October 12, 2017

Celebrate the Holiday Season at the Millennium Park Campus - Chicago's Town Square and the #1 Attraction in the Midwest

Enjoy the 104th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and the opening of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and the Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon on November 17.
Don’t miss Caroling at Cloud Gate, the Dance-Along Nutcracker, the Wreathing of the Lions, Do-It-Yourself Messiah, gingerbread house decorating and more.

Mary May    mary.may@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0576

Christine Carrino    christine.carrino@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0573

Millennium Park Campus Holiday Photos


Featuring your favorite seasonal traditions, ice skating, music, exhibitions and family fun, Millennium Park will be the epicenter of holiday fun in Chicago. As the #1 attraction in the Midwest and Chicago’s town square, the Millennium Park Campus is comprised of events and attractions at Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harris Theater and Park Grill in Millennium Park. For the complete schedule of events, visit millenniumpark.org.

Topping the list is the 104th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 17, in Millennium Park at Washington St. and Michigan Ave. at 6pm. Nominations for Chicago’s Christmas Tree are now being accepted through October 20, for details, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase. The selected tree will be announced in early November, along with the entertainment lineup for the Tree Lighting. And Chicago’s Christmas Tree will be on view through December. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park will open earlier in the day on Friday, November 17, at noon, with skating continuing through March 11, 2018.

There’s more skating and family fun just across the BP Bridge at the Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park. The Wreathing of the Lions has been a tradition at the Art Institute of Chicago for more than 25 years; watch on November 24 as cheery holiday wreaths are placed on the regal lion statues on the museum steps (where they’re up all season), then head inside for art-making activities. And you won’t want to miss the Dance-Along Nutcracker® at the Chicago Cultural Center on December 3—with dance lessons and live music for children of all ages and abilities under the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome.

Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics during Caroling at Cloud Gate. This festive series is part concert, part sing-along at Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” on Fridays, November 24 through December 15. Concerts are free and scheduled from 6 until 7pm, weather permitting.

Admission is FREE to all Millennium Park holiday events and supported by the Chicago Transit Authority. For information about Millennium Park, visit millenniumpark.org, call 312.742.1168, and join the conversation on Facebook (Millennium Park), Twitter and Instagram (@Millennium_Park).

For information about the Chicago Cultural Center, visit chicagoculturalcenter.org, call 312.744.3316, and join the conversation on Facebook (Chicago Cultural Center), Twitter and Instagram (@ChiCulturCenter).

And for information about programs presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase, call 312-744-3316, and join the conversation on Facebook (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), Twitter and Instagram (@ChicagoDCASE) #ChiHolidays.


Events presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events


104th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree

November 17–January 1

104th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, November 17, 6pm

Millennium Park, Wrigley Square at Michigan Ave. & Randolph St.

Enjoy this holiday tradition, a glittering tree set among Chicago’s sparkling skyline and the iconic art of Millennium Park. Free admission.



McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

November 17–March 11, weather permitting

Mon–Thu, noon–8pm; Fri, noon–10pm; Sat, 10am–10pm; Sun, 10am–9pm (see website for holiday hours)

Millennium Park, at Michigan Ave. between Washington St. and Monroe St.

Now in its 17th season, the Chicago winter tradition offers lessons and special programming weekends and during the Chicago Public Schools’ winter break.

Grant support for Winter Workouts ice skating lessons is provided by McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.

Free admission; skate rental is $12 Mon–Thu and $14 Fri–Sun/Holidays.



Caroling at Cloud Gate

Fridays, November 24–December 15, 6–7pm

Millennium Park, at the Cloud Gate sculpture

Bundle up and belt out some holiday classics as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Free admission.



Dance-Along Nutcracker®

Sunday, December 3, Dance Lessons at 11am & 2pm; Performances at noon & 3pm

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Sugar plum fairies and mouse kings of all ages and abilities are invited to point their toes to the familiar music of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. Optional beginner lesson by Ballet Chicago precedes each performance.

