This is the most authentic Old World Christmas market, with many German vendors who bring over toys, ornaments and sweets. There's a Children's Lantern Parade, appearances by the Christkind and entertainment most days. In Daley Plaza in the Loop.
Tour the retro-cool lighted decorations in Bayfront Festival Park, including a tree that dances to music, Dinosaurland and Penguin Park. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy popcorn, roasted marshmallows, cookies and hot chocolate. Everything is free, but bring one or more non-perishable food items (and/or cash) to donate.
The free display in Olin Park is open from dusk to dawn.
This free light show on Lake Winnebago includes animated scenes and trees that dance to 20 minutes of music played on 87.9 FM (you can listen on your car radio).
This new North Side satellite of the Daley Plaza Christkindlmarket features ice-skating, wreath-making, music and Santa's Workshop as well as holiday vendors.
The fourth year of a downtown holiday village will be in Loring Park and feature free admission, with entertainment that includes ice-skating, holiday movies and band and choir concerts.
The Chicago Christkindlmarket has a satellite market at the historic Naperville Settlement, with visits from the Christkind, dance performances and a children's lantern parade on Kinder Tag.
Festivities in the rejuvenated Third Ward near downtown start with tree lighting and a performance by Trinity Irish Dancers, followed by fireworks, carriage rides, carolers, reindeer, street entertainers and a cookie sale.
In this northwest Illinois town, Santa Lucia arrives in a horse-drawn carriage on Friday and hands out Swedish cookies, then Santa lights the Great Tree and opens his Gingerbread House. There's shopping amid strolling carolers. A tour of five houses is Friday and Saturday, and a Steeple Walk of churches is on Sunday.
Shop at the Holiday Art Fair, go on a horse-drawn carriage ride, visit with Santa and tour the decorated Kuhefuss House.
This Victorian-themed festival includes Living Windows in downtown shops Friday evening, a Tour of Homes Saturday, wagon rides, an Enchanted Forest of decorated trees and a gingerbread-house contest.
This Christkindlmarkt in Union Depot features choirs, dancers, hot mulled wine, holiday beers, European-inspired food and artisan goods.
In this Dutch town, the man in the red suit arrives in a wooden ship, wears a bishop's miter and has a Moorish servant as helper. A 10 a.m. parade is followed by a meet-and-greet at Scholte Church.
A candlelight procession and tree lighting start this traditional German market fair. There's also live reindeer, a baby camel, horse-drawn wagon rides, music and a Christkindl Night of Lights Parade.
At this fun event at Old World Wisconsin, a complex of pioneer homesteads next to Kettle Moraine State Forest west of Milwaukee, you'll meet Father Christmas, stroll from historic houses to shops, sample ethnic foods and make old-fashioned crafts.
Reserve early for the Old World Holiday Breakfast.
Celebrate the season with hay rides, gingerbread-house building, a fat-tire bike ride and madrigal singers.
Festivities include cookies, hot drinks and twinkle lights given to children. There will also be a tree-lighting ceremony, free trolley rides, caroling and fireworks.
This Norwegian Christmas market on Lake Superior, between Duluth and Two Harbors, features indoor and outdoor markets, music, children's activities, skating, Norwegian food and visits from Santa and elves.
On Saturday, take the train from Duluth to Knife River and back for $10, $5 for children 3-12.