maggie daley park skating ribbon

Chicago Events in 2019

This year is going to be amazing in Chicago! Of course, every year is stellar here, and we always look forward to enjoying more of what Chicago’s known for – great food, great beer, world-class attractions and museums, and friendly people. But here are some dates you’re going to want to know, so you don’t miss out on all the fun in 2019.

Year of Chicago Theatre, throughout 2019

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, along with the League of Chicago Theatres, have designated 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre. So, check for special events and theatrical performances for the public, located in neighborhoods around the city.

Chicago Restaurant Week, 1/25-2/7

Every year, some of the best restaurants in Chicago make it easy for you to go out and try new foods. Add a little excitement to these gloomy winter months by enjoying prix-fixe meal deals at one of the nearly 400 participating restaurants this year, including 100 new ones and 45 suburban ones. The First Bites Bash, an opening kickoff party, takes place on 1/24 at the Field Museum.

21st Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival, 5/4

Every year, this spring tradition lets kids enjoy making and flying kites with free kite building kits. Professional kite flying demonstrations, balloon artists, face painting, and the Big Kite Candy Drop take place as well. Come to Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park to join in the fun!

Chicago Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony, 5/25

The city’s annual Memorial Day Parade honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the U.S. The wreath-laying ceremony takes place before the parade at Daley Plaza.

4th Annual Chicago House Music Festival, Memorial Day Weekend

Chicago is the birthplace of house music, so it’s only fitting we have a festival to celebrate! Enjoy DJs and live performances all weekend at Millennium Park.

Chicago Riverwalk Summer Programming, late May-October

The 1.25-mile walk along the Chicago River will include programming all summer long, from fishing to evening fireworks. You must come and enjoy watching the boats, checking out vendors, and eating along this picturesque path.

34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival, 5/31-6/1

The gospel music scene has strong roots in Chicago, and this traditional free festival celebrates local and national artists who perform both traditional and contemporary gospel styles at Millennium Park.

36th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, 6/7-6/9

The past, present, and future of the blues is tied in with Chicago style, and this free festival is one of the summer’s most popular events. Expect more than 100 international and local artists to spotlight the genre’s contribution to culture.

Millennium Park Summer Music & Film Series, June-August

Enjoy free movies and concerts on the lawn at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Bring a picnic with you, or buy from some of the area eateries. This is always a fun way to spend a summer night in Chicago! Schedule of events comes out later this year.

23rd Annual Chicago SummerDance, Wednesdays-Sundays from 6/27-8/24

This unique annual festival lets you take part in free, one-hour dance lessons with professionals, then join in on live music and dancing in Grant Parkimmediately after. Don’t miss out! The all0day 4th annual SummerDance celebration takes place on 8/24.

39th Annual Taste of Chicago, 7/10-7/14

taste of chicago

The free outdoor food festival is back to showcase Chicago’s diverse and awesome dining scene. There’s no cost to get in, but once here you’ll want to buy tickets that’ll net you both sample sizes and full-size meals. Cooking demos, free concerts, performances, arts, and activities are part of the excitement.

61st Annual Chicago Air & Water Show, 8/17-8/18

You’ll want to come to North Avenue Beach for this annual spectacle, bringing millions of viewers to the waterfront for flight aerobatics, water rescues, parachute teams, and historic aircraft.

41st Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, 8/23-9/1

The greatest jazz artists from Chicago and around the world come to perform at the free music festival, which this year features extended dates for more musical magic. Check the schedule later in the year to see who’s coming!

21st Annual World Music Festival Chicago, 10/13-10/29

The annual festival, which takes place in venues all around the city, features 50 artists that represent 20 countries and regions from around the world. Don’t miss out, if global grooves are your jam.

106th Annual Christmas Tree and Holiday Celebrations, November-December

Although the city hasn’t yet released a specific date for its annual tree lighting, you can expect tons of holiday excitement that includes caroling at Cloud Gate each Friday, the opening of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, and skating at the Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon.

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chicago christmas tree

5 Great Holiday Things To Do In Chicago This November

Although summers in Chicago are pretty spectacular, the holiday season is no slouch. While it does get colder and gloomier, the city hosts some pretty amazing events designed to bring out the holiday cheer in everyone.

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

This unique event starts with a family-friendly lineup of activities on Friday from 4 p.m. and Saturday starting at 11 a.m. Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) features live music, a visit with Santa Claus, themed activities, and treats and offers from Mag Mile businesses. Free concerts and meet and greets take place too – the headliner this year is Cody Simpson. Then, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the grand Tree-Lighting Parade goes down Michigan Avenue, as Grand Marshals Mickey and Minnie Mouse light up the Magnificent Mile from Oak Street to Wacker Drive. Fireworks end the event at 6:55 p.m.

City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

This year’s official tree lighting at Millennium Park will be the 105th! Taking place near the Bean at Michigan Ave. and Washington St., this event features a 60-foot evergreen tree and plenty of holiday fun. The action begins at 6 p.m. and the actual tree lighting takes place at 6:30 p.m. This year, “Hamilton” star Miguel Cervantes acts as emcee. Naturally, admission is free.

