Updated: January 15, 2011 7:07PM
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Welcome Yule!: Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus herald the holiday season with eight Welcome Yule! performances led by Duain Wolfe, a holiday tradition unique to Chicago. This full-length musical production includes carols, spectacle and Christmas surprises with dancers, children’s chorus and appearances by holiday characters, including the jolly old St. Nick. Programs on Dec, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23. Tix $20-$130. At Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. More info and tix at 312-294-3000. www.cso.org. Box Office.
Mayor Daley’s Chicago Sports Fest: The Mayor’s Office of Special Events presents the Sports Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19 at McCormick Place, in Halls A and B, 2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive. The days include sports activities, entertainment, Radio Disney, B-96, “Mascot Mixer at 2 p.m. Sunday with a meet and greet, tournaments (pre-registration required), and much more. For more info, go to www.cityofchlcago.org/specialevents or www.chicagosportsfest.us
Canciones de Navidad—A Spanish Christmas: The Chicago Chamber Choir will give two performances of their second in a series of Christmas Around the World concerts. The choir will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston and at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at St. Pauls United Church of Christ, 2335 N. Orchard, Chicago. Tix are $18 in advance, $20 at door, $15 students and groups and are available at www.chicagochamberchoir.org or 312-409-6890.
Great Russian Nutcracker: Local Chicago and suburban youth, ages six to fourteen, have been selected to perform alongside the Russian professionals in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at at 3 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. To purchase by phone, call Ticketmaster 800-745-3000, buy online at www.nutcracker.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets start at $27.50. Group rates are available for ten or more tickets, call 800-320-1733.
Chicago Children’s Museum: The museum, dedicated to young children is at Navy Pier, at 700 E. Grand Ave., CCM is the final stop for CTA buses #29, #65, #66 and #124. Hours and admission are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays to Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is Kids and Adults/$10, Seniors/$9. Kids under one are free. This weekend’s activities include “Meet Jack Frost!,” for sing-alongs and other frosty fun and “Alex and The Kaleidoscope Band,” award-winning children’s performers. For more info, www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org/hours.html.
Brookfield Zoo: Brookfield Zoo is located at First Ave. between Ogden Ave. and 31st St., Brookfield. Metra stop is Hollywood. 866-GoToZoo or 800-201-0784. www.czs.org.
29th annual Holiday Magic: Presented by ComEd, with some new features. A million twinkling lights, live entertainment, model trains and a train ride, a special Dolphin Show, singing to the animals, professional ice carvers and more. 4 to 9 p.m. weekends, Dec. 4 through 19 and daily from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Activities are free, with the exception of rides and photo opportunities, with regular paid admission.
Lincoln Park Zoo: 2001 N. Clark St. 312-742-2246 or www.lpz.com.
• Zoolights: The 16th annual holiday classic winter festival kicks off Nov. 26 and continues Fridays, Saturday and Sundays through Dec. 13. Beginning Dec. 17 the event is offered nightly through January 2 (excluding Dec. 24 – 25). The zoo is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with special ZooLights activities beginning at 5 p.m. The event includes light show, ice carving, spiced wine or hot chocolate, visits with Santa at the Lion House and (temporary) tattoos.
Navy Pier: Visit Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, east of the downtown area, at 600 E. Grand Ave. 312-595-7437 or www.navypier.com.
• Chicago Children’s Museum: At Navy Pier. Free admission from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday for KRAFT Free Family Night. With 15 permanent exhibits and new activities daily.
Chicago Cultural Center: 78 E. Washington St. Toll free hotline 1-877-CHICAGO. 312-744-6630. www.cityofchicago.org/CulturalAffairs/.
• Cafe Society: On the third Wednesday of every month, the public is invited to gather at the large table in the Randolph Cafe. Take a break to engage in real conversations current event or issue. The week’s topic, suggested readings and more info at www.thepublicsquare.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-422-5880.
Chicago Tourism Center: 72 E. Randolph, across the street from the Cultural Center. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. www.explorechicago.org.
Metra’s $7 Weekend Pass: Weekend passes are good for unlimited rides on both Saturday and Sunday for all stations. Weekend parking is available at all stations.
Visitor Information Centers: At Chicago Water Works, 163 E. Pearson St. at Michigan Ave. and the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. Toll free hotline 1-877-CHICAGO.
