Get ready for Christmas shopping, festive shows and all that jazz


It’s the most wonderful time of year to experience holiday shopping, live shows, and other seasonal activities in Chicagoland.

Depending on the weather, residents can attend the Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston (December 16) or stay inside and live stream A Jazz Christmas. The soulful production features singer Tammy McCann and the TRIIO quartet as they perform “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and “Let It Snow,” among other festive songs. “This show is the perfect way to escape the holiday madness for a few hours,” said Mark George, President of the Music Institute.

The glamor of 1930s high society is expressed as a black family in Manhattan experiences a jazzy Nutcracker about Sugar Hill: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker (December 19-December 30) at the Auditorium Theater. Similarly, Black Girls Dance founder and choreographer Erin Barnett uses ballet, hip-hop, tap and contemporary dance to portray traditional Black Nativity in Mary, A Holiday Dansical (December 17) at the Reva and David Logan Center for to reinterpret the Arts.

Thanks to MADD Rhythms and Chicago Tap Theater, the Chicago Tap Allstars invite families and dance lovers to Winter Wonderland (December 9) at the Harold Washington Cultural Center. “One of the goals of Chicago Tap Allstars is to introduce audiences to other talents and companies and expand people’s understanding of tap, and Winter Wonderland does this with a festive twist,” promises Mark Yonally, artistic director of Chicago Tap Theater. Click here for $25 tickets and $75 VIP packages.

The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater performs classical, folkloric, escuela bolera and flamenco styles of Spanish dance at its 48th Family Holiday Concert (December 15) at the Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium, while the Chicago Theater opens its doors for “Twas the Night Before…” opens. from Cirque du Soleil in December. Click here for tickets (starting at $36) to the variety show, which includes hair hanging from Brazil’s Priscila Teixeira Santos.

With CLUE: A Walking Mystery – Holiday Edition, a popular board game comes to life. The interactive event from Apollo Theater and Right Angle Entertainment turns participants ages 8 and up into detectives in Block 37 and surrounding locations. “We are so thrilled with the enthusiastic response we have received from our players,” said Kevin Hammonds, producer for Right Angle Entertainment. “Collecting clues to solve the puzzle will be just as exciting for newcomers, and although the puzzle is the same, most of the locations are new, so returning players will have fun discovering the fun Christmas spirit that runs through the whole experience. “ Tickets start at $35 and are available here.

Immersive art and technology fans can virtually experience an icy winter landscape during WNDRland: Iced In (through January 15) at the WNDR Museum Chicago. “The goal of the WNDR Museum is to awaken curiosity and creativity in each of us. That’s why we’re pleased to be able to present a new edition of Winter WNDRland, which aims to offer a new, unique perspective on the winter season,” explains Eric Sawitoski, Chief Marketing Officer at WNDR-Museum. “In addition to the celebration, we are proud to partner with SocialWorks Chicago this holiday season and beyond to support their mission of empowering Chicago’s young people through the arts.” Click here to order tickets and gifts or gently worn ones Donate coats to SocialWorks’ Warmest Winter program.

In addition to the Drie-cember Holiday Pop-Up Concerts, the Driehaus Museum hosts Christmas Saturday and Carols with the St. James Youth Choir (December 2) for families ($25 adults/$13 children). The museum’s multicultural events include Hanukkah Songs with the Music Institute of Chicago (December 9); St. Lucia Day Songs with the Swedish American Museum (December 16); and Kwanzaa Celebration with the African American Museum of Performing Arts (December 21). Gift givers are also invited to the Trunk Show at the Driehaus Museum Store (December 16).

“During the holidays, the Museum shines in its true glory, and we welcome families from across Chicagoland to come in from the cold and enjoy our festive programs as they celebrate the holidays downtown this month. With our pop-up Christmas concerts, our museum shop filled to the brim with great gift ideas, and exciting new works by contemporary artists, we are opening our doors even further and inviting visitors of all ages and neighborhoods to come together at the Driehaus Museum this season,” says Managing Director Lisa Key.

The Village of Rosemont is hosting its Sparkle Light Festival (through December 31) at Impact Field. The interactive wonderland features an ice skating rink and access to five lighted villages (Frozen Forest, Snowflake Circle, Winter Wonderland, North Pole and Deck the Walls); Alpine Slide tubing ($22 per person); free Holly Trolly train rides; plus food and drink options. Click here for the full schedule and general admission ticket information ($24 adults/$18 children).

“Rosemont has always been a must-see for holiday events and we are excited that the Sparkle Light Festival will once again light up Impact Field this winter,” said Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens. “Sparkle is the perfect addition to Rosemont’s premier holiday shopping, dining and entertainment offerings, and we can’t wait to welcome new and returning visitors to make this festival of lights a long-standing family tradition.”

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