The gifts are unwrapped, the candles are out and you’re staring down two weeks of “we” time with the kids home from school.
No need to hole up at home—there’s plenty of fun to be had in the city and the ‘burbs, including New Year’s Eve. Here are a few ideas to keep you busy:
Glenview Ice Center Winter Carnival
Through January 6
1851 Landwehr Rd., Glenview
Are the kids a wee bit amped up? Let them work off a little of that excess energy skating with Spongebob Squarepants. Open skating, sundae parties and New Year’s Eve festivities for the whole family.
Chicago Botanic Garden Winter Break Camps
December 27–January 4
1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
For more information, call 847-835-8361.
For families with little ones under the roof, try one of the Garden’s great school break programs. Kids will have the chance to learn about weather, how plants and animals adapt to the different seasons, play outside and more.
Metropolis Arts Winter Break Camps
111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights
School breaks are a perfect time to let your kid explore new interests and hobbies. Metropolis Arts offers several great camp opportunities, including beginning and intermediate guitar, as well as vocal audition prep for those upcoming spring musicals.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
Through January 6
Museum of Science and Industry, 57th St. and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
The Museum of Science and Industry does it up right for the holidays. Its annual display of holiday trees is a showstopper and will entertain both the youngest and the oldest in your crowd this weekend.
Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express
Through January 6
100 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
This North Shore tradition is fun for the whole family. Enjoy a long garden stroll under thousands of twinkling lights, the miniature trains, the gingerbread village and more.
Winter Flower and Train Show
Through January 6
Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 Stockton Dr., Chicago
Already been to Wonderland Express or are looking for a similar experience downtown? Here’s a great way to grab a few more moments of holiday fun and combine it with the hope of a spring soon to come—head to a flower show. Lincoln Park Conservatory puts on a great show, along with a miniature train village.
Genesee Theatre, 203 N Genesee St., Waukegan
OK—there is one problem, and that’s the fact that Dennis DeYoung is not performing with the group right now. But Tommy Shaw is, and 70s and 80s babies are probably going to be singing out loud, anyway. “Renegade,” people!
The Poseidon Adventure
Music Box Theatre
Don your favorite 70s cruisewear and start practicing your Shelley Winters impersonation. It’s time for a wild ride with the folks from Camp Midnight at this campy film screening, now in its fourth year of New Year’s Eve fun.
The Chicago Comedy Tour
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights
Laugh your way into the new year with this special comedy offering from WGN favorites Pat Tomasulo, Ana Belaval and Mike Toomey (WGN’s Skip Parker). Champagne toasts and a balloon drop round out the evening. Purchase tickets here.
The Deltones (New Year’s Eve)
iO Theatre, 3541 N. Clark St., Chicago
Change up your New Year’s routine with a trip to the iO where you can catch improvised Broadway-style musicals. Think about it. Wicked fun.
Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys with Nicholas Tremulis
SPACE, 1245 Chicgago Ave., Evanston
Make your New Year’s Eve musical—and local—with a visit to SPACE. Catch renowned rocker Alejandro Escovedo. The dance floor will be open and a champagne toast is set for midnight.
14th Annual Polar Bear Plunge
Waukegan Municipal Beach, 201 Sea Horse Dr.
Kick off the New Year with a refreshing … yeah, right. This one is for anyone who has “Do a polar bear plunge!” on his or her bucket list. And if you don’t? Then you can watch and cheer from the sidelines.
Killing Me Sweetly
Trenchermen, 2039 W. North Ave., Chicago
If your sweet tooth is still nagging for more, this one-time event is sure to fit the bill—join pastry chefs from around the globe as they come together in celebration of women in their industry. A fantastic culinary girls night out!
Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival
Starts January 3
Stage 773, 1223 W. Belmont, Chicago
Looking for a great date night opp? Try some fresh sketch comedy. The 12th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the nation’s largest sketch comedy festival, celebrates the best in local, national and international sketch comedy with more than 800 artists from 140 sketch comedy troupes performing 169 shows.
Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie
Two words: Tap. Dancing. Why not try something a little off the beaten path to kick off 2013? Can’t make it this Friday? It’s running every Friday all month.
Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena Blvd., Aurora
Pop culture fans, it’s time for a little road trip southwest to Aurora—Shatner is in town, and he’s going to be riffing on his days as Captain Kirk and more. With six decades in the business, there’s plenty of tales to tell.
Second City Guide to the Opera
Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago
Renée Fleming hosts this original combination of comedy and opera, guaranteeing a night you won’t soon forget. Would you expect anything less from these two entertainment powerhouses? This show will be one for the history books, but not one for the kids. Get a sitter and go!