Things to Do: 2014 Joint Meeting/Midyear Meeting

ISBA Midyear Meeting (Joint meeting with the Illinois Judges Association)
December 11 - 13, 2014
The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Chicago, Illinois

Websites you might find helpful in planning your visit to Chicago:

Deals & Discounts

Smart Destinations

Click on "Get Your Pass" and select "Chicago." By choosing "I want to see it ALL!" or "I want to pick a few attractions," you design the "Go Chicago Card" "or Chicago "Go Select" package that best fits your visit. The all-inclusive card ("Go Chicago") includes free admission to 25 attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium, SkyDeck Chicago, Architecture River Cruise, Hop on Hop Off Trolley, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Skyline Lake Tour, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, John Hancock Observatory, and more. Three day adult passes for the all-inclusive package start at $123.24; children 3-12 are $89.24; there are 1, 2, 3, and 5-day passes available.

Groupon frequently offers discounts on popular Chicago attractions.

Theater & Other Live Performances


Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603; 312-977-1700

I Love Lucy® Live On Stage, 12/09 – 12/14/2014
An "out-of-body experience for 'Lucy' fans" according to Showbiz Chicago, I Love Lucy® Live On Stage takes audience members back to 1952 as members of the Desilu Playhouse studio audience where they await the filming of two hilarious and oh-so-familiar I Love Lucy® episodes, The Benefit and Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined. A charming host entertains and enlightens the crowd to the behind-the-scenes filming process of a brand new thing called "television," the Crystaltone Singers perform advertising jingles in perfect 50s style harmony and the sidesplitting antics of America's favorite foursome - Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel. It's a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience TV Guide's William Keck calls "the most entertaining stage production I've seen in years - including Broadway!"
Hours: Thursday: 7:30 p.m.; Friday: 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: 2 & 8 p.m.
Admission: A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances.
Tickets are available now for groups of 10+ by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at 312-977-1710.
Tickets are also available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at 800-775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at or

Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston, IL 60201; (847) 448-4311

Into Something Rich & Strange, 12/11/2014 to 12/14/14
Piven's renowned advanced youth ensemble comprises sophomore, junior, an senior-aged students who have studied at Piven Theatre Workshop and have advanced to the highest level within the youth programs. After years of training, Piven's YPC students work together as an ensemble to adapt new and historic literary works in the tradition of story theatre.
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday: 7:30 p.m.; Sunday: 2:30 p.m.

Zanies Comedy Club, 1548 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60610; 312-337-4027

  • Joey Coco Diaz December 11-12 at Zanies Comedy Club!
  • Kevin Bozeman, Sat., December 13, 2014
    Hours: Thursday: 8:30 p.m.; Friday: 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.; Tickets $25

City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-733-WINE

The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show, Thursday,12/11/2014
See The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show live December 11 at the intimate settings of City Winery! City Winery features musical performances almost every night of the week! Click here for a complete schedule.
Prices: VIP $50; Premier $45; Reserved $40

Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60601; 312-443-3800;

A Christmas Carol
The Goodman's 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens' classic 1843 novella, is the unforgettable tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy business man with a disdain for holiday cheer in Victorian London. One Christmas, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on an incredible journey that offers him a new perspective on everything from his dusty past to his dark future, and presents him with an opportunity to sympathize with his fellow man and rediscover life and love. "The granddaddy of Chicago holiday entertainment" (Time Out Chicago), A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre is "the crown jewel of the holiday season" (Daily Herald).

Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60657; 773-935-6875

  • The Nutcracker
    Every year, The Nutcracker takes us on an unforgettable journey with Marie as she travels from her home on Christmas Eve to the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of Sweets. For children, it is the opportunity to create new memories. For everyone, it is a time for sharing and giving among family and friends.
    Show times: Sat., 12/13/14 at 2 pm and 7 pm
  • A Klingon Christmas Carol
    Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a horrible fate? Performed in the Original Klingon with English Supertitles, and narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology. The Dickens classic tale of ghosts and redemption adapted to reflect the Warrior Code of Honor and then translated into tlhIngan Hol (That's the Klingon Language). This production of A Klingon Christmas Carol marks the fifth year of out-of-this-world holiday mayhem in Chicago.
    Show times: Thur., Fri., & Sat., Dec. 11, 12, & 13, at 8pm (& again at 10:30 pm on Sat., 12/13/14)
  • The Winter's Tale
    One of Shakespeare's final plays, The Winter's Tale has been labeled many things: a romance, a "problem play, or–as we like to call it–a Greek Tragedy with a happy ending. But at its core, this play is about things we witness every day as 21st-century Americans: pride, jealousy, penance, and forgiveness. The heart of The Winter's Tale is Leontes' journey from blind rage to ultimate redemption. To bring that journey to life, director Brian Pastor and his crew draw on images and ideas from diverse periods of history: ancient Greece, 16th-century Spain, and modern-day America.
    Show times: Thur., Fri., & Sat., Dec. 11, 12, & 13, at 7:30 pm
  • Mud, River, Stone
    The Lynn Nottage season concludes with the rarely produced Mud, River, Stone. An African-American couple vacationing in Africa finds themselves stranded during the rainy season in the remains of a grand hotel when guests are taken hostage by an angry bellhop. His demands are simple: grain for his village, and a blanket for his mother.
    Show times: Thur., Fri., & Sat., Dec. 11, 12, & 13, at 7:30 pm

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets can be purchased in three ways:
1. Ordering tickets online. On the website, we accept MasterCard, American Express, Visa or Discover.
2. Calling our box office phone number. The number is 773-935-6875.
3. Purchasing tickets at our box office. At the box office, we accept cash, check, MasterCard, American Express, Visa or Discover.
Box office hours:
Mon. – Wed.: Noon to 6 pm
Thurs. – Sat.: Noon to last curtain
Sunday: Noon to last curtain

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; 312-595-5600

  • A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol
    A hip-hop holiday treat set to a bangin' beat! CST and Chicago hip-hop sensation the Q Brothers - creators of Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin' - have toured around the world, playing to sold-out houses in Edinburgh, Germany, South Korea, Australia and London. Now the team turns up the volume on Charles Dickens' classic tale, mixing everything from reggae, dancehall and dubstep to epic rock ballads. The Ghosts of Hip-hop Past, Present and Future lead Scrooge on a journey filled with rhythm, rhyme and redemption. Audiences will encounter Dickens' familiar characters in new and unexpected forms - from a miserly Ebenezer Scrooge with an erotic passion for cash to a Jamaican Jacob Marley and Lil' Tim, the tiniest Cratchit with a slew of maladies. The time-traveling Ghosts take Scrooge on a voyage through the hip-hop ages - decade by decade from past to present to future - documenting the evolving musical art form. This holiday treat promises to be as cheeky, intelligent and street smart as audiences have come to expect from the Q Brothers.
    Dates & Times: 12/11 at 7:30 pm (sold out); 12/12 at 7:30 pm (sold out); 12/13 at 6 pm and 8:30 pm (sold out)
    Ticket prices start at $30
  • Pericles
    In Shakespeare's most fantastical tale, Pericles embarks on a tempest-tossed quest in search of adventure, wealth and family. As he travels to parts unknown, our hero is confronted by villains, pirates, goddesses and kings. In the end, he discovers an essential truth—the renewal of love and life itself. - See more at:
    Dates & Times: Thur., 12/11 and Fri.12/12 at 7:30 pm; Sat., 12/13 at 3 pm

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614

Airline Highway, 12/11/2014
Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of Airline Highway. In the parking lot of The Hummingbird, a once-glamorous motel on New Orleans' infamous Airline Highway, a group of friends gather. A rag-tag collection of strippers, hustlers and philosophers have come together to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies. The party rages through the night as old friends resurface to pay their respects. A world premiere from the author of Detroit, Airline Highway is a boisterous and moving ode to the outcasts that make life a little more interesting.
Hours: Thursdays: 7:30 p.m. (except January 1), Fridays: 7:30 p.m., Saturdays: 3 & 7:30 p.m.
Admission: 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of each performance (1 p.m. for Sunday performances).
Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.