Christmas Market: Logan Square Kitchen kicks it up a notch over the LSK pastry Market as they present a two-day Christmas Market focused on delectable treats and gourmet gift items. More than a dozen artisans will showcase their edible creations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12 at Logan Square Kitchen, 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Please RSVP at 773-342-2333 to help the vendors plan quantities. $1 for adults, kids are free.
Winter WonderFest: The 10th Anniversary Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., includes new attractions and traditional favorites. There are games, rides and entertainment for all ages. Santa will visit with the kids daily. The WonderFest runs through Jan. 2. It is closed Christmas Day. The activities are at Navy Pier Festival Hall A and B. WonderFest is free to enter, ticket purchase required for rides and ice skating. General Activity Wristbands (excludes indoor ice skating) are $15. Premium Activity Wristbands (includes indoor ice skating) are $18. More savings are available with Advance Purchases online. More info and tix at 312-595-7437 or www.navypier.com.
The Rockin’ Holiday Lights Tour of Chicago: Christmas activities aboard Trader Todd’s Tiki Transit on a tour of the city. Merry-oke (karaoke on the bus), holiday trivia (with prizes), hot chocolate and snacks while taking in the beautiful Christmas lights around the city. The one and a half hour tour will leave from Trader Todd’s at 3216 N. Sheffield Ave. and take you to Macy’s, Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier and the Zoo. Tix $19. Fridays and Saturdays through New Years weekend. The tour can also be booked for private charter. To book a seat, Virginia at 773-348-3250.
Family Fun Days/Victorian Christmas: in Oak Park. Families are invited to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 11 and 18 for a morning of free holiday events, including Victorian Christmas Tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home, hot chocolate and festive holiday music. Children are also invited to play with Froebel blocks in Wright’s renowned Drafting room. For more info about the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust programs, visit GoWright.org or call 708-848-1976.
The Woodworking and D.I.Y. Show: Informal Strolling Seminars, hands-on instruction, displays of the latest tools and products and hearing from the experts is all at the The Woodworking and D.I.Y. Show on Dec. 10, 11 and 12 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg. Admission is $10 for adults and free for kids under 15 years. Admission discounts are available online. For more info, go to www.TheWoodworkingShows.com or call 800-826-8257.
City on a Sphere: showPOD Presents — Another 6 Endlessly Open Cities, by the Department of Urban Speculation. A series of six investigations of urban phenomena manifested in a city on a sphere. The exhibit Has been extended through Jan. 2, as part of Second Fridays Gallery Night in the Chicago Arts District, along the 1800 block of S. Halsted St. For more info, go to www.chicagoartsdistrict.org.
Holidays A Cappella: The Chicago a cappella will share glorious vocal music for the holiday season at area concerts, 8 p.m. Dec. 10 Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan Ave. at Delaware, Chicago, and 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St. Oak Park. For tix and info, visit www.chicagoacappella.org or call 773-755-1628.
Mayne Stage: Mayne Stage is at 1328 W. Morse Ave. Red Line stop is “Morse.” Tix and Info at www.maynestage.com or 773-381-4554.
• Ilya Kaler: Presented by WFMT Live from Mayne Stage, 11 a.m. Dec. 12. Tix $10. • Rush Hour Encore Performances: From St. James Cathedral/Fifth House Ensemble. Presented by WFMT Live from Mayne Stage. 11 a.m. Dec. 19. Tix $10.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. 312-294-3000. www.cso.org. All concerts are at Symphony unless otherwise noted.
• Jazz Series: Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread and Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society. 8 p.m. Dec. 10. Tix $21 to $72.
• MusicNOW: The new music series continues with Mason Bates, Anna Clyne and Cliff Colnot at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive. Tix $20.
• Civic Orchestra of Chicago: The Civic Orchestra, training orchestra of the CSO, performs at 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at Symphony Center. Guest conductor Xian Zhang. Free, but tix required. All concerts at Symphony Center unless otherwise noted.
Aftermath: Signal Ensemble Theatre presents the remount of the hit jukebox musical “Aftermath.” Brian Jones, founder and original leader of The Rolling Stones, was perhaps most famous for his mysterious death at age 27. Spanning the years 1966-1969, “Aftermath,” is a drama with the actors playing live music. Ends Dec. 12 at The Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tix $20/$15. More info and Tix at 773-347-1350 or www.signalensemble.com. Highly Recommended.