The Dance-Along Nutcracker, created in 1985, is the property of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the world’s first openly gay musical organization. Free admission.



Events presented by Millennium Park Campus collaborators


Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

Opens November 17, weather permitting

Mon–Thu, noon–8pm; Fri, noon–10pm; Sat, 10am–10pm; Sun, 10am–8pm (see website for holiday hours)

Ugly Sweater Skate, December 9, 10am–10pm

Skate with Santa, December 16, 10am–noon

Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.

Among the “alpine in a city,” lace up your skates and enjoy an ice skating experience unlike any other on a path of ice winding through the rolling landscape. 

Free admission; skate rental is $12 Mon–Thu and $14 Fri–Sun/Holidays.



Holiday Thorne Miniature Rooms and Neapolitan Crèche

November 18–January 7

Open daily 10:30am–5pm; Thursday until 8pm

Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

The Art Institute's Thorne Miniature Rooms are once again decked out with tiny seasonal trimmings that offer a window into festivities from a Victorian Christmas to a traditional Chinese New Year. The spectacular Neapolitan crèche is one of the few and finest examples found outside of Naples. Free for children under 14 and Chicago residents under 18.



Wreathing of the Lions

Friday, November 24, 10am

Art Institute of Chicago entrance, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

Kick off the holidays at the 26th anniversary of this Chicago family favorite. After adorning the lions on the historic Michigan Avenue steps with their traditional holiday wreaths, move inside at 10:30am for wreath-making fun inspired by the museum’s collection. Wreathing of the Lions is a free event.



Lurie Garden Bird Feeder Workshop

December 10, 1–3pm

Millennium Park, Lurie Garden at Monroe St. and Columbus Dr.

Learn about the birds that remain here in the winter months and help them find much needed food. Each family will make one bird feeder; recommended for ages 6 to 12 years old. Free; advance registration requested.




Thursday, December 14, 2017      

Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St.

Samuel del Real’s Latin Quintet will perform a series of international Christmas songs such as Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, El Burrito Sabanero, The Christmas Song, and much more. They will discuss the instruments that create these expressive sounds and where they originated. There is lots of student/artists interaction. Share the joy as this ensemble enhances students’ understanding of and enthusiasm for music. Visit the website for details.



Gingerbread House Decorating Party

Sunday, December 17, 1–4pm

The Park Grill at Millennium Park, 11 N. Michigan Ave.

Enjoy decorating a gingerbread house complete with candy, icing treats and a hot chocolate bar.

Free admission, $25 for each gingerbread house.



Do-It-Yourself Messiah

December 18 & 19, 7pm

Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St.

Celebrating its 42nd year, the Do-It-Yourself Messiah brings together a world-class conductor and soloists, an all-volunteer orchestra of local professionals and amateur musicians and you, with the other 1,500 audience members, in a thrilling performance of Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah.

$15 per ticket.



The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Brandenburg Concertos

December 20 / 7:30pm

Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St.

CMS’s presentation of the complete Brandenburg Concertos performed one-on-a-part at the Harris has become “a fixture of the holiday season in downtown Chicago” according to the Chicago Tribune. Don’t miss the performance which is an essential year-end musical tradition.

Info + Tickets: www.harristheaterchicago.org/tickets/2017-2018-season/cms2-brandenburg

Tickets start at $30



Holly Days

December 27–30, 10:30am–3pm

Art Institute of Chicago, Ryan Learning Center, 159 E. Monroe St.

Take inspiration from the exhibition Rodin: Sculptor and Storyteller and create a work of art with your family.

Admission to the Art Institute’s Ryan Learning Center is free and museum admission is always free for kids under 14 and Chicago residents under 18.



Millennium Park Campus holiday events are produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Park District, Lurie Garden, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harris Theater, the International Music Foundation and The Park Grill & Plaza at Millennium Park. For the latest news and events, download the Millennium Park app, visit millenniumpark.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @Millennium_Park.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

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