The Second City, 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60614; (312) 662-4562

  • Apes of Wrath
    In the world of high stakes, we become a more heightened version of ourselves, which can sometimes resemble more simian behavior than human. From unitard sporting performance artists, an intimate encounter with robot culture and the primal effects of downsizing, "Apes of Wrath" embraces the dark and light sides of our human devolution.
  • The Second City's 103rd Mainstage Revue
    Be part of Second City history and get an exclusive look at all new material.
  • The Second City's Holidazed & Confused Review
    The Second City presents the hilarious sketch comedy show Second City's Holidazed and Confused. Laugh this season with family and friends as Second City skewers all that is right and wrong about the holidays.
  • Second City's Game Night
    See Chicago's finest improvisers under the direction of the legendary Mick Napier in an evening of unscripted and unequaled improvisational comedy. This show is highly interactive, hilarious and thoroughly original.
  • Improve All Stars
    See Chicago's finest improvisers under the direction of the legendary Mick Napier in an evening of unscripted and unequaled improvisational comedy. This show is highly interactive, hilarious and thoroughly original.
  • Second City's Incomplete Guide to Everything
    From the great books to the worst presidents, The Second City has spent half a century laughing in the face of our past, present and future. And now it's all in one show...sort of. UP Comedy Club presents The Second City's Incomplete Guide to Everything, a hilarious collection of scenes and songs that skewers everything that you learned in college - or that you should have learned in college on the days you slept in. Suggested rating: R

Briar Street Theater, 3133 North Halsted Street, Chicago 60657; (773) 348-4000

Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group combines music, technology and comedy to create a form of entertainment that defies categorization and appeals to people of all ages. Blue Man Group's shows have been described by critics as "innovative," "energetic" and "wildly entertaining."
Show dates December 11-13, 2014 at 2 pm, 5 pm, and 8 pm
Ticket prices range from $57.75 - $97.75

Joffrey Ballet, Auditorium Theatre 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago, IL; (312) 341-2310

The Nutcracker
Dates & Times: Thur. Dec. 11, 7 pm; Fri. Dec. 12, 7 pm; Sat. Dec. 13, 2 pm and 7 pm
Tickets: Online or by phone: 800-982-ARTS(2787)
In person: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (address above), M-F, 12-6 pm & at all other TicketMaster outlets

Additional theater options:


Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Ste. 860, Chicago, IL 60606; 312-827-5600

  • Porgy & Bess, 2 pm, Thursday, 12/11/2014, & Saturday, 12/13/14
    Porgy and Bess is the great American opera — bursting with iconic songs that have moved easily into the worlds of jazz and pop, becoming hits again for generation after generation.
  • Anna Bolena, 2 pm, Friday, 12/12/2014
    Anne Boleyn may be Queen of England, but she doesn't stand a chance. Henry VIII wants her gone — with Jane Seymour taking her place on the throne and in his bed. And Henry's minions do the dirty work, finding "proof" of Anne's infidelities. Donizetti exploits all of the glories of the human voice in this bel canto gem and trailblazes with a theatricality that hadn't been seen in opera before. Listen to vocal fireworks and watch one of opera's most gripping confrontations: the Queen rages when she finally discovers that Jane is her arch rival, and Jane is haunted by guilt — desperate to marry the King, yet knowing that she's the reason he'll send Anne to the scaffold. Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland made this opera famous—and today Sondra Radvanovsky makes it her own.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604; 312-294-3000

Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. In collaboration with the best conductors and guest artists on the international music scene, the CSO performs well over one hundred concerts each year at its downtown home, Symphony Center and at the Ravinia Festival on Chicago's North Shore.

