Family 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. Scroll through the list of holiday family fun and find great activities and events near you!

Holiday Family Fun Guide

Winter Holiday Family Fun Guide for Families in the West and Southwest Suburbs

All New! 31 Days of December: Your Holiday Bucket List
We put together day by day itineraries for family fun with local events and activities! There is also a printable bucket list that you can do any day of the week.

Want to find the best winter holiday fun in your area? Don’t miss our insider’s guides and reviews section as well!


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!

Christmas Events and Activities

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.

Where to Find the Best Christmas Lights
All of the best Christmas lights in the suburbs with addresses, photos and a map. Take a drive or walk through the beautiful light displays!

Santa Sighting Alert! Where to See Santa
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
Find a place to eat with Santa for the 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.

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
Find a 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
All the opportunities to take free photos with Santa for families in the west and southwest 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.

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids of All Ages: Experience Gifts and the Best Toys and Games
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! We’ve also scoped out all the new toys and games this season and only our favorites are included in this holiday gift guide.

Volunteering with Kids
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
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
Toy drives in Chicago’s western suburbs for unopened toys, plus where to donate gently used toys. Get in the holiday spirit of giving!

Insider’s Guides and Reviews

At Kidlist we are all about holiday family fun. We scope out all of the top events and activities to give you the low down with tips and inside info on the best features of each location!

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!

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

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

Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids
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!

New Year’s Eve

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
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
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.

For more winter fun, check out our Winter Activities Guide!