Today’s Must Sees: Tuesday, December 20

Visit the Shedd Aquarium!

Sip holiday cocktails and see all of the Shedd’s shows and exhibits for $20 as the aquarium stays open late on Jingle Bell Rockin’ Evenings. Take a front seat at opening night performances of the Tony Award winning musical, La Cage Aux Folles, tonight at the Bank of America Theater. Or compare photos of Chicago Then and Now with architecture critic Lee Bey during a free talk on the Magnificent Mile. Here are Tuesday, December 20th’s freebies and must-sees. For even more fun events, visit: http://www.explorechicago.org

Looking for Last Minute Gifts?

  • Our last minute gift-buying guide includes buy-it-around-the-corner picks for women, men and kids, shops that will wrap your presents, and gift certificates for creative classes.

Enjoy Holiday Events and Free Days at Chicago Museums and Attractions

  • It’s not often that we get to talk with a celebrity, so we were very excited to have a chance to talk to Santa Claus himself. Visit Santa, and enjoy model trains and other festive decorations at the John Hancock Observatory’s Winter Wonderland. See Santa on weekends 12-4pm through December 31. The Observatory is open daily (including holidays); tickets: $10-15.
  • Head to the Shedd Aquarium for Jingle Bell Rockin’ Evenings. Sip on cocoa and cocktails and nibble on cookies, while visiting the aquarium after work. During this evening-only event, you can see everything at the Shedd for $20, including A Holiday Fantasea and Jellies. Jingle Bell Rockin’ Evenings will take place weekdays only from Dec. 19 through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 from 5 – 9 p.m.
  • Step into a winter wonderland at Zoolights, the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual holiday display featuring over two million twinkling lights, ice carving, and other winter fun, open nightly with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We sat down with the zoo’s resident snowman, Humphry Snowgart, to get an nside scoop on the festivities!
  • Some of Chicago’s finest performers offer music for the season at the Art Institute’s Midday Music series, daily through December 31.
  • Delight in the Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Winter Flower and Train Show! See model trains wind their way through poinsettias and a miniature village. Open daily, 9am-5pm, and admission is FREE.
  • Explore 170,000 square feet of rides, inflatable slides, stunning lights and holiday décor, entertainment and more at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest. Admission is free, but wristbands to participate in any activity are $15-18.
  • The Museum of Science and Industry’s annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit features over 50 dazzling trees and displays reflecting holiday customs from all over the world.  This year’s Grand Tree is decorated in a Dr. Seuss theme inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, Dr. Seuss and the Art of Invention. This exhibit is included with general admission, $10-15. Check out our Q&A with the museum’s Grand Tree for a tree’s-eye view of the festivities!
  • For more information about Chicago’s free museum days, click here.
  • For information on Navy Pier, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and Chicago’s many other Always Free Attractions, click and/or share this link: http://bit.ly/alwaysfree

Fun Events For Foodies

Make Your Cheeks Rosy With Fun Winter Recreation Activities!

  • Discover Chicago’s winter recreation options, from holiday-themed fun runs and bike rides to ice skating and bowling in vintage lanes.
  • Find YOUR perfect Chicago ice skating rink, whether you’re a Cubs fan, or a foodie, with our blog post.

Get Great Ideas For Your Next Date Night

Take a Front Seat at a Holiday Performance

  • Opening Today: The Tony Award® winning musical La Cage Aux Folles (upon which the movie The Birdcage was based) opens tongith and runs through January 1 at Chicago’s Bank of America Theater.
  • See young Ralphie’s hilarious quest to get a Red Ryder Air Action BB gun come to life onstage in A Christmas Story, The Musical!.  Keep your eye out for the beloved holiday film’s iconic leg lamp as this show runs through December 30 at the Chicago Theatre.
  • The Joffrey Ballet’s beloved Nutcracker returns to the Auditorium Theatre through December 27; tickets are $30-$115.
  • The Goodman Theater presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol.  See the Charles Dickens classic and keep your eyes peeled for surprise cameos by special guests! Through December 31, Tickets: $16-45.
  • Coming Soon: Plan ahead and purchase your tickets today for Millennium Park’s next In the Works production, TUTA Theatre Chicago’s Fulton Street Sessions, January 12-14. This is your chance to sit on the enclosed stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion to enjoy theater in a climate-controlled environment with a spectacular view.

Explore Chicago’s Architecture!

Planning ahead? Check out our comprehensive round-up of holiday happenings.