  • Beethoven 7 12/11/14 at 8 pm; 12/12/2014 at 1:30 pm
  • Welcome Yule! 12/13/14, 3 pm

Buddy Guy's Legends, 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL; 312-427-1190

True Blues fans know - There is only one place in Chicago to experience the finest Blues seven nights a week, enjoy southern Cajun soul food, and behold a major archive of Blues memorabilia. That place is Buddy Guy's Legends! Voted "Best Blues Club" several times over by Living Blues Magazine, Citysearch, and AOL, Legends continues to be a mecca for the Blues.
Hours: Monday: 9:30pm-10:30pm; Jam until 12:45am;
Tuesday: 9:30pm-11pm; 11:30pm until 12:45am; Wednesday: 9:30pm-11pm; 11:30pm until 12:45 am;
Thursday: 9:30pm-11 pm; 11:30 pm until 12:45 am;
Friday: Opening band 9pm-10pm; Headliner 10:30pm-12am, 12:30;am-1:15 am.
Saturday: Opening band 9:30 pm-10:30 pm; Headliner 11 pm-12:30 am, 1 am-2 am.
Cover charge (unless listed otherwise): $10 for Sun.-Thur. night shows; $20 for the Fri. & Sat. night shows

House of Blues Chicago, 329 N Dearborn St Chicago, IL 60654

United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60612

The 5 Best Bars for Music in Chicago

Top 10 Live Music Venues in Chicago

Calendar of Chicago Sports/Entertainment Events

See TicketMaster's calendar of Chicago events for the week of December 7


Millennium Park: 55 Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL; Ph. 312-742-1168

This 24.5-acre green space is one of the city's major cultural centers; its centerpiece is the shiny elliptical sculpture by Anish Kapoor called Cloud Gate, which locals have affectionately nicknamed 'The Bean.' Other highlights: a digitally animated water fountain created by contemporary artist Jaume Plensa; the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion; and the serene Lurie Garden.

Skydeck Chicago, Willis (formerly Sears) Tower: 233 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL, Ph. 312-875-9696

At 103 stories high, the Skydeck at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower offers an unsurpassed view of Chicago and, on a clear day, four surrounding states. It also features multimedia exhibits showcasing the city from its historic past to the present. The Skylights multimedia tour gives visitors stories beyond the views at various stops around the Skydeck. If you dare, brave a trip out onto the glass-bottomed Ledge.
Hours: Open daily 9 am-10 pm (last ticket sold half-hour before close) 365 days a year.
Admission $18/with Skylights tour $23.50; children ages 3-11 $12/$17.50; children under 3 free. Fast Pass (any age) $40. CityPass and group rates available.

John Hancock Building, 875 N Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor, Chicago, IL

Conveniently located along Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile®, 360 CHICAGO soars 1,000 feet above Lake Michigan and the city's majestic skyline to offer visitors the most breathtaking views of downtown Chicago, the lakefront and four neighboring states. Add to that our interactive technologies, TILT the new exhilarating angle on Chicago, the enticing 94th floor café, and you have 360° of all-around entertainment!
Hours: Open Daily 9am–11pm
Admission: Adults and Children12 yrs & older, $18; 3-11, $12

Navy Pier: 600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611; (312)595-7437

Historic Navy Pier® is Chicago's lakefront playground. And it's the Midwest's #1 tourist and leisure destination, attracting more than 8 million visitors per year. Open year-round (with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving Day), there is always a reason to visit the place where excitement awaits! Navy Pier showcases a unique collection of restaurants and shops in addition to unequaled recreational and exhibition facilities - in a setting like no other! There is no admission to enter Navy Pier. Attractions within Navy Pier may have admission prices and those prices can be obtained from each individual attraction's box office.
While at Navy Pier, check out:
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
The Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier (free on Thursdays form 5 pm-8 pm)

Magnificent Mile

The 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue that runs from the banks of the Chicago River to the south, to Oak Street to the north. The "Mag Mile" is known for its great shopping, hotels, and dining, as well as for its beauty and historical landmarks, such as the John Hancock Center and the Chicago Water Tower.

