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If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the holiday season on a budget, here are a few festive Chicago outings to try this year.


ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo – open December 4–6, 11–23, 26–31, and January 1–3 (Free)

Caroling at Cloud Gate – featuring local choirs Friday evenings in December (Free)

Holiday Train & Holiday Bus – a festive ‘L’ train and CTA bus are making the rounds on various lines and bus routes all season, check the schedule and hop aboard (Costs $2.25 to ride the ‘L’ and $2 to ride the bus)

Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island – families can enjoy winter activities, meet live animals and make nature-inspired crafts on Dec. 12 (Free)

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier – open Dec. 5-Jan. 10, featuring a skating rink and more than 24 rides (General admission $9, activity pass $23)


Millennium Park Rink – open daily now through March 6 (Free, skate rentals $12)

Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park – open daily now through late March (Free, skate rentals $12)


Christkindlmarket – open now in Daley Plaza through Dec. 24 (Free)

Renegade Craft Fair – Dec. 5-6 at the Bridgeport Art Center (Free)

Randolph Street Holiday Market – Dec. 12-13 at Plumbers Hall 1340 W. Washington (Advance tickets $8, $10 at the gate)


Holiday films at the Music Box Theatre – Lakeview’s old-fashioned movie house shows Christmas classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, “The Nutcracker”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, and “Love Actually” (Tickets are $10-15)

“Best Christmas Pageant Ever” – a family-friendly play running Nov. 28-Dec. 20 at Provision Theater Company (Tickets are $10 for children, $15 for adults)


Museum of Science & Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light – Nov. 21-Jan. 3 (Museum entry costs $18 for adults, $11 for children, $17 for seniors)

Julmarknad Festival at the Swedish American Museum – craft fair with traditional food and entertainment on Dec. 5-6 (Admission is $2)

Follow @UrbanAgendaWGN on Twitter for more fun stuff going on around the city. Send us your ideas and photos – they might be featured in a future post or TV segment. Now get out and experience Chicago!