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The Best Chicago Events Calendar

Weekly Round Up – Chicago Events – December 11 2017

Weekly Roundup - Chicago Events

Weekly Round Up 

Chicago Events December 11 – December 17

One more week and I’m on holiday break for a couple of weeks! Can you tell I’m excited?!?! I really need some downtime. I find it hard to sit still, though, when there are so many fun things going on in the city. I already went back to Christkindl at the Park at Wrigley and I am hoping to catch the Jewel Holiday CTA train before it leaves town! I’ve also got Zoo Lights and Santa’s Suite on my mind! I might even check out Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series and the Randolph Street Holiday Market which are both on the Weekly Round Up.

I’m also sharing information about the Great Fermentation now open at Water Tower Place until December 22 which is a really cool interactive wine attraction. Check out the preview video and details down below after this week’s list of events. Want more holiday event suggestions? You can take selfies with Santa, eat breakfast with Santa, check out a fun holiday pop-up bar at the Chicago Athletic Association, shop the SAUCED night market, chill in an igloo at the Godfrey Hotel, and more. You’ll find it all here!

Oh, and I’ve even got some suggestion for you to celebrate New Years Eve 2018. Find details here. I will be adding more NYE events so be sure to bookmark the link.

Monday, December 11

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite – Santa Reserves His Suite at Swissôtel Chicago for 2017 Holiday Season. The Swissôtel Chicago today announced that after a summer vacationing on the island of Bermuda, sipping on Piña Coladas, at the Fairmont Southampton resort, Santa is ready to head back to work. Prepping for the busy season ahead, Father Christmas has booked the Presidential Suite on the hotel’s 41st floor as his official home-away-from-Pole this holiday season. As the secret has been out since 2014 that Mr. Claus’ favorite hotel is the Swissôtel Chicago, the Big Guy is yet again extending an open invitation to Chicago-area families and hotel guests to visit his extravagantly-decorated “Santa Suite,” free-of-charge, beginning Dec. 2More Details

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series – Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series launches with a season of classic Yuletide movie screenings in a winter wonderland. An unmissable series of holiday movies is coming to Chicago, with screenings of a host of Yuletide classics, transforming two of Chicago’s favorite breweries into winter wonderlands. For nine days, Time Out is taking over Lagunitas Brewing Company and Baderbräu Tap & Kitchen to host “The Ultimate Holiday Movie Series”, with tickets now available for $20. More Details

Tuesday, December 12

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series

Wednesday, December 13

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series

ACME Hotel Holiday Pop-Up Market – Spread Holiday Cheer with this lifestyle boutique that welcomes local artisans for a festive pop-up market in River North. ‘Tis the season! Lifestyle boutique ACME Hotel Company in River North invites visitors and locals alike to stop in for its inaugural four‑day Holiday Pop-Up Market. Thriving on the mantra of Do Your Thing by celebrating artistic individuality, ACME joins with select artisans to showcase their creative merchandise for holiday gifting. More Details

Thursday, December 14

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series

Uptown Men’s Shelter Open House – There is a chill in the air Chicago. Fall is here and winter doesn’t follow too far behind. While many of us are very fortunate to have housing and roofs over our head to keep us warm, there are many Chicago residents that aren’t so blessed. Building more shelters in the city is vital which is why it is so exciting to announce the grand opening of Uptown Men’s Shelter! More Details

Mi Tocaya Mezcal Dinner featuring Mezcal Unión – Mi Tocaya Antojería, the neighborhood Mexican restaurant from Chef Diana Dávila, will be hosting a series of Mezcal dinners this winter. The first dinner will be held on Thursday, December 14 in conjunction with Mezcal Unión, a Mezcal producer from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. More Details

11th Annual Stardust Vogue for Tots – The Stardust collective announces the 11th Annual Vogue for Tots a. Bringing together iconic members of the ballroom, drag and queer community, Vogue For Tots continues the gift of giving with a toy drive benefiting Chance The Rapper’s SocialWorks Chicago via the WGN Toy Drive, and additionally is raising funds for hurricane relief via Unidos por Puerto Rico. More Details

