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Millennium Park will be the epicenter of holiday cheer in Chicago, featuring your favorite seasonal traditions, Chicago’s official Christmas Tree, ice skating, music, exhibitions, a NEW art market, the Lurie Garden in winter and free family fun. The Millennium Park Campus is comprised of events and attractions at Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harris Theater and Park Grill. For the complete schedule of events, visit millenniumpark.org.
Topping the list of traditions is the 105th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 16, in Millennium Park at Washington St. and Michigan Ave. at 6pm. Miguel Cervantes, Alexander Hamilton in the Hamilton Chicago Company currently playing Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre, will serve as the emcee for the program featuring music and special guests. Nominations for Chicago’s Christmas Tree are now being accepted through October 19. For details, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase. The selected tree will be announced in the news few weeks, along with the entertainment lineup for the Tree Lighting. The Christmas Tree will be on view through the first week of January.
The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park will open earlier in the day on Friday, November 16, at noon, with skating continuing through Mid–March 2019. The ice rink will offer skating with a twist this season through Themed Skate Nights on most Thursdays, November 29–March 7, 6–8pm. Skaters are invited to put on a festive costume and join us for themed ice skating parties hosted by local Chicago DJs.
NEW this year, the Millennium Park Art Market with School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago and After School Matters will feature one-of-a-kind items, including jewelry, fashion, painting, sculpture, prints, drawings and more on sale by more than 150 student artists. Part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Creative Youth, the Art Market is supported by the Millennium Park Foundation. The market is free admission and will run November 16–18, 11am–7pm in a heated tent on the Chase Promenade North.
Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics during Caroling at Cloud Gate. This festive series is part concert, part sing-along at Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” on Fridays, November 23 through December 14 with a bonus performance on Wednesday, December 12. Concerts are free and scheduled from 6 until 7pm, weather permitting.
There’s more skating and family fun just across the BP Bridge at the Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park. The Wreathing of the Lions has been a tradition at the Art Institute of Chicago for more than 25 years; watch on November 23 as cheery holiday wreaths are placed on the regal lion statues on the museum steps (where they’re up all season), then head inside for art-making activities. And you won’t want to miss the Dance-Along Nutcracker® at the Chicago Cultural Center on December 2—with dance lessons and live music for children of all ages and abilities under the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome.
Admission is FREE to all Millennium Park holiday events and made possible by the Millennium Park Foundation, with support from the Chicago Transit Authority. For information about Millennium Park, visit millenniumpark.org, call 312.742.1168, and join the conversation on Facebook (Millennium Park), Twitter and Instagram (@Millennium_Park).
For information about the Chicago Cultural Center, visit chicagoculturalcenter.org, call 312.744.3316, and join the conversation on Facebook (Chicago Cultural Center), Twitter and Instagram (@ChiCulturCenter).
And for information about programs presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase, call 312-744-3316, and join the conversation on Facebook (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), Twitter and Instagram (@ChicagoDCASE) #ChiHolidays.
NEW! Millennium Park Art Market with School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago and After School Matters
November 16–18, 11am–7pm
Millennium Park, Chase Promenade North
Start your holiday shopping with one-of-a-kind items, including jewelry, fashion, painting, sculpture, prints, drawings and more on sale by more than 150 student artists. The Art Market is supported by the Millennium Park Foundation and part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Creative Youth program.
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, Michigan Ave. between Washington St. & Monroe St.
November 16–March, weather dependent, visit websites for hours
NEW! Themed Skate Nights on most Thursdays, November 29–March 7, 6–8pm. Skaters are invited to put on a festive costume and join us for themed ice skating parties hosted by local Chicago DJs. Visit website for dates and themes.
FREE Admission; Skate rental is $13 Mon–Thu and $15 Fri – Sun/Holidays
105th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday, November 16, 6pm
Millennium Park, Wrigley Square, Michigan Ave. & Randolph St.
Enjoy the glittering tree set among Chicago’s sparkling skyline and the iconic art and architecture of Millennium Park. Miguel Cervantes, star of Hamilton Chicago Company playing Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre, will serve as the emcee for the ceremony featuring music and special guests.
Caroling at Cloud Gate
Fridays, November 23 & 30, December 7 & 14, and Wednesday, December 12, 7pm
Millennium Park, Cloud Gate
Bundle up and belt out some holiday classics as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song.
Sunday, December 2, Dance Lessons at 11am & 2pm; Performances at noon & 3pm
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.
Sugar plum fairies and mouse kings of all ages and abilities are invited to point their toes to the familiar music of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic.
The Dance-Along Nutcracker®, created in 1985, is the property of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the world’s first openly gay musical organization.
Events presented by Millennium Park Campus collaborators
Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon, 337 E. Randolph St.
November 16 – March, weather dependent, visit websites for hours
Skate with Santa: Saturday, December 15, 10am–noon
FREE Admission; Skate rental is $13 Mon–Thu and $15 Fri–Sun/Holidays
$40 Fast Passes are available
Exelon Family Series: Opera Atelier
Saturday, November 17, 2pm
Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St.
$18 tickets at harristheaterchicago.org
Wreathing of the Lions
Friday, November 23, 10am
Art Institute of Chicago Michigan Avenue entrance, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
Outdoor wreathing is FREE; museum entry requires general admission, though children under 14 are FREE Admission
Start the winter season with this Chicago family favorite. The outdoor ceremony, emceed by cast members from the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker, celebrates the 125th anniversary of the museum’s Michigan Avenue home. Then move indoors toenjoy fun-filled art activities at the Ryan Learning Center.
Art Institute 125th Anniversary
Saturday, December 8, Noon & 2pm
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
Gallery talks are FREE with museum general admission and children under 14 are FREE
Join us in the galleries for talks celebrating the Art Institute's remarkable 125 years of history since opening its doors on Michigan Avenue on December 8, 1893.
Live Music Now! Young People’s Concert with Millar Brass
Thursday, December 20, 10:30am and noon performances
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.
16th Annual Gingerbread House Making Brunch
Sunday, December 16, 10am–1pm & 1–4pm
Park Grill, 11 N. Michigan Ave.
$25 per gingerbread house at eventbrite.com/e/gingerbread-house-decorating-brunch-at-millennium-park-tickets-50006527871
Enjoy decorating a gingerbread house complete with candy, icing treats and a hot chocolate bar. A la carte brunch menu will be available from 10am to 4pm.
December 17 & 18, 7pm
Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Dr.
$15 tickets at harristheaterchicago.org.
The Do-It-Yourself Messiah brings together a world-class conductor and soloists, an all-volunteer orchestra of local professionals and amateur musicians and you, with the other 1,500 audience members in a thrilling performance of Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah. imfchicago.org/programs/do-it-yourself-messiah
Millennium Park Campus holiday events are produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Park District, Lurie Garden, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harris Theater, the International Music Foundation and The Park Grill & Plaza at Millennium Park. For the latest news and events, download the Millennium Park app, visit millenniumpark.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @Millennium_Park.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.
Millennium Park Foundation
The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic nonprofit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction, and curation of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free, accessible and equitable venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.
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