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago; 312-744-6630

Free concerts at noon; a restored Tiffany dome on the 3rd floor worth seeing; art exhibit; and, great information desk with coupons and docents who lead walks around Chicago. Drawn by its beauty and the fabulous free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicago. The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions and family events. Completed in 1897 as Chicago's first central public library, the building was designed to impress and to prove that Chicago had grown into a sophisticated metropolis. The country's top architects and craftsmen used the most sumptuous materials, such as rare imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, and mosaics of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone, to create an architectural showplace. Located on the south side of the building, the world's largest stained glass Tiffany dome ― 38 feet in diameter with some 30,000 pieces of glass ― was restored to its original splendor in 2008. On the north side of the building is a 40-foot-diameter dome with some 50,000 pieces of glass in an intricate Renaissance pattern, designed by Healy & Millet. In 1991, the building was established as the Chicago Cultural Center by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the nation's first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue. Every year, the Chicago Cultural Center presents hundreds of free international, national, regional and local artists, musicians and performers, providing a showcase where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts. Come for the beauty, stay for the events.
Building Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9am–7pm; Friday, 9am–6pm; Saturday, 9am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–6pm

Christkindlmarket, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602 (312)494-2175

Nov. 21 - Dec 24, 2014 Free Admission
The Christkindlmarket Chicago is an annual holiday market featuring vendors from around the world who display hand crafted ornaments, toys and unique holiday gifts as well as traditional German foods, sweets and beverages. The market is rich in cultural tradition and includes special events, performers and activities.

Ice Skating

Ice Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, Millenium Park, 55 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601 (312)742-1168 Free Admission/Skate rentals approx. $5
Chicago Park District ice skating


Trip Advisor's "Best Restaurants in Chicago

2014 Chicago Magazine's Chicago's Best New Restaurants

Eataly-Restaurants & Italian Markets
43 East Ohio Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611
Tel: 312.521.8700
Il Gran Bar Lavazza Opens Daily at 8am
Eataly Chicago Market Opens Daily at 10am

Lagunitas Brewery Company, 1843 S Washtenaw Ave, Chicago, IL 60608; (773) 522-1308
Tasting Tours: Friday 12th @ 1PM, 3PM, 5PM; Saturday Hours 1-7pm; Sunday Hours 1-6pm

RPM Italian Restaurant, 52 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654; (312) 222-1888
Pasta, steaks & seafood served in a sleek, group-friendly eatery backed by Giuliana & Bill Rancic.

Mastro's Steakhouse, 520 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654; (312) 521-5100


Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL; 312-939-2438

The best Shedd visit begins online, not in line. We offer three easy ways to purchase your tickets in advance to avoid a long wait: Select our most popular ticket, the Total Experience Pass; become a Shedd member; or get a Chicago CityPASS, a great vacation value featuring Shedd and four other major attractions.
Shedd is a popular place to visit, and the wait in the ticket line can be two or more hours. If you buy your tickets in advance online, be sure to print them at home for a quicker entry at will-call. Check out our discounts before buying tickets. We have reduced prices for Illinois residents, educators, students, senior citizens, select corporations, active-duty military personnel and Chicago police officers and firefighters.
If you plan on visiting more than one cultural attraction while in Chicago, purchase a Chicago CityPASS. You'll save 50 percent off admission to Shedd Aquarium, plus four more top Chicago attractions.
Fall/winter hours, Labor Day to Memorial Day
9 a.m to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays

The Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL; 312-922-9410

The Field Museum was founded in 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago and has spent more than 120 years in the pursuit of scientific knowledge about the world around us.
Ticket prices range from $18-$38 for adults; $13-$21 for children; & $15-$25 for students and seniors (age 65+), depending on whether you want an "all-access" pass (most expensive), "discovery" pass, or a "Basic" pass.
Hours: 9 am – 5 pm every day but Christmas Day. Last admission at 4 pm
• Breakfast with Santa and SUE (the dinosaur), Saturday Dec. 13, 2014 at 8 am
Add some history to your family traditions and celebrate the holidays at The Field Museum! Enjoy a buffet breakfast in the historic Stanley Field Hall. After breakfast you'll get to share all of your holiday wishes with Santa when you take your picture with Santa and SUE. Seating is limited; call today to purchase your tickets! Three seatings are available: 8:00am, 8:30am and 9:00am
Ticket prices: Adult: $40 ($30 for members); Child (ages 2-11): $28 ($22 for members)
To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 312-665-7705. Your tickets also include general admission to the Museum following the event.

Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603; 312-443-3600;
Hours: Friday - Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Thursday: 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Admission: Adults $23; Students & Seniors $17; Children under 14 Free

  • Chicagoisms, April 5, 2014-January 4, 2015
    Throughout its history the city of Chicago has inspired myriad urban and architectural innovations, many of which have had far-reaching influence. The collection of the Art Institute's Department of Architecture has extensive holdings on work within the region of Chicago, representing the important innovations, theoretical approaches, and architectural movements spurred by the city's development. This exhibition surveys Chicago's rich urban history and explores contemporary approaches to five Chicagoisms-key historical principles that have powered the city's distinctive evolution.
  • Holiday Choirs, December 8-12, 2014
    Song fills the museum with holiday cheer as area high school choirs sing medleys of carols. Just another reason to visit the Art Institute this holiday season!
    Choirs will be located at the Woman's Board Grand Staircase.
    Hours: 12 - 12:30 p.m.
    Admission: Free with museum admission; free museum admission to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5 - 8 p.m.
  • Splendor, Spectacle, and Song, December 11, 2014
    Celebrate the return of the Neapolitan crèche with a performance of period and holiday music featuring members of Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center.
    • Hours: 6 - 7 p.m.
    • General Admission: $23; Students & Seniors $17; Children under 14 Free

Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
Main: (773) 684-1414
Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Special holiday museum exhibits: The decorations and caroling at the Museum of Science and Industry's Christmas Around the World exhibit is worth the trip south to the Hyde Park area of Chicago (
  • Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
    Explore nine decades of The Walt Disney Company's history and artifacts. Omnimax
  • D-Day: Normandy 1944
    Seventy years ago, a historic landing changed the world
  • Flight of the Butterflies
    Travel the length of a continent with a cast of millions: monarch butterflies in migration.
  • 80 at 80
    See 80 rarely displayed artifacts in an exhibit commemorating the Museum's 80th anniversary.

Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL; 312-922-7827

Whether you have a full day or just an hour or two, we have admission passes to fit your interests. Take in immersive sky shows in our three full-sized theaters including the Definiti Theater, the recently renovated Samuel C. Johnson Family Star Theater, and the Grainger Sky Theater–Adler's most technologically advanced theater.
Hours: 9:30-4 Mon.-Fri.; 9:30-4:30 Sat. & Sun.
General Admission: Adults, $12; Children 3-11, $8; Students and Seniors $10

National Veterans Art Museum, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641; 312-326-0270

100 Faces of War 12/11/2014
100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan is timed to coincide with the official end of war in Afghanistan and it is meant to be a place of open contemplation upon the American experience of these wars. These portraits represent a cross section of the American experience of these wars and the statements of the people pictured reveal a candid, unedited understanding of our recent history. Nine years in the making, 100 Faces was created by Artist Matt Mitchell. Each portrait represents a part of the American statistics of these wars and comes out of a personal meeting between the artist and the person pictured. For posthumous portraits the artist worked with the family and the words are provided by the family.
Tuesdays - Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Admission: Free

Chicago History Museum,1601 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614; 312-642-4600

The Chicago History Museum stands at the crossroads of America's past and its future. If you live in Chicago or visit here and are curious about the city's past, present, and future, the Museum should be your first stop. The Chicago History Museum cares for, showcases, and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and U.S. history. Our ability to illuminate the past is a reminder of what really happened once upon a time, sheds light on the present, and compellingly informs the future.

Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile, ® 12/11/2014
Featuring more than twenty ensembles from the Museum's permanent collection, Chicago Styled explores the development of North Michigan Avenue into one of the country's most recognized and renowned destinations for upscale retail. Set against a shifting cityscape, the clothing tells the story of the growth of this landmark district, while showcasing the fashion from past decades and the stylish people who wore it. Highlights include designs by Norman Norell, Adolfo, Gianni Versace, and Chanel.

