In Chicago: Four sparkling New Year’s Eve events

Plan now for what you want to do New Year’s Eve. If in or visiting Chicago there are fun runs and cruises, count-downs and parties and delightful cultural programs. Most events require tickets.

 

1.Celebrate the changing of the year the Viennese Neujahrskonzert way. Performances take place in 24 North American cities near New Year’s Day. In Chicago, the “Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert” will be at Symphony Center 2:30 p.m., Dec. 31, 2016.

Dancers from the Kiev Aniko Ballet in Symphony center New Year's concert.

Dancers from the Kiev Aniko Ballet in Symphony center New Year’s concert.

The program is all about wonderful Strauss waltzes and music from the Merry Widow, and Die Fledermaus by the Strauss symphony of Canada and the Chicago Philharmonic. Dancers are from Ukraine’s Kiev-Aniko ballet and the International Champion Ballroom. Singers are soprano Lilla Galambos and baritone Thomas Weinhappel from Vienna.

For tickets visit CSO or call (312) 294.3000. For other information visit Salute Vienna or call (416) 323.1403.

 

2. Celebrate with a Chi-Town Rising event.

The day starts with the Chi-Town Rise & Shine 5K race and Fun Run, check in begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. race beginning at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. The run also goes through Maggie Daley Park, Grant Park and by the lakefront. The event is a Special Olympics fundraiser. Handouts include pompom hats, gloves and hot chocolate. Click here to register and see details.

It continues with the Family Count-Down from 3 to 6 p.m. at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square.  New Year celebrations start at different times around the world so parts of the event are activity stations showing New Year’s customs in different countries.  The event is free. The Kids Countdown Spectacular is 6 p.m.

Chi-Town Rising New Year’s Eve Celebration is 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Tickets are free but are required to enter the two viewing areas between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. There will be food and beverage concessions and views of the midnight fireworks. The North Viewing Area, north of the river, will be the site of NBC 5’s broadcast. South Viewing Area on Upper Wacker Drive will have the main performance stage.

Visit Chi-Town Rising details. For tips on clothing and other viewing areas visit FAQ.

 

3. Navy Pier is headquarters for two New Year’s Eve Parties.

Navy Pier New Year's Eve fireworks start at midnight. Navy Pier photo

Navy Pier New Year’s Eve fireworks start at midnight. Navy Pier photo

The 5th Annual Chicago Resolution Gala celebrates with several drink bars and buffet stations and dancing in the Pier’s Grand Ballroom. There is also a good fire works viewing spot. For tickets and details visit Resolution Gala. Visit tickets and details.

There is also a party in the Crystal Garden, the Pier’s six-story glass botanic atrium. There will be several bars and champagne for a toast. For tickets and more details visit Crystal Gardens.

 

4. New Year’s Eve Cruises go from Navy Pier. Watch the fireworks after partying aboard the Mystic Blue, the Spirit of Chicago or the Odyssey. Each cruise ship hosts a New Year’s Eve Party. Times and prices vary so see which one fits your budget. Visit Mystic Blue Cruises, Odyssey and Spirit of Chicago.

Have a happy, safe New Year’s Eve!

 

Fun holiday sights offer an unusual shopping bonus

The big Thanksgiving weekend shopping spree is now history but there are still gifts to get and some fun outings still on the to-do list. Combine them!

The Field Museum has an awesome gift shop. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Field Museum has an awesome gift shop. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

For one-of-a-kind gifts, there are hardly any better places to look than in museum shops.

 

At the Art Institute of Chicago, the stunning ‘Moholy-Nagy: Future Present’ exhibit fills Regenstein Hall. A retrospective with more than 300 works of László Moholy-Nagy who influenced everything from advertising and manufacturing to art movements and design, the exhibit is reason enough to plan an outing before it leaves Jan. 3, 2017.

Tip: The museum’s huge gift shop in the main building and the selective gift shop in the Modern Wing are definitely places to find special items you likely won’t see elsewhere. Plus, you will benefit the Art Institute.

 

Dec. 3 and 4, 2016 are free admission days at The Field Museum and The Field’s regular exhibits are fascinating any time. But China’s Terracotta Warriors are there only through Jan. 8, 2017 so go before they head home.

Tip: The Field has an amazing gift shop of items from all over the world. It would be hard not to leave there with a gift (including something for oneself).

 

Christkindlekarket Chicago downtown on Daley Plaza, is designed to emulate Nuremberg’s holiday market, begun in the 16th century. The market opened in Chicago as a trade event in the 1990s. This is a place to visit for fun and food.