Friday, December 15

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series

Saturday, December 16

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series

Randolph Street Holiday Market 2017 – Randolph Street Market returns with a preview party to kick off their annual holiday market shopping weekends! Shop holiday decor, housewares, jewelry, antiques, fashion/accessories for men and women, foodie gifts, drinks, and more. Chicagoans seeking inspiration for this year’s holiday season have all of their holiday decorating, party planning, fashion and entertaining questions answered by the expert sellers, makers and entertaining powerhouses at the Annual Randolph Street Holiday Markets. More Details

Meet American Ninja Warrior Celebrities at ProCamp III – Announcing Ninja Pro Camp III 2017 at Ultimate Ninjas Naperville & Libertyville. Kids have the unique opportunity to train with REAL AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR competitors. The recently opened Ultimate Ninjas in Naperville and Libertyville is offering kids a one-of- a-kind opportunity to train with 21 competitors from NBC’s hit TV show American Ninja Warrior. Ultimate Ninjas has teamed up with Toys for Tots and invites campers to bring an unopened toy, in exchange for a Ultimate Ninjas water bottle, to give back to the organization which helps millions of less fortunate children enjoy a little Christmas. More Details

2017 Chicago Art Girls Pop Up Art Fair – Chicago Art Girls announce their 6th annual Holiday Pop Up Shop, a fun and popular handmade market returning to the North Center neighborhood. The 2017 Chicago Art Girls pop-up covers a wide range of handmade art, including jewelry, ceramics, felted accessories, glass, clothing, painting, and photography. In addition to core Chicago Art Girls members, there will be guest artists so shoppers can visit their favorite artists and meet some who are new to this show. More Details

Sunday, December 17

Swissôtel Chicago Santa Suite

Time Out Chicago Ultimate Holiday Movie Series

Randolph Street Holiday Market 2017

Meet American Ninja Warrior Celebrities at ProCamp III

2017 Chicago Art Girls Pop Up Art Fair

Bolshoi Ballet The Nutcracker Dances Into Theaters December 17 – ‘The Nutcracker,’ Danced by the World-Class Bolshoi Ballet, is Presented Exclusively in Cinemas Nationwide December 17 Only. The unparalleled Bolshoi Ballet brings the holiday spirit to audiences throughout the U.S. with a magical performance of the timeless seasonal tale, “The Nutcracker,” in cinemas nationwide on Sunday, December 17 only. Captured live from Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theatre, the production is the third in Fathom Events’ 2017-18 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series, presented in partnership with BY Experience and Pathé Live. More Details

The Great Fermentation

With December upon us, it’s time to uncork the holidays with a never-before-scene, interactive wine attraction. The Great Fermentation—a pop-up event which teaches Chicagoans the history of wine through hands-on displays, food pairings and a stunning 360º VR Pentasensory™ experience—recently began its six-week showcase at Water Tower Place. The exhibition aims to demystify wine, allowing attendees to discover, or rediscover, their taste preferences and gain the confidence they need to take drinking wine to a personally rewarding level.

The Great Fermentation is a hands-on and taste buds-open experience that promises to tear down the daunting barriers that keep many people from drinking and enjoying wine. This attraction leaves behind the traditional messages of wine connoisseurship and elitism and delves into the two most important questions that promise to draw more people to wine than ever before – what tastes good to you and why you like what you like. With this understanding, guests will find comfort in choosing a wine they will like without the fear of judgment or critique.

Keep an eye out for the traveling TGF troupe, Snooty MerlotDr. ShirazFizzy ChampagneZinny, the Riesling Twins, and friends will undoubtedly pop-up someplace unexpected near you.

**Hint…Visit a vineyard in Chicago Water Tower Place, level 3 at a pop-up showcase from 11/24/17 – 12/27/17!** 

Travel to Tuscany in the Pentasensory!™  –  Play Games to explore your wine preferences  –  Pairings every which way!

Find us on social media to learn more – @TheGreatFermentation.


Selfies with Santa at Skydeck Chicago

Selfies with Santa at Skydeck Chicago

Santa is making a stop at Skydeck Chicago this year! From December 18 – 23 (12pm – 5pm), Mr. Claus will be visiting the Ledge, inviting Chicagoans to take a selfie or capture the perfect Christmas card. At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor. On a clear day, visitors can view up to 50 miles and four states.

WhenDecember 18-23 (12pm – 5pm)

Where: Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr.

