Holiday Fun Guide: Christmas Events and More

We have you covered for all of your holiday fun, including Christmas events and activities, Hanukkah events, celebrating New Year’s Eve with your kids before your adult celebration at midnight, and even events and activities when you need a break from the holidays in middle of all the busyness. Simply click on your area’s blue button and you will be taken to all of the holiday fun near you!

Winter Holiday Fun Guide

Want to find the best winter holiday fun in your area? Our guide is broken up by area to be most helpful for you. Don’t miss our insider’s guides and reviews section as well!

Not sure what region you should choose? Check the list of towns in the Kidlist coverage area.

December Activities in the Western Suburbs

Hanukkah

The Best Hanukkah Events in Chicagoland
Check out Kidlist’s guide to all things Hanukkah for some of the best family events in Chicagoland celebrating the Festival of Lights!

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Christmas Events and Activities

2018 Live Christmas Tree Farms: Where to Cut Your Own (or Find a Pre-Cut Tree)
Driving to the lot, sawing down a tree, drinking cocoa together: cutting your own Christmas tree is a family adventure! Or go with pre-cut and skip the saw.

2018 Best Christmas Lights in the Western Suburbs
All of the best Christmas lights in the western suburbs with addresses, photos and a map. Take a drive or walk through the beautiful light displays!

Santa Sighting Alert! Where to See Santa in the Western Suburbs 2018
Santa sightings in the western suburbs of Chicago! A comprehensive list of where to see Santa, including dates, times and calendar listings with more info.

Where to Eat with Santa in the Western Suburbs
Find a place to eat with Santa for the 2018 holiday season. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, sweets and more! Don’t forget your camera for a photo opportunity!

Holiday Theater for Kids and Nutcracker Performances
Holiday theater for kids makes for a magical memory! Plan a special outing to see shows like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nutcracker, and more.

8 Most Unique Holiday Experiences in Chicago and the Suburbs
What are the most unique experiences for a memorable December? Get the details on these one-of-a-kind family, friendly events and activities!

Horse-Drawn Carriage and Trolley Rides for Old-Fashioned Holiday Fun
Places to find a horse drawn carriage ride or holiday trolley ride in the southwest and western suburbs. Enjoy the holiday season with some festive rides!

Polar Express Train Rides, Holiday Express, Santa Train, and Santa Trolley
Polar express train rides, holiday express, santa train, and santa trolley rides in the Chicago suburbs. Enjoy a family friendly ride to visit Santa Claus.

Churches with a Live Nativity for Christmas 2018
Find a 2018 live nativity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. There are many local options so you can find one near you!

Free Photos with Santa in the Western Suburbs
All the opportunities to take free photos with Santa for families in the western suburbs of Chicago!

Pet Photos with Santa
Find places that welcome dogs, cats, and other pets in this list of pet photos with Santa to capture memories with your pets this holiday season.

Experience Gift Ideas for the Holidays
Tons of ideas for experience gifts to enjoy time with each other and experiences your kids will remember. Even a few discounts from local businesses!

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids of All Ages
We’ve scoped out all the new toys and games this season and only our favorites are included in this holiday gift guide.

Volunteering with Kids in the Western Suburbs
Volunteering with kids is such a worthwhile way to connect as a family. These organizations offer opportunities to help them better our community.

Churches with Childcare and Children’s Church in the Western Suburbs
Find churches that offer children’s church to give parents the opportunity to embrace weekly services while kids play and learn about God.

Toy Drives and Donations in the Western Suburbs
2018 toy drives in Chicago’s western suburbs for unopened toys, plus where to donate gently used toys. Get in the holiday spirit of giving!

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Insider’s Guides and Reviews

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Get the details on attractions, inflatables, photo opps, food, parking, and more tips and discounts for the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Get the inside scoop on what you will find at Holiday Magic. The best zoo lights, entertainment, free exhibits, parking, light up necklaces, and more.

Chicago Holiday Lights Trolley Tour
Experience the most popular destinations in the city on the Chicago Holiday Lights Trolley Tour without having to worry about parking at each location.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze at The Chicago Theatre
Show overview, review of Cirque Dreams Holidaze, performance dates and times, where and how to get tickets and even how to get a discount!

Blue Man Group with Kids
Get the details for the new updated performance and tips for going to Blue Man Group with kids! Find out how to get half-price tickets to the show. Enjoy!

The Wizard of Oz at Paramount Theatre Aurora
Get the details for The Wizard of Oz at Paramount from both a parent and a kid’s perspective. Info on the show, parking, tickets, recommendations and more!

Illumination and New Features
Get the scoop on all of the features of Illumination at The Morton Arboretum and what has changed since last year.

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New Year’s Eve

Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids in the Western Suburbs
You don’t have to wait until midnight to celebrate the new year… these local places host fun events to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids during the day!