Clarke House Museum Tours, 1827 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago, IL, 60616; 312.326.1480

Built in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke, the Clarke House Museum is Chicago's oldest house. The house shows what life was like for a family in Chicago during the city's formative years before the Civil War. Its fascinating history began at a time when Chicago received its city charter and much of the area was still undeveloped prairie. Over the years, the house survived fires, belonged to a church, and was moved twice – during the second move, the house was stuck in the air for two weeks. The house is now located in the Chicago Women's Park in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, and operated as a museum by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Admission: Adults $10; Seniors/Students $9; Children 5-12 $6; Children under 5 are Free

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; (312) 280-2660

Princess Grace Awards: New Works; December 4-14, 2014
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago returns to MCA Stage in a new program, featuring three up-and-coming contemporary choreographers. 2013 MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham choreographs to music by acclaimed composer Nico Muhly; while Victor Quijada sets his work to music by longtime collaborator Jasper "DJ Lil' Jaz" Gahunia. Hubbard Street alumna Robyn Mineko Williams pulls the company's unique collection of personalities into new and unpredictable configurations. Abraham, Quijada, and Williams are all recipients of Princess Grace Awards in Choreography and create new and original work for this performance.
December 11: 7:30 p.m.; December 12: 7:30 p.m.; December 13: 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35; $28 for museum members; $10 for students

Related Websites:

  • Museums in the Park
    This website provides an online video preview of 10 great museums (The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Adler Planetarium, Chicago History Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, DuSable Museum of African American History, The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art), links to the museums' websites, and a downloadable pocket user guide "for friendly advice about how to make the most of every visit."
    *Note—Some of the museums have free admission days. Check their websites.
  • Top 10 Chicago Museums
    A list of the Top 10 Museums (same as above) but provides a list of their addresses and phone numbers at a glance as well as links to their websites.


City of Chicago Tours

Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604

Welcome to the Chicago Architecture Foundation! We offer engaging ways for educators, families, and young people to explore Chicago's amazing architecture. Through hands-on, real-world explorations discover how to turn your local community into a dynamic setting for teaching and learning. Buildings, structures, people, and events help young people discover how architecture and the built environment impact their lives everyday.
• Offers tours by boat, walking, bus/trolley, "L" train, bike, or Segway
Chicago: City of Big Data
New exhibition; now open. Through interactive displays, recreated sections of Chicago and views into your own personal data, Chicago: City of Big Data reveals the potential of urban data and offers a new perspective on Chicago and cities everywhere.

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co., 4400 S. Racine, Chicago, IL; 773-648-5000

We operate Chicago's premier Hop On Hop Off ® city sightseeing tours in our classic red & green Trolleys and fun-filled Double Decker buses.

The Chicago Tour Company, 422 W. Melrose St., #709, Chicago, IL; 773-857-3345

Explore the Windy City with The Chicago Tour Company. Whether you are looking for a full, custom-designed itinerary, or need a local Chicago guide to show you around, The Chicago Tour Company is here for you!

Chicago Traveler
Information on bus/trolley tours, food tours, air tours, carriage tours, boat, walking, bike, and Segway tours.

Specialty Tours:

Chicago Pizza Tours

Chicago Pizza Tours is the first company to offer both visitors & locals tours designed around Chicago's most defining food, pizza. To make sure the experience took you beyond the big names and into the neighborhoods where Chicagoans call home, we created a bus guided tour of culturally significant and neighborhood pizzerias.
On our Chicago Food Tour you have an exclusive opportunity to See Chicago, One Slice at a Time as we sample pizza from different neighborhoods. Being bus driven provides us the flexibility to travel to any restaurant in any neighborhood and never compromise for what is within walking distance. Most think Chicago only offers up deep dish, and while that is a signature style, we also want you to try tavern style, artisanal, and Neapolitan just to name a few. Always a full slice, this tour serves as more than a meal replacement.

Chicago Brewery Tours

We allow between 45-60 minutes at each location, allowing for plenty of time to sample, order a pint or an appetizer, and if it's available, we are able to tour the facility. This is at the discretion of the brewery staff based on how busy the brewery is at that time. We describe the experience as a tour of styles and flavors, but we try and include a tour of the brewing process at one location on every trip. We do follow a strict time schedule, as we do multiple tours in a day.