Ages: All ages


  • Adult (ages 12 and up): $23
  • Youth (ages 3 to 11): $15
  • Children (under 3): Free


Holiday Tea at Hotel Arista

Holiday Happenings at Hotel Arista

Breakfast with Santa

On Sunday, December 17, skip the crowded mall lines and opt instead for a warm and cozy morning with friends, family, and of course, a visit from the jolly man himself. Guests will enjoy a sumptuous breakfast buffet and have plenty of photo opportunities. Four separate seatings (9 a.m.10:30 a.m.12 p.m.1:30 p.m.) will allow guests to spend the morning with their loved ones and on their own schedule.

Tickets are available for adults ($49.95) and children aged 5-12 ($23.95); kids under four eat for free. Guests can send RSVPs to

Holiday Afternoon Tea

Starting December 7, guests and locals alike can start a new tradition with Hotel Arista’s Holiday Afternoon Tea. Catch up with friends and family over scones, finger sandwiches, fancy cakes and tea while enjoying live music.

Tea service (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.) will take place every Thursday through Saturday until December 23. The Afternoon Tea package is available for adults ($26) and children aged 4-12 ($18). The Sparkling Afternoon Tea package, served with a glass of rosé prosecco, is available for adults ($32). For reservations, call (630) 579-7827.

Frosty’s Holiday Pop-Up Bar Chicago

Frosty’s, the ultimate Christmas bar is heavy on holiday nostalgia with life-size nutcrackers, ribbons, wreaths, garlands and a holiday soundtrack spinning till 4 am!   Enjoy this brand new tradition where you get to experience all of your favorite elements of Christmas and maybe find some new ones while celebrating with your friends, family, and colleagues!

SafeHouse Chicago Announces Family-Friendly Bond Brunch with Santa on December 17

SafeHouse Chicago60 East Ontario, is bringing a new meaning to the phrase, “the most wonderful time of the year,” by hosting family friendly, holiday events throughout the month of December. The unique spy-themed restaurant will be inviting Chicagoans to celebrate with:

  • Bond Brunch with Santa – Sunday, December 17 from 11am to 4pm

Control has tracked down the world’s most elusive man – Santa Clause! On December 17th, there is a spy-cial brunch mission for agents and junior spies. Top-secret reconnasaince missions will be available. The final component of this operation is a brush pass with Control meaning all junior spies walk away with a gift! Register here!

Warm Up at 20 East

20 East (20 E. Delaware Place)

  • Throughout the holiday season, 20 East will offer a hot chocolate bar at brunch and for special occasions. There are multiple topping choices included for $6: large and small marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate pieces, graham crackers, chocolate pirouettes, candy canes, and more. Alcoholic hot chocolates are available for $10.
  • On Christmas Day, 20 East offers a special weekday brunch beginning at 8 a.m., including the hot chocolate bar. The restaurant will close that night at 7 p.m. Guests can enjoy the regular brunch menu with featured favorites including the Monkey Bread with caramel, walnuts, and whipped cream; Baked Crab Cake Benedict with an English muffin, classic hollandaise, and chives; and the Smoked Salmon board with capers, cucumbers, pickled red onions, whipped cream cheese, and Texas toast.
  • Reservations for Christmas brunch can be made

City Lights & Tree Lights

The Blackstone (636 S. Michigan Ave.)

  • Traveling holiday revelers are invited to cozy up to the season in the city at The Blackstone with the City Lights & Tree Lights package now available for booking throughout the holidays. To bask in the glow of the season of lights, the City Lights & Tree Lights package brings guests to the hotel’s neighboring cultural institution, the Museum of Science and Industry, to visit the world-renowned Christmas Around The World exhibit. Upon their return to the hotel, guests are invited to unwind next to the fireplace at Timothy’s Hutch for complimentary holiday cocktails, including the Pecan Pie Old Fashioned made with sugar in the raw, luxardo cherries, angostura bitters, toasted pecan whiskey, and served with candied pecans; when sugarplums are ready to dance overhead come nightfall, guests will find a new kind of turndown service with sugar cookies in-room for the sweetest dreams.
  • The package is available through December 31, 2017 for $199/night plus tax with a required booking window of two weeks in advance of the intended date. To make a reservation, guests are invited to call The Blackstone at 312.447.0955 to reserve this package.