The McDonalds Thanksgiving Parade

Progressing on State St. from Congress to Randolph, this exciting parade features hundreds of marching bands, inflatable balloons, unforgettable performances, and holiday cheer! If you can’t make it in person, you can watch it on TV, but you won’t want to miss out as long as you’re not cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Event runs from 8-11 a.m.

The Christkindlmarket Chicago

Inspired by the 16th century Christmas market in Nuremberg, Germany, this open-air European tradition brings international flair and local excitement to your Chicago holidays. Do some shopping for handmade gifts, eat some sweet and savory foods, watch crafts being made! You can now catch Chicagoland’s German-inspired holiday marketplace at Daley Plaza and Naperville.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays Of Light at the MSI

The Museum of Science and Industry is always a great option for winter in Chicago because it’s warm and fun and you learn things too. But around Christmas it’s even better because of the annual holiday event, featuring a four-story Grand Tree surrounded by 50 displays representing holiday traditions from all over the world. Holiday performances take place throughout the season.

Of course, there’s plenty of other fun to be had in Chicago during the holiday season. See if you can get a ride on the CTA Holiday Train, or look at Macy’s windows and enjoy Lightscape on State Street! Visit Lincoln Park Zoo for ZooLights. Get yourself over to Navy Pier for its annual winter playground, which opens on 11/29 in 2018. Go skating at the McCormick-Tribune Rink and Maggie Daley Park’s Skating Ribbon.

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night trees holiday lights rainbow

10 Things to Do in the Chicago Suburbs This Holiday Season

The city of Chicago offers some pretty spectacular lights, sounds, and activities during the holiday season – but the suburbs are full of snowy, seasonal, sensational excitement too. Want proof? Here are 10 amazing places and events for holiday fun with your family this year.

1. Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum

Through January 1, you can come to this beautiful site in the western suburbs for a bit of natural holiday cheer. The mile-long outdoor tour takes you through the arboretum’s tree collections to experience the melding of technology and nature. Interact with trees in ways you never imagined, and enjoy treats and warming stations along the way.

2. Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Kids who love trains will adore this annual exhibit, which is a true family favorite. Model trains travel in and out of miniature Chicago landmarks made from organic materials – while it snows, indoors! The event also includes ice sculpting, a holiday market, caroling, free movies, and visits to the greenhouses.

3. Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

Now in its 36th year, the seasonal celebration at the zoo features over a million LED lights, a talking tree, performances, a model railroad, Santa and Mrs. Claus, cooking decorating, singing to the animals, and zoo chats. Animal exhibits remain open until 8 p.m. in the evening. The event is open on weekend evenings through December 17, then runs December 26-31 and ends with Zoo Year’s Eve.

4. Christkindmarket Naperville

The same Christkindlmarket that comes to Daley Plaza every year also has a suburban home. Through December 24, you can visit holiday vendors at this traditional German market. Buy gifts, food and beverages, and enjoy seasonal events. It’ll be a bit crowded, but parking is definitely better than in downtown Chicago.

5. Home for the Holidays at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

In Oak Park, the house where famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright lived hosts a free holiday open house on Saturday, December 2. Get a tour, enjoy refreshments, participate in a holiday design project, and see the way the home has been decorated in keeping with Wright family tradition. Event is free, but registration is required.

6. Celebrate the Season at Rosemont’s MB Financial Park

The Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the park at Rosemont takes place Friday, November 24 starting at 5 p.m. Starting that day you can also enjoy free ice skating, including the Sunday Funday Characters on Ice free skate from December 3-24. Then, take advantage of one of the great restaurants and entertainment venues surrounding the park.

7. Geneva’s Christmas Walk

Geneva’s event to kick off the holidays on December 1 hearkens back to Swedish tradition. At 6 p.m., Santa Lucia and Santa Claus arrive and the lighting of the great tree takes place. Roasted chestnuts, strolling carolers and a live nativity follow. Complimentary carriage rides are offered, and you can also participate in the Holiday House Tour on December 1 and 2 (tickets are $35 for tour and tea), visiting five architecturally unique homes decorated for the holidays.

8. Elf the Musical at the Paramount Aurora

The Broadway Series at this beautiful old theater in the far western suburbs will be presenting “Elf The Musical” through January 7. Based on the 2003 Christmas movie that’s become a seasonal classic, this version is a feel-good musical extravaganza that will make your holiday season a little brighter.

9. Take a Holiday Train Ride

If your family wants to ride the Polar Express or similarly-themed holiday trains, you can find one in almost every suburb! Tickets are still available. Our favorites include the Happy Holiday Railway from Union’s Illinois Railway Museum, and the South Elgin Polar Express.

10. Holiday Shopping

Chicagoland is a retailer’s paradise, and we have so many great places to get gifts. This season, visit one of the largest indoor malls in the country, Woodfield Mall, and all the stores around it (like Ikea). Or get your discount shopping done at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, which hosts a Black Friday event like no other. Want to enjoy some outside time in the (hopefully) snowy weather? Oakbrook Center and Westfield Shoppingtown Old Orchard are perfect. We also like the Promenade Bolingbrook and Aurora’s Chicago Premium Outlets.

Chicago Holiday Style isn’t limited to the city!

The suburbs are pretty fun here in Chicagoland, whether it’s warm or cold. Moving here? Moving out of here? Elite Moving & Storage has you covered. Get a free estimate from us, and let us know how we can help you with your moving and storage needs.