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Non-Holiday December Fun

Top 15 (Santa-Free!) Things to Do With Kids in December
Check out our giant round-up of family-friendly things to do with kids in December! There’s more going on than just holiday events.

Winter Break Camps for Kids in the Western Suburbs
The western suburbs are full of winter break camps with sports, games, crafts, gymnastics, field trips, art, science, math and more!

Grab Your Sled and Head for These Sledding Hills in the Western Suburbs
Snow is on the way, and it’s time to go sledding! Here is a comprehensive list of places to sled in the western suburbs.

Ice Skating Rinks in the Western Suburbs
Family-friendly indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks with skate rental information, admission fees, and how to find out if the outdoor rinks are ready.

Locations, Details, Pricing for Skiing and Snowboarding Near Chicago
Where to go skiing with descriptions, lift ticket and equipment rental information to easily plan a fun adventure with your family.

Indoor Water Parks Near Chicago
Whether you’re looking for a day trip or full-blown vacation, check out our list of indoor water parks near Chicago that are worth the drive!

Places to Go with a Baby or Toddler
It can be hard to find places to go with a baby or toddler, so we put together a list of fun places that even the littlest kids can enjoy.

The Biggest, Best Guide to Indoor Play Areas in the Western Suburbs of Chicago
Every year, this is one of our most popular lists — and for good reason! Chicago’s west suburbs are full of indoor playgrounds to explore with your kids.

Indoor Pools with Family Swim Times in the Western Suburbs
Your kids can enjoy swimming all year round at one of these indoor pools with open swim times in the near western suburbs of Chicago.

Indoor Fun for Tweens
Indoor fun for tweens that is sure to make them excited to hang out and have a good time. All the best places for tweens in Chicagoland in one list!

Tackle These Indoor Rock Climbing Walls in Chicagoland
Kids are born to climb! Check out our list of Indoor rock climbing walls to develop physical skills, courage, and confidence. An activity you can enjoy too!

Arcades, Game Rooms, and Laser Tag in the Western Suburbs
Get your game on! We’ve rounded up the best local arcades, laser tag and game rooms in the Chicago area. Your answer to the search: game rooms near me!

Local Escape Rooms: Are You Up to the Challenge?
Escape rooms are a thrilling challenge for families, friends, date night, and more! We’ve got details on all the local escape rooms nearby.

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December Fun in the Southwest Suburbs

Hanukkah

The Best Hanukkah Events in Chicagoland – 2018!
Check out Kidlist’s guide to all things Hanukkah for some of the best family events in Chicagoland celebrating the Festival of Lights!

go to top | switch to west

Christmas Events and Activities

2018 Live Christmas Tree Farms: Where to Cut Your Own (or Find a Pre-Cut Tree)
Driving to the lot, sawing down a tree, drinking cocoa together: cutting your own Christmas tree is a family adventure! Or go with pre-cut and skip the saw.

Hot Spots to See Santa in the Southwest Suburbs
There are many events all over the southwest suburbs to see the jolly man in red. Check the list below for ideas of where to see Santa!

Eat Lunch, Brunch, or Breakfast with Santa in the Southwest Suburbs
Looking for a place to eat with Santa this holiday season? We have a full list of options to enjoy breakfast, lunch, snacks, and more with the jolly man.

Holiday Theater for Kids and Nutcracker Performances
Holiday theater for kids makes for a magical memory! Plan a special outing to see shows like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nutcracker, and more.

8 Most Unique Holiday Experiences in Chicago and the Suburbs
What are the most unique experiences for a memorable December? Get the details on these one-of-a-kind family, friendly events and activities!

Horse-Drawn Carriage and Trolley Rides for Old-Fashioned Holiday Fun
Places to find a horse drawn carriage ride or holiday trolley ride in the southwest and western suburbs. Enjoy the holiday season with some festive rides!

Polar Express Train Rides, Holiday Express, Santa Train, and Santa Trolley
Polar express train rides, holiday express, santa train, and santa trolley rides in the Chicago suburbs. Enjoy a family friendly ride to visit Santa Claus.

Churches with a Live Nativity for Christmas 2018
Find a 2018 live nativity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. There are many local options so you can find one near you!

Best Christmas Lights in the Southwest Suburbs
We scope out the best Christmas lights to bring you photos, descriptions, and a map so you can be sure to see amazing lights with your family!

Pet Photos with Santa
Find places that welcome dogs, cats, and other pets in this list of pet photos with Santa to capture memories with your pets this holiday season.

Experience Gift Ideas for the Holidays
Tons of ideas for experience gifts to enjoy time with each other and experiences your kids will remember. Even a few discounts from local businesses!

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids of All Ages
We’ve scoped out all the new toys and games this season and only our favorites are included in this holiday gift guide.

