Chicago Christmas Tree Daley Plaza

With the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to start making your plans for fun, festive events and activities in your area. To help get you into the holiday spirit, I have compiled a list of 9 wonderful holiday happenings and activities around the country. Have you been to any of the attractions on my list? Feel free to share your own favorite events as well! The more the merrier!

1. Strolling around Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

Tunnel of tree lights at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo Lights festival
Candy cane trees at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo Lights festival

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo offers an amazing, free holiday spectacular each year. I have been to several zoo light shows,  although none have come close to the grandeur of this display. Featuring hand carved ice carving demos, over 2 million multi colored lights, synchronized music & light shows, & ongoing special events throughout the season, this event is a must-do on any holiday fanatics bucket list. New this year, they are offering public ice skating!

Enjoy walking around a winter wonderland while sipping spiced wine, enjoying a rich hot chocolate, or tryin out a new holiday treat. The display runs from late November to early January. Check the Lincoln Park Zoo website for details involving this year’s operating dates & special events. Best of all, admission is just 5 bucks!

Check out more pics from Lincoln Park Zoo lights

2. Touring A Christmas Story House and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

A Christmas Story tour and museum in Cleveland, Ohio
Living room from "A Christmas Story"

Did you know that the house from the classic holiday film, “A Christmas Story” is now used for public tours? I just found out myself this year!  In Cleveland, Ohio, you will find Ralphie’s house from the movie (leg lamp in the window and all) open to the public year-round. An ideal holiday activity for fans of the movie!

You will have the opportunity to freely roam through the house, which was restored to match the exact set up featured in the film. The tour guide provides plenty of interesting tidbits regarding the actors and filming process. The gift shop contains a wonderful assortment of novelty gifts, which make shopping for fans an easy task.

The museum is stocked with memorabilia from the movie (movie stills, scripts, actor’s clothing items, actual props, and more!). This year is the perfect time to visit as it marks the 30th Anniversary of the film (wow don’t you feel old now?!). Visit A Christmas Story Museum website for details regarding admission prices and hours.

More pics from A Christmas Story house and museum

3. Ice Skating at Chicago’s Millennium Park

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago
Cloud Gate sculpture at Chicago's Millennium Park

What better winter activity in Chicago than skating to holiday music, surrounded by amazing architecture? Being surrounded by skyscrapers in one of the country’s best downtown areas just adds to the excitement. This festive activity also doubles as an awesome workout (one that you will actually enjoy!).

Each Friday during the month of December, you will have the opportunity to listen to carolers from various Chicago choral groups. When you are done skating, you have your choice amongst dozens of restaurants and coffee shops to warm up. And, don’t forget about the grand Christmas tree and iconic Macy’s on State Street holiday windows (just a short walk away).

The rink typically opens for the season Mid-late November and stays open through March. Ice skating is free, however, skate rentals require a $15 fee if you do not own a pair. Free skating lessons Sat & Sun mornings at 9am (register online). Visit the Millennium Park Website for details regarding this season’s operating dates and special events.

More winter fun in Chicago!