Cats: Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in association with Michael James. The perennial favorite composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and introduced the popular song Memory. Cats is presented through Jan. 2 at No Exit Café, 6970 N. Glenwood. Tix are $30 and $35. Dinner package (optional), $50 and $55. New Year’s Eve package, $100. Tix available at www.theoubique.org or 800-595-4849. Theatre and show info at 773-347-1109.
A Christmas Carol: Dickens’ holiday classic returns to the Goodman Theatre, 170 North Dearborn, for the 33rd season. A Christmas Carol runs through Dec. 31, 2010 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre. Tix are $25 to $76 at www.GoodmanTheatre.org, 312-443-3800 or at the box office at the theatre.
Departure Lounge: A musical comedy by Dougal Irvine. Four teenaged Brits, stuck in an airport after their final vacation before college, realize they are not just going home, but are embarking on a journey into adulthood. Royal George Theatre Center, 1641 N. Halsted St., ends Dec. 12. Tix $25 to $45, available at the Royal George Box Office, by phone at 312-988-9000; or through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. For more info, visit www.bailiwickchicago.com.
It’s a Wonderful Life—Radio Play: American Blues Theater (ABT), opens its 2010-2011 season with a return engagement of the critically acclaimed “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph!” in the Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Wednesdays through Sundays, Nov. 26 through Dec. 31. For tickets call the Victory Gardens box office at 773-871-3000 or visit victorygardens.org.
The Last Night of Ballyhoo: Alfred Uhry’s play is set in 1939 Atlanta with the premiere of Gone with the Wind as a backdrop. The Jewish Freitag family is forced to face how they identify with who they are and where they come from when a newcomer from New York enters their lives and shakes things up. Runs Fridays through Sundays, through Dec. 19 at the Historic North Lakeside Cultural Center, 6219 N. Sheridan Road. Tix $15/$10$20. Reservations online at Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com, www.project891theatre.com or by e-mailing email@example.com web. Director Jason W. Rost is a 2003 Oswego High School grad and native of Oswego.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: On the campus of a small New England college, George and Martha invite a new professor and his wife home for a nightcap. As the cocktails flow, the young couple finds themselves caught in the crossfire of a savage marital war. Edward Albee’s tale runs Dec. 2 through Feb. 13 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. 312-335-1650. Online ticketing available at www.steppenwolf.org.
Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 through Dec. 27 in The Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 N. Wells St., 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley. The Revue features a seasonal blend scenes, songs and improvisation with a sprig of holiday mischief for a night of spirited fun. For more info, a schedule or tix, call 312-337-3992 or go to www.secondcity.com. Tix $16/$22.
Spoiler Alert—Everybody Dies: The Second City announces the opening of its 98th revue at 8 p.m. July 14 at The Second City Mainstage Theatre, 1616 N. Wells St. In the blockbuster of human life, we all know the outcome - no spoiler alert needed. This reminds us that in the end, we are all in this together. Tix $22 to $27, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com. Zanies Comedy Club: 1548 N. Wells St. 312-337-4027 or www.ZANIES.com.
• Rising Star Showcase: Dec. 13, 21, 22, 23. $10.
• Claude Stuart: Dec. 7 through 12. $23.
• Larry Reeb: Dec. 14 through 19. $23.
• The Female Funnies: Dec. 20. $10.
The Chicago Improv: 5 Woodfield Rd., Schaumburg, (inside Woodfield Mall). (847) 240-2001 or www.improv.com.
• John Heffron: Dec. 9 through 12. $19/$22.
• Kyle Dunnigan: Dec. 16 through 19. $17.
• Rob Schneider: Dec. 30, Jan. 1 and 2. $33. New Year’s Eve — Show only at 7 p.m., $40. Dinner at 5:30 p.m. and Show at 7 p.m., $70. Show at 10 p.m., $60.
Comedy Sportz Theatre: An interactive improv experience. 929 W. Belmont (Belmont and Sheffield). 773-549-8080, www.comedysportzchicago.com, www.Ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000. Late-night comedy, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
• Snow White: The new children’s show is a fairy tale brought to life with humor, complete with Evil Queen, Magic Mirror, and the One Dwarf. One Dwarf!? Sounds like kids in the audience need to help out with the show. The show runs at 11 a.m. through Dec. 18, Jan. 8 through 15 and Jan. 29. Tix are $10/adults and $7/kids 10 and under.
