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Best Holiday Celebrations In Chicago

As the Christmas holidays draw near, we are once again reminded to keep warm and gather close to our loved ones. Adding to the list of "Best Chicago Family Christmas Traditions," these events offer yet more wonderful ways to celebrate the spirit of the season.


Winterland Holiday Light Show
Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
1350 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
(847) 362-3042

Dates: Nov. 29, 2013 - Jan. 8, 2014, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A great destination for the entire family during the Christmas season, the Winterland Holiday Light Show at Cuneo Museum invites visitors to take a spectacular drive through majestic holiday displays, stretching for miles along the historic Cuneo Estate. Upon entering the light show, guests are encouraged to tune in to a designated radio station for musical accompaniment to enhance the visual exploration. The opulent museum was endowed to Loyola University in 2009 and will be beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Special tour dates will be available in December for visitors interested in viewing the interior of the mansion.

Neapolitan Creche Exhibit
Art Institute of Chicago Gallery 209
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

Dates: Nov. 29, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.--Thurs. until 8 p.m.

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute is located in the heart of Chicago and houses more than 300,000 works of art. A nationally recognized museum for the larger-than-life lion sculptures at its entrance, the AIC's mission has been to collect and preserve artwork that will inspire an appreciation of history through artistic expression. Among several holiday exhibits currently on display, the Neapolitan Creche is an amazing collection of three-dimensional figures depicting variations of the Nativity scene on a painted backdrop. The renderings are vividly detailed and combine rogue elements of 18th century life with biblical images to convey the flux and transition underway at the time. It is a truly memorable installation well worth viewing this holiday season.

Related: Best Places For Edible Holiday Gifts In Chicago


Brandenberg Concertos
Harris Theater at Millennium Park
205 E. Randolph Dr.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 334-7777

Date: Dec. 18, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Now in its 10th glamorous year as one of Chicago's premier performing arts centers, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance will celebrate artistic excellence through its "Harris Theater Presents Series." Sponsoring more than 35 versatile resident companies, the season's theater highlights will include debuts, premiers and some of the finest performances from the past decade. Among the holiday favorites commemorating this special anniversary event, a classic concert of Sebastian Bach's six Brandenberg Concertos will be performed by gifted musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Wonderland Express

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-5440

Dates: Nov. 29, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A beautiful and scenic landmark science center and museum, the internationally acclaimed Chicago Botanic Garden's mission is to study and preserve varieties of flowers and plants in their natural habitat. Welcoming more than one million visitors per year, the Garden enjoys a membership of over 50,000 and participates in many personal enrichment and educational programs. On the calendar of special events this holiday season, children are invited to explore the Wonderland Express exhibit at the Regenstein Center. An exciting world awaits through an endless array of lights leading to the indoor installation, where kids get to watch a miniature train going past important Chicago landmarks surrounded by festive trees, wreaths and holiday decor.

New Year's Eve Gala 2014
Hilton Chicago Hotel
720 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 587-3474

Date: December 31, 2013, Registration at 7 p.m.

Regarded as second to none in the hospitality industry for its elegant sophistication and impeccable service, the iconic Hilton Hotel is host to some of the finest and most exclusive events in the city. A fabulous atmosphere of ambience to ring in the New Year with style in 2014, the attendee list is expected to exceed 3,500 and reservations sell in advance. Guests can purchase VIP or General Admission tickets and may opt to have a buffet dinner before the party, or even make it an overnight stay in a specially priced, well-appointed room or suite. Party favors will include hors d'oeuvres, great dance music and a balloon drop at midnight.

Related: Best Florists In Chicago To Get A Holiday Poinsettia

Magdalene Paniotte is originally from Chicago and very pleased to be a CBS contributor. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with graduate level credits in creative writing and liberal studies. Maggie enjoys developing her voice as a freelance writer. Her published articles can also be found at


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