Volunteering with Kids in the Southwest Suburbs
Volunteering with kids is a great way to teach values of compassion, empathy, and service. We’ve rounded up some family-friendly events and opportunities.

Churches with Childcare in the Southwest Suburbs
If you are looking to find churches with childcare near you, check out our guide here. It has many local options and is a great place to start!

Toy Drives and Donations in the Southwest Suburbs for Holiday Giving
The holiday season is a great time to teach kids about generosity and giving. Check out our round-up of toy drives collecting new and gently used gifts.

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Insider’s Guides and Reviews

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Get the details on attractions, inflatables, photo opps, food, parking, and more tips and discounts for the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Get the inside scoop on what you will find at Holiday Magic. The best zoo lights, entertainment, free exhibits, parking, light up necklaces, and more.

Chicago Holiday Lights Trolley Tour
Experience the most popular destinations in the city on the Chicago Holiday Lights Trolley Tour without having to worry about parking at each location.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze at The Chicago Theatre
Show overview, review of Cirque Dreams Holidaze, performance dates and times, where and how to get tickets and even how to get a discount!

Blue Man Group with Kids
Get the details for the new updated performance and tips for going to Blue Man Group with kids! Find out how to get half-price tickets to the show. Enjoy!

The Wizard of Oz at Paramount Theatre Aurora
Get the details for The Wizard of Oz at Paramount from both a parent and a kid’s perspective. Info on the show, parking, tickets, recommendations and more!

Illumination and New Features
Get the scoop on all of the features of Illumination at The Morton Arboretum and what has changed since last year.

go to top | switch to west

New Year’s Eve

The Best New Year’s Eve Parties for Kids in the Southwest Suburbs
Daytime New Year’s Eve events for kids, also known as “Noon Year’s Eve” parties that count down to 12:00 pm so the little ones don’t miss the celebration.

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Non-Holiday December Fun

Fun (Santa-Free!) Things to Do with Kids in December
Ice skating, movies, crafts, and more. Get a break from the holiday hubbub with these fun December activities going on in the southwest suburbs of Chicago!

Best Places to Go Sledding in the Southwest Suburbs
Find places for your kids to go sledding in the southwest suburbs. We have locations, addresses and descriptions for the best hills for tons of winter fun!

Ice Skating Rinks
The southwest suburbs have many different options for both indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks. Check out our list for all the local spots!

Locations, Details, Pricing for Skiing and Snowboarding Near Chicago
Where to go skiing with descriptions, lift ticket and equipment rental information to easily plan a fun adventure with your family.

Winter Break Camps for Kids in the Southwest Suburbs
Check the list below for some local winter break camps for fun activities that will bring your kids all the way back to the start of school!

The Ultimate List of Indoor Play Areas in Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs
Looking for a place to play inside with kids? Check out our giant list of indoor play areas all over the south suburbs of Chicago!

Baby and Toddler-Friendly Places in the Southwest Suburbs
These spots have age-appropriate activities for the littlest of kids! Check out our round-up of toddler-friendly places to go in the southwest suburbs.

Indoor Water Parks Near Chicago
Whether you’re looking for a day trip or full-blown vacation, check out our list of indoor water parks near Chicago that are worth the drive!

Open Gyms for Kids in the Southwest Suburbs: Times and Prices
We’ve got a full round-up of open gyms for kids all around Chicago’s Southwest suburbs so they can tumble, play, and get their energy out!

Indoor Pools with Family Swim Times in the Southwest Suburbs
Take your family swimming, even when it’s chilly or raining! We’ve got a round-up of great pools and indoor water parks in the Southwest suburbs.

Kid-Friendly Bowling Alleys in the Southwest Suburbs
Our round-up of kid-friendly bowling alleys includes places where you’ll find bumpers, ball ramps, arcades, birthday parties, and more!

Bounce Houses, Trampolines, and Places to Jump
All kids love to move around, bounce, and prance about in bounce houses! Check out this list below for your guide to all things bounce!

Indoor Fun for Tweens
Indoor fun for tweens that is sure to make them excited to hang out and have a good time. All the best places for tweens in Chicagoland in one list!

Tackle These Indoor Rock Climbing Walls in Chicagoland
Kids are born to climb! Check out our list of Indoor rock climbing walls to develop physical skills, courage, and confidence. An activity you can enjoy too!

Arcades, Game Rooms, and Laser Tag in the Southwest Suburbs
From Burbank to Frankfort, we’ve got a round-up of all the places to go for arcade fun or a round of laser tag in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.

Local Escape Rooms: Are You Up to the Challenge?
Escape rooms are a thrilling challenge for families, friends, date night, and more! We’ve got details on all the local escape rooms nearby.

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About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie, her husband, and their kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

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