• The Stevens Family Peanuts Christmas Special: Runs Thursdays at 10 p.m. through Dec. 30. Tix $5. Holiday Show.
• OOPS! I Christmassed Again—A Britney Spears Christmas Carol: Fridays at Midnight through Dec. 17. Tix $10. Holiday Show.
The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum: 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive. 312-922-7827 or www.adlerplanetarium.org.
• Journey to the Stars: Images from telescopes on Earth and from space, the program is a journey through time to experience the life and death of stars in the night sky, including the Sun. Open May 21 at Definiti Space Theater.
• Adler after Dark: Adler’s new 21+ event — cocktails, appetizers and the skyline view, plus a peek through the largest public telescope in the Midwest. Open 6 to 10 p.m. every third Thursday, next, Dec. 16. The tickets include general admission, unlimited sky and space shows and more. Tix are $7/$10 advance tickets at www.adlerplanetarium.org or $10/$15 on site. The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive. 312-922-7827. Recommended.
• 0ne World, One Sky - Big Birds Adventure: The Adler Planetarium and Beijing Planetarium’s joint program with Elmo’s mend, Hu Hu Zhu who visits from China. On Sesame Street, Big Bird, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu take viewers on a discovery of the Sun, Moon and the stars. Presented in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
Chicago History Museum: Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St. 312-642-4600 or www.chicagohistory.org.
• Various exhibits: The exhibit “Sensing Chicago” lets kids try out Chicago style fun like riding a high-wheel bicycle down a wood-paved street; hearing the Great Chicago Fire; catching a fly ball at Comiskey Park; discovering history through their noses with a Smell Map; being a Chicagostyle hot dog; and creating an oversized postcard to post on the gallery wall or e-mail to a friend. There are also interactive gallery stations that let kids construct bridges, play with a hands-on model of the John Hancock building, investigate native plants and more. Admission is free on Mondays.
The Field Museum: 1400 S. LakeShore Drive. 312-922-9410 or www.fieldmuseum.org.
• Gold: The Gold Exhibit explores its natural beauty, scientific value and its power to shape history. The exhibit runs through March and includes, among more than 550 objects, coins from shipwrecks to the Chicago White Sox World Series Championship trophy.
Frank Lloyd Preservation Trust: Wright’s Home and Studio, 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park. Robie House, 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. 708-848-1976. www.GoWright.org.
• Family Fun Days/Victorian Christmas: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio is open from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 11 and 18 for a morning of free holiday events, including Victorian Christmas Tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright home, hot chocolate and holiday music. Children are also invited to play with Wright’s Froebel blocks in Wright’s renowned drafting room.
Museum of Contemporary Photography: At Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan Ave. 312-663-5554. firstname.lastname@example.org.
• La Frontera — The Cultural Impact of Mexican Immigration: Curated by MoCP director, Rod Slemmons. The exhibit focuses on the many layers and generations of migration and immigration, and the varying agendas they all hold. Runs through Dec. 23.
Museum of Science and Industry: 57th Street and Lakeshore Drive. Extra charge on some exhibits. 773-684-1414 or www.msichicago.org. New: www.facebook.com/msichicago and twitter at msichicago.org/podcast.
• Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights: Included this year is a 45-foot Grand Tree with over 30,000 lights and pays homage to Jim Henson’s puppet creativity with more than 1,000 character-inspired ornaments. Also featured are more than 50 additional trees, to reflect traditions from around the globe. Choral group and ethnic performances take place almost every day. Runs through Jan. 9.
• Jim Henson’s Fantastic World: More than 130 original artworks including drawings, cartoons and storyboards. A timed-entry ticket is required. Exhibit runs Sept. 24 through Jan. 23, 2011.
• Online tickets: All tickets, — general admission, Omnimax and special exhibitions—can now be purchased online at www.msichicago.org.
The Shedd Aquarium: Aquarium at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive. 312-559-0200 or visit www.sheddaquarium.org.
• Happy Feet 4-D Experience: A 12 minute 4 dimensional adaptation of “Happy Feet” makes its world premiere in Shedd Aquarium’s refurbished 4-D Theater. It is featured in digital 3-D and brought to life with 4-D multi-sensory effects.
• Fantasea: Dolphins soar, belugas dance, and penguins parade in Fantasea, the new aquatic show. Read more at http://www.sheddaquarium.org/fantasea.html#ixzz0WfMxjTLc.
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