Celebrate the festive holiday season like a local in Chicago. 1 2 3 4 5 BY MARGARET DOYLE ILLUSTRATION BY JOE MILLS Millennium Park is the epicenter of holiday fun in Chicago. See the lighting of the city’s sparkling Christmas tree, skate at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, join in Caroling at Cloud Gate or the Do-It-Yourself Messiah at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and check out Lurie Garden in wintertime. Take a walk along historic State Street to see the whimsical holiday windows unveiled each year by Macy’s on State Street. Then duck into the department store and have lunch in the Walnut Room under the magnificently decorated Great Tree. 6 7 8 9 The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a full day of fun, kicking off with family entertainment and activities along Michigan Avenue during the day that lead up to the magical evening parade led by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The Joffrey Ballet’s glorious performance of The Nutcracker at the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University is an enchanting production that boasts lavish costumes, beautiful choreography and a mesmerizing musical score played by a live orchestra. Christkindlmarket is an authentic German holiday market, complete with charming wooden stalls, set in the midst of Daley Plaza. Stroll the market with a cup of warm, spiced wine as you shop for unique holiday gifts and ornaments. The whole family will be delighted by Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier. A sprawling indoor winter wonderland is festively decked out for the holidays and features carnival rides, an ice skating rink and selfies with Santa. Glide along the winding Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park , where on special days you can have breakfast and ice skate with an impressively agile Santa, plus catch carolers serenading the crowds on Sunday afternoons. 10 Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style in Chicago, where parties are held everywhere from glamorous downtown hotel ballrooms to hip restaurants and nightclubs. Don’t miss the fireworks at Navy Pier that glitter above the skyline. HOLIDAY choosechicago.com TRADITIONS 13 The Wreathing of the Lions has been a tradition at the Art Institute of Chicago for more than 25 years. Watch as cheery holiday wreaths are placed on the regal lion statues on the museum steps (where they’re up all season), and then head inside for art-making activities. Ooh and aah at the dazzling animated light displays during ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, where you’ll also find free crafts for kids, frosty beers for the grown-ups, live ice sculpture carving and visits with Santa Claus.