaus Museum

Dec. 14-15

Santa at Driehaus Museum
Photo courtesy of the Driehaus Museum.

Meet Santa and enjoy holiday games, live music, and performances at the Driehaus Museum. And if you’d like to support the museum with a donation, your gift will be doubled. Learn more.

Winter Solstice Woods Walk

Dec. 15

Chicago Botanic Garden Woods Walk
Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Take a guided walk through Chicago Botanic Garden’s McDonald Woods before warming up by a fire. You can also sign your family up for the Joyful Gingerbread class on Dec. 14 to make cookies together.

Wrigleyville Wonderland


Wrigleyville Wonderland Chicago
Image courtesy of Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

Wrigleyville is getting festive this year with pop-ups like Rudolph’s Christmas Bar, Griswold’s Christmas Vacation Pop-Up Bar, 8 Crazy Nights, and Elf’d Up. Plus, visit Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, go ice skating, try curling, and more at Winterland.

  • Before you go, make reservations to check out Hotel Zachary‘s Camp Zachary, a glamping pop-up. Get cozy with couches and holiday decor under canvas tents that overlook Wrigley Field while sipping on cocktails and hot toddy’s.

Nutcracker Afternoon Tea


Nutcracker Afternoon Tea at JW Marriott with Joffrey Ballet Chicago
Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Chicago.

Don’t miss afternoon tea inspired by The Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” at JW Marriott. The menu includes savory items like Maine Lobster & Porcini Mushroom Pot Pie and Pink Peppercorn Crusted Ahi Tuna Tar Tar, sweet dishes like Sugar Plum Scones and Raspberry Linzer Butter Cookies, and Dammann Loose Leaf Tea.

Holiday Bricktacular

Select Dates through Jan. 5

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago Bricktacular
Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

Celebrate the season at LEGOLAND Discovery Center by building a LEGO ornament or candy cane, going on a scavenger hunt, taking a family photo with a giant LEGO creation, and more.

More Can’t-Miss Events:

Make a Difference:

  • Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski is partnering with The Shops at North Bridge and Care For Real, a local organization with a mission to “help our neighbors in the Edgewater community by providing food, clothing and counseling services,” to collect toys for kids in need. Donate a new, unwrapped, unopened toy at The Shops at North Bridge through Dec. 16 and you’ll receive a Wendella gift card for an architecture tour.
  • SX Sky Bar will host a 12 Days of Charity holiday clothing drive with Dress for Success Dec. 11-22. Those who donates clothes will receive a makeup touch-up and professional headshot. And for the first time, vintage designer clothing from Columbia College Chicago’s Fashion Study Collection will also be on display.

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