Tip: The vendors sell items not easily found in the United States such as Bavarian glass and pewter. It has expanded to include items from other countries such as Ireland and Poland so have fun browsing.  BTW, Naperville also now has a Christkindlemarket.

Long Grove Confectionery Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Long Grove Confectionery
Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

Historic Long Grove, a north suburban village that dates from the mid 1800s, dresses up Dickens fashion for the holidays. Go for a carriage ride and to hear carolers or take a selfie by the covered bridge.

Tip: Pick up treats at the town’s famed Long Grove Confectionery, gifts at the Olive Tap and check out other boutiques for specialty items.

 

Be of good cheer, holiday fun is here.

 

Holiday Happenings when not interested in Black Friday or Cyber Monday

Macy’s Windows, Walnut Room Tree and SantaLand

Macy's Great Tree Photo by Debbie Jacobs

Macy’s Great Tree
Photo by Debbie Jacobs

Youngsters and adults press their noses to the windows of Macy’s on State Street to see holiday stories and wonderful winter animation scenes. Already attracting passers by, the scenes will be up through Jan. 8, 2017. While there go up to the 7th floor to see the Great Tree in the Walnut Room. It’s a dazzling two-story-high tree emblazened with 6,600 lights and 2,000 ornaments. Walnut Room lines can be long but there is quicker seating in the bar area where you still can see the tree. Youngsters who want to visit Santa at his Cozy Cloud Cottage, go to SantaLand on the 5th floor. It’s open until Dec. 24, 2016.

Macy’s on State is 111 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60602. For other information call (312) 781-1000 and see visit Chicago Macy’s.

 

Art Institute Thorne Rooms

First take a selfie outside the museum with the museum’s famous lions. They are wreathed for the holidays. Inside, go downstairs to peek into 68 tiny, doll-house-sized rooms. Holiday decorations added to nearly a dozen of them on Nov. 22, 2016 will stay there through Jan. 8, 2017.. Constructed to mirror different styles and periods in Europe and the United States, furnishings are sized one inch to the foot. Tip: Look for Frank Lloyd Wright’s William Martin House’s breakfast room that is included for the first time this year.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 South Michigan Ave.,  Chicago, Illinois 60603. For other information call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC Thorne Rooms.

 

Wonderland  Express

See millions of lights glistening as you approach the Chicago Botanic Garden from Lake Cook Road in north suburban Glencoe. Inside the Regenstein Center, tiny trains pass through miniature villages in the first room. But save lots of time for the great room where trains rush overhead and ground level past Chicago landmarks. Gently falling snow indoors sets a festive, winter mood. Continue through to see more trains and landmarks in what looks like a train station. But don’t forget the greenhouses. Decorated with gorgeous poinsiettas they are back by the Wonderland’s entrance. Everything is up from Nov. 25- Jan. 2, 2017. However, for special events go to hear caroling mornings Nov. 25-27 and see ice sculpting mid-day Dec. 11.

Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. For other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit Wonderland Express.

 

Holiday doings: It’s all about lights

Holiday lights, dramatic lights and delightful lights are blinking on all over the Chicago area this month. Here’s a quick guide to what ignites smiles among young and old.

 

Morton Arboretum Illumination Photo compliments of Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum Illumination. Photo compliments of Morton Arboretum

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Go early to find a spot along North Michigan Avenue Nov. 19 for BMO Harris’ Magnificent Mile Light Festival and Tree Lighting Parade. The parade starts at Oak Street at the north end of the route at 5:30 p.m. then heads south to the river. Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse wave wands that turn on the Avenue’s lights, marking the beginning of the Mile’s big shopping season.

 

Morton Arboretum Illumination

Music, lights, action make Illumination a memorable experience. The Arboretum’s light show starts Nov. 18, 2016  and goes through Jan. 2, 2017. Tickets are needed. Outside, the music was recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Inside, hear different bands different weekend nights. Hug a tree to get a reaction and walk special paths to see special lighting effects and catch lights dancing to “The Nutcracker.” The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Illinois Highway 53, Lisle, IL 60532. Phone (630) 968-0074.

 

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

You can’t help but say “Wow” when you see what the zoo looks like beautifully adorned with holiday lights. Zoo Lights starts Nov. 25, 2016 and continues through Jan. 1, 2016. BTW, when there be sure to visit the new penguin and polar bear sections. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, phone (312) 742-2000.

 

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