Happy’s: A Holiday Pop-Up Bar

Chicago Athletic Association hotel (12 S. Michigan Ave.)

  • The Chicago Athletic Association hotel, Johalla Projects, and Land and Sea Dept. present Happy’s, the latest installment of the hotel’s “mini-bar” series in The Tank on the hotel’s ground floor. The bar will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and from12-5 p.m. on Sundays through December 30. Guests can expect an over-the-top celebration of holiday cheer and everything that comes with it- comfort, joy, and good old times. Programming includes DJ nights, karaoke, trivia, live music, family-friendly programming on Sunday and a visit from Santa himself. The bar, designed by Chicago-based art gallery Johalla Projects and operated by Land and Sea Dept., features a menu of festive cocktails by Land and Sea Dept. beverage director Paul McGee, as well as beer and wine.
  • For further announcements and full event details, visit

Mistletoes! Holiday Skate Weekend

Chicago Athletic Association hotel (12 S. Michigan Ave.)

  • Baby, it’s cold outside, so skate the night away inside! Chicago Athletic Association hotel is bringing back skating indoors – roller skating that is. Mistletoes! Holiday Skate Weekend takes over Stagg Court Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 for an admission price of $20 per person, ages 18 and over; attendees are welcome to bring their own roller skates, or invited to rent adults sizes for $5, cash only. Treats and themed libations will be available for purchase.
  • When registering for sessions, guests should note there will be a 60-minute break between sessions to reset the room. To learn more about Holiday Skate Night in Stagg Court and purchase tickets for one or several sessions, visit

SAUCED Night Market Returns: The Night Market Before Christmas

Chicago Athletic Association hotel (12 S. Michigan Ave.)

  • The Night Market Before Christmas returns to the Chicago Athletic Association hotel on Tuesday, December 12 from 5 to 10 p.m. The event brings 50 local food, drink and retail vendors to the hotel’s former swimming pool, The Tank, and former gymnasium, Stagg Court with live music and reindeer-filled photo booth to round out this one-stop-shop in the heart of Downtown Chicago. Savor hot sauce and snag sweet treats while perusing SAUCED’s largest selection of retail vendors. New vendors include Sorry Design prints, Feather & Wax candles, TENDEN apparel and Artisan Enclave woodworking.

Get Your Gingerbread Fix… in Milkshake Form!

DMK Burger Bar (2954 N. Sheffield Ave.)

  • Throughout the month of December, DMK Burger Bar offers a festive Gingerbread Milkshake to evoke the Christmas spirit. Made with Petersen’s Old-Fashioned ice cream, the milkshake is available as-is, or spiked with a shot for an extra holiday kick.
  • Available at DMK Burger Bar in December, for more information go to

Lounging in a Winter Wonderland

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago (127 W. Huron St.)

  • This holiday season, The Godfrey’s second annual Winter Wonderland returns to the hotel’s year-round rooftop lounge. The lounge is complete with heated, clear-domed igloos on the terrace, s’mores kitswarming winter cocktails, and of course, the rooftop’s retractable glass roof that protects guests from the chilly elements during all seasons. The igloos, including one massive central dome, may be rented by groups (the largest holding 10 people) for festive gatherings with friends or intimate celebrations for couples throughout the winter.
  • On Christmas Eve at the Winter Wonderland, guests may visit with Santa Claus himself, while enjoying a buffet brunch and all-day hot cocoa bar. Live holiday music will serenade guests with jazzy renditions of Christmas favorites. When kids aren’t indulging in hot chocolate and telling Santa what they wished for this year, they can have some fun in The Godfrey’s play room. The brunch begins at 11 a.m. and Santa Claus arrives at noon. Guests who wish to make a reservation for the Christmas Eve celebrations may call 312.374.1830.

A Night at The Nutcracker

JW Marriott Chicago (151 W. Adams St.)

  • Located in the cultural district and within walking distance of the theater, JW Marriott Chicago in partnership with Joffrey Ballet provides guests an ideal setting to relax and enjoy the spirit of the holidays in Chicago. Experience a must-see tradition and journey inside Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair with Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagined classic through the “A Night at The Nutcracker” package. The package includes a deluxe guest room, a special ballerina welcome amenity containing a signed pointe shoe, Nutcracker poster and tote bag, breakfast for two and two VIP tickets to The Nutcracker (additional tickets available for purchase upon request; VIP tickets exclude Saturdaymatinees + evenings and Sunday matinees).
  • JW Marriott Chicago’s package may be booked online at or by calling 312.660.8200.