Chicago Food Planet Food Tours

Our 3-hour food tasting and cultural walking Chicago tours combine delicious food and drink tastings with some serious fun in Chicago's most delicious, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. Suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, you'll experience delectable foods from one-of-a-kind specialty food stores and ethnic eateries while receiving an insiders view into the culture, history and architecture that defines the Windy City. Walk away with new culinary perspectives, big smiles, satisfied taste buds and the confidence to continue exploring the areas where locals live.

Chicago Chocolate Tours

Take a delightfully fun and informative guided walking and tasting tour of select chocolate shops, from secret treasures to famous favorites. Savor the flavors on the sweetest tour in town! Uplift through chocolate! Please enjoy exploring our website, and please contact us at or 312-929-2939 with questions or to schedule your public or private Chicago Chocolate Tour.

Weird Chicago Tours

The Weird Chicago Tours run about 3 hours in length. We travel all over the city during the tours and we do get on and off the bus throughout the evening, offering a mix of ghosts, crime and the unusual all year around! We use air-conditioned and heated buses, so you'll tour Weird Chicago in comfort, no matter what the time of year! Children over the age of 10 are welcome on the tours, but it's not recommended for kids under the age of 10. Sorry, no babies or infants in strollers. No one under the age of 21 is allowed on our Weird Pub Crawls.

Children's Activities

Kohl Childrens Museum 2100 Patriot Bl, Glenview, IL; (847)832-6600.

Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago offers 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children ages birth to 8. All of our exhibits and programs are aligned to the Illinois State Learning Standards and are designed to nurture a love of learning in young children.
Regular Hours: Mon. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Tuesday – Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun. 12 – 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults & Children: $11; Grandparents & Seniors (55+): $10; Infants (under 12 months): FREE; Military Discount: Buy one admission get one admission free

Santa on the Chicago Area Polar Express Storytime and Holiday Trains

Santa train trips. You'll find many area town park district trips on Metra trains, the Chicago Transit Authority, at the Illinois Railway Museum and the Fox River Trolley Museum, among others, offering Polar Express trips or holiday trains, featuring Santa Claus. These trips are very popular, so book early. Plan on arriving at the station at least twenty minutes before departure time.

Lincoln Park Zoo 2001 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614, (312) 742-2000

Free and open to all, 365 days a year! One of the nation's oldest zoos housing 1200 animals representing 230 species. Includes children's zoo, carousel and paddle boats.
Open November–March 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (gates open 7a.m.–5 p.m.)
ZOO LIGHTS at the Lincoln Park Zoo: December 5–7, 12–23; December 26–January 4, 2014–15, 5–9 p.m. Join us for the brilliance of this annual fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. We'll flip the on switch for the free holiday fun on November 28. Afterward, ZooLights will shine Friday–Sunday until December 12, at which point the lights be on nightly (except December 24 and 25) until January 4. Santa heads back to the North Pole after December 23, however.
Festive Activities
• Photos with Santa through December 23
• Free holiday crafts
• Animal encounters
• 3-D displays
• Musical light shows
• Warm spiced wine and frosty lager
• Delicious dinner and snacks
• Holiday gift shopping
• Live ice carving every night
• Rides on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel
• Rides on the new Lionel Train Adventure
• Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo at the Farm-in-the-Zoo
Be sure to meander over to the Farm-in-the-Zoo during your ZooLights visit to enjoy Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo! Open daily until 9 p.m. from November 28–March 1 (except December 24 and 25). $5 admission; $5 skate rental (or bring your own). Get ready to glide!
The first 1,000 guests each night will receive our cool holiday specs to check out the lights! Standard parking rates apply in the zoo lot.

American Girl, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 (877) 247-5223

Legoland Discovery Center Chicago, 601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg, IL; 847-592-9700

• LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago – jump into the biggest box of LEGO® bricks ever!
• Over 3 million LEGO bricks in our indoor, family attraction.
• A top idea for days out for kids in Chicago.
• Explore things to do with the kids with LEGO® Friends, LEGO® Racers and DUPLO® Village.
• Join in the unique activity workshops with our Master Model Builder.
Hours: OPEN every day, 365 days a year! Last admission is at 5:00 p.m. daily.
12 pm - 7 pm (Mon. - Fri.); 10 am – 7 pm (Sat. - Sun.)
Admission: From $12 + tax