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January 2020

 
January 2020
 
Chicago

We recommend the best events, festivals, and fun things to do in Chicago, Illinois. 

Christmas lights – Lincoln Park Zoo

January 1 – 5

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo features millions of holiday lights, ice carving, music, carousel & train rides, food, and gift shopping (plus photos with Santa some days). Free.

Model trains & holiday flowers

January 1 – 5

Model trains wind their way among 700 poinsettias and a Christmas tree during the Holiday Flower Show at Lincoln Conservatory. Open daily. Free.

Holidays around the world

January 1 – 5

See trees decorated to represent many cultures, plus weekend ethnic song-and-dance performances during Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science & Industry.

Light show in the garden

January 1 – 5

 “The night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light” at new event Lightscape. You walk on a one-mile path that includes “an avenue of luminous linden trees” at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Christmas lights arboretum

January 1 – 5

See colorful tree lights and projections on a one-mile walk at Illumination, with fire pits to warm you up along the way at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

Winter WonderFest

January 1 – 12

Festival Hall at Navy Pier becomes an indoor Winter WonderFest for the holidays, with music, skating, carnival rides, and entertainment. You need ID if you are age 18+, otherwise you need a parent. Children shorter than 3 feet are free.

It’s a Wonderful Life: radio play

January 2 – 4

It’s a Wonderful Life recreates a live radio play based on the popular movie about a man seeking purpose in life at Stage 773. Afterwards, join the cast for milk and cookies.

Boat and RV show

January 8 – 12

Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show includes hundreds of boats and RVs, camping gear, and even a trout pond for kids at McCormick Place.

Fishing & hunting show

January 9 – 12

Attend seminars, shop from 100 vendors, discover Canadian hunting lodges, and learn about customs requirements at the All Canada Show at Pheasant Run Mega Center in St. Charles.

Cowboy show

January 11 – 12

Watch Professional Championship Bull Riders take on bucking bulls at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

Healthy Living Expo

January 18

 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Healthy Living Expo offers health screenings, fitness classes, and health-oriented vendors at Tinley Park Convention Center. Free including parking.

Chicago Restaurant Week

January 24 – Feb. 9

Get a special deal on a fixed-price lunch or dinner at nearly 400 restaurants during Chicago Restaurant Week.

Polar Bear Plunge

January 25

Register online, and then take the Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan for charity at Oak Street Beach, followed by an optional after party. Free to watch.

Northerly Island adventure

January 25

See birds of prey and wolves, make “nature-inspired winter crafts,” walk on snowshoes (if there’s snow), and drink cocoa (while it lasts) at Polar Adventure Days on three dates in December, January, and February.

Winter beer festival

January 25

 (1 to 10 p.m.)

Winter Brew is a Lincoln Square & Ravenswood beer fest that features local brew and food at Dank Haus for age 21+.

Eagle weekend

January 25 – 26

Learn about raptors and birds of prey, meet falcons and an eagle, take an eagle-watching hike, and try kids’ activities at Bald Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock Lodge & Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.

Groundhog Day

January 30 – Feb. 2

Much of the movie “Groundhog Day” was filmed in Woodstock, which is no surprise because their events on Groundhog Days are picture perfect, including the groundhog’s prognostication (weather forecast) on Sunday at

Taste of Oak Park

January 31

A ticket to Bite Nite gets you tastes from 50 restaurants, with live music and drinks for sale at 19th Century Club in Oak Park.

Motorcycle show

January 31 – Feb. 1

Chicago Motorcycle Show & Parts Swap features bikes, parts, demonstrations, food, beer, and live music at Tinley Park Convention Center.

Events