An Enchanted Christmas Eve

Lawry’s The Prime Rib (100 E. Ontario St.)

  • Chicagoans are invited to spend Christmas Eve at the former McCormick Mansion for a traditional prime rib dinner with all the fixings, the Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad, Mashed Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, and more. The regal mansion is the ultimate place to celebrate Christmas Eve, adorned with lights aplenty, Christmas trees and holly, and carolers strolling about the restaurant enchanting the halls with holiday favorites. As an added holiday bonus, the restaurant will bring back their popularMansion Tours for one day only on Friday, December 15 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Every half hour, guests take a guided tour through the decorated space for an exclusive look at the rarely seen second level of the former 1890’s mansion. Packed with history and humor, the tours feature 1950’s original puppets from the Kungsholm Puppet Theatre days, a glimpse into secret rooms, and a variety of bites and cocktails at various stops along the way.
  • Lawry’s is open from 5-9:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Reservations can be made online Mansion Tour tickets are $50 per person and reservations are required; guests may contact Shannon Tauschman at or 312.787.5000.

An Enchanting Holiday Season

LondonHouse Chicago (85 E. Upper Wacker Dr.)

  • This winter, LondonHouse Chicago invites all to an enchanting experience on the tri-level rooftop’s 22nd floor terrace. LH Rooftop’s Enchanted Forest, filled with lit-up pine trees and festive décor, is open to guests throughout the holiday season – providing a picturesque spot to snap a holiday card photo with magnificent views of the cityscape and Chicago River as a backdrop. Guests may enjoy an LH Hot Chocolate or Holiday Highball on LH on 21 and wander up to the magical space for some seasonal sips and sights.
  • In the spirit of the giving season, LondonHouse Chicago will host a lobby toy drive benefitting the families at Ronald McDonald House of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Guests, Magnificent Mile shoppers, and Chicago locals are welcome to donate toys and gifts for the families at Ronald McDonald House through December 18, when the toys will be delivered to the organization in time for Christmas. In addition to the drive, LondonHouse Chicago will also host one family from Ronald McDonald House per week during the holiday season at the hotel for a complimentary staycation.
  • LH Rooftop is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. All-day dining at the tri-level restaurant begins at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. To reserve a table at LH Rooftop, please call 312.253.2317.

Over-the-Top Naughty or Nice Brunch and All-Day Christmas Eve Dinner

Maple & Ash (8 W. Maple St.)

  • Celebrate the holidays in true Maple & Ash fashion with a Naughty or Nice-themed holiday brunch on Sunday, December 10 full of special M&A moments. The award-winning Gold Coast steakhouse serves their classic brunch with festive twists and few surprises including a holiday ice luge and an appearance by a special Christmas guest.
  • To celebrate Christmas Eve, Maple & Ash will offer their nightly dinner menu beginning at noon on December 24 for those looking to enjoy the holidays with favorites such as the Fire Roasted Seafood Tower, dry-aged steaks, or ricotta agnolotti, or guests may let Maple & Ash take care of them with the 4-course, chef-selected IDGAFmenu.
  • Naughty or Nice brunch takes place on December 10 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is priced at $55 per person. The all-day Christmas Eve dinner will begin at 12 p.m.and last until 9:30 p.m. on December 24. Space is limited and reservations with a credit card guarantee are required. Reservations can be made by calling 312.944.8888 or online at OpenTable. Maple & Ash is closed on Christmas Day, December 25.

A Catalan Christmas

Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.)

  • This Christmas, the South Loop restaurant celebrates the holidays with some decadent Spanish-inspired offerings by Barcelona native Chef Diego Amat. Mercat will offer a holiday brunch service as well as a festive dinner for guests. Some menu highlights include a salad with cured duck magret, foie gras shavings, spiced bread, and a pomegranate vinaigrette as well as a floral lychee and rose cheesecake.
  • The Christmas menu is offered starting at 3 p.m. on December 25. Brunch is also available from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Christmas morning. Guests can make reservations by calling 312.765.0524

Katie Cahmann