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The 12 Days of Winter Break

The 12 Days of Winter Break

By Sophie Mark, Junior

Congratulations, Ramblers–we’ve made it to winter break! Now that we have time to relax and get away from campus, the holiday season ushers in a wonderful time to get out and explore Chicago. So if you’re staying in Chicago for all or part of winter break, here are 12 awesome things to do.

1.Ride the CTA holiday train

Hop on the decorated train for a few stops or as you ride to other holiday activities. Find the train on the red line on December 16, and on the purple line on December 21.

2. Go caroling at Cloud Gate
Sing carols to the Bean! Join local choirs for a combined concert and sing-along on Friday nights throughout December.

3. Check out the holiday exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry
Admire holiday decorations done on an enormous scale, and learn more about the traditions behind them at the museum’s signature Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibits. They also have live music and performances on the weekends.

4. Do some late-night holiday shopping in Andersonville
Head to Andersonville on Friday nights before Christmas for Andersonville Late Nights, which include extended store and restaurant hours, caroling, pictures with Santa, music, and a free holiday trolley that runs up and down Clark Street. You can also have your locally purchased gifts wrapped for free on December 22.

5. Ice skate downtown
Skate in front of the Bean at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, or visit the larger skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park.

6. Head to Lincoln Park Zoo for the free light show
Bring your friends and enjoy more than 100 themed displays, ice sculptures, rides, and more while sharing holiday snacks and drinks at Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. The event runs through the first week of January.

7. Catch a Christmas double feature at the Music Box Theatre
The charm of this vintage movie theatre combined with audience participation makes your holiday favorites a bit more magical. At the classic Christmas Double Feature, you can meet Santa, sing carols, and then cheer for George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life and sing your way through White Christmas. If you prefer more contemporary holiday classics, opt for their Jolly Holidays double feature of Love Actually and Christmas Vacation. Want something more unconventional? Check out the Dark Knight before Christmas show, featuring Batman Returns and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

8. Visit the Walnut Room at Macy’s to see the Christmas tree
Check out the Great Tree and famous holiday windows at the Macy’s on State Street. Enjoy the tree for free from the upper balconies of the store, or book a spot in the Walnut Room restaurant to see the tree up-close while enjoying a delicious meal.

9. Watch a local theatre production
If you like fun, affordable, and experimental theatre, Edgewater has over a dozen local theatres and theatre companies to choose from. Check out the Edgewater Theatre District calendar for details on all the shows running during winter break.

10. Ring in the holidays or the New Year with laughter at Second City
Catch the improv comedic stylings of Second City at Holidazed & Confused Revue through December 19, or spend New Year’s Eve at their special show featuring Dream Freaks Fall from Space.

11. Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Navy Pier—for free
New Year’s Eve in Chicago might conjure up images of swanky hotel celebrations, but it doesn’t have to be expensive! Head to Navy Pier to watch the fireworks show over the lake for free. If you arrive before 8 p.m. you can also channel your inner child and stop by Winter Wonderfest to enjoy the rides and giant slides.

12. Hit up a free museum day
Once the holidays are over, it’s a great time to take advantage of free museum days. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you can get into the Adler Planetarium, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Shedd Aquarium for free with an Illinois ID. If you don’t live in Illinois, check with the museums­–some will honor your student ID as a valid form of Illinois ID. You can also use your Loyola ID for free admission to the Art Institute at any time. If you go before January 7, you can see the Thorne Miniature Rooms decorated for the holidays!

Be sure to tag @RamblerBuzz to show off your winter break adventures!