Chicago Holiday Arts Calendar: Enchanting Concerts, Events, Spectacles, and more!


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Chicago Theatre marquee in snowfall, out of focus string lightsWelcome to winter! A few months of cold await, but we know that the coming weeks’ many Holiday-oriented concerts, events, and markets will help keep you warm! As we look forward to the festivities, we have compiled some of Chicago’s most enticing holiday offerings!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Merry, Merry Chicago!

Through 12/23 at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The CSO’s beloved holiday program returns for another joyous year in a program that features conductor Thomas Wilkins and Broadway standout Ashley Brown.

Metropolis Performing Arts Center: A Christmas Carol

Through 12/24 at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights’ Metropolis Performing Arts Center mounts a heartwarming Christmas Carol, including an American Sign Language performance on December 7.

Music Box Christmas Sing-A-Long & Double Feature

Through 12/24 at the Music Box Theatre

It’s year 40 of film festivities at the Music Box Theatre. Audiences are welcomed by Santa and the theater’s outstanding organ in a carol singalong before embarking on a double-feature of White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. If that sounds like too much of a commitment, you can always purchase a ticket for just one of the two movies.

Joffrey Ballet: The Nutcracker

Through 12/27 at Lyric Opera House

The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

Immerse yourself in beauty — and the city’s 1893 World’s Fair — in Joffrey’s bespoke, Chicago-set Nutcracker.

Cirque du Soleil: 'Twas the Night Before

Through 12/28 at the Chicago Theatre

A scene from Cirque du Soleil's 'Twas the Night Before (Photo: Brandon Todd/MSG Entertainment)

In one of the city’s signature venues, Cirque du Soleil shares its first-ever holiday show in what is sure to be a riveting combination of music, stagecraft, and bravado acrobatics.

Goodman Theatre: A Christmas Carol

Through 12/31 at the Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre’s perennial A Christmas Carol returns for another year — as does its Scrooge, respected actor Larry Yando — and runs through New Year’s Eve

Sugar Hill: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker

12/20 at Jazz Showcase

A jazz-infused Nutcracker uses Ellington/Strayhorn’s score to introduce jazz, tap, ballet, and other dance styles in an exciting reinterpretation of the classic holiday performance.

CSO: Sir Andrew Davis leads The Messiah

12/21-12/23 at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Joélle Harvey, in a black dress, poses against a cream colored wall

Joélle Harvey

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s former music director Sir Andrew Davis leads the CSO, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and a renowned lineup of soloists — including Joélle Harvey and Chicago area-born Matthew Polenzani — in the Messiah.

Winter Solstice Evening Concerts

12/21 & 12/22 at Constellation Chicago

The Constellation hosts sets from Nicole Mitchell and Moment to Moment to mark the winter solstice.

Mariachi Herencia de México: A Mariachi Christmas

12/22-12/23 at the Old Town School of Folk Music

Mariachi Herencia de México group shot

Mariachi Herencia de México

Chicago's beloved Mariachi ensemble performs classic and reimagined festive staples.

Trans Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

12/28 at Allstate Arena, Rosemont

Seasonal spectacle takes the Chicago area by storm as the Trans Siberian Orchestra gives two epic performances of its signature Christmas concert.

Battle of the Saxes

12/29-12/31 at the Green Mill

The Green Mill marquee

The Green Mill marquee

The Green Mill’s sax symposium sees some of the city’s best players duke it out, culminating on New Year’s Eve.

Past Events

Rembrandt Chamber Musicians: Holiday Baroque

12/1-12/3 in Evanston and Chicago

An all-star lineup of Chicago musicians — including the CSO’s Jennifer Gunn and conductor-harpsichordist-organist Stephen Alltop — dispense festive baroque works by Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, and more

St. Charles Singers: Candlelight Carols

12/1-12/3 in Wheaton and St. Charles

Vocal music enthusiasts should jump on this festive opportunity — at the time of writing, two of the ensemble’s three performances are already sold out.

William Ferris Chorale: I wonder, I wander

12/1 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church

William Ferris Chorale’s program shares holiday music that builds connection and overcomes fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uniting Voices: Holiday Glow

12/2 at Symphony Center

Uniting Voices, formerly the Chicago Children’s Choir, collaborates with vocal groups from around the city in a vibrant, family-friendly seasonal showcase.

Elgin Symphony Orchestra: Holiday Brass and Percussion

12/3 in Barrington

The ESO presents holiday highlights arranged for brass and percussion.

Lakeview Orchestra: Winter Dreams

12/3 at the Atheneum Center for Thought and Culture

The acclaimed volunteer orchestra presents Christmassy and wintry music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Alexander Glazunov, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Northwestern University: A Festival of Lessons and Carols

12/3 at Northwestern’s Alice Millar Chapel

Stephen Alltop leads a free performance of the beloved Christmas presentation.

University of Chicago: Messiah

12/3 at UChicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

One of the city’s most pristine sacred spaces, Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus makes for a resounding backdrop for Handel’s Messiah.

Wonderful: A Soulful Celebration by Adrian Dunn

12/3 at Epiphany Center for the Arts

Gospel music luminary Adrian Dunn hosts a release party for his new holiday album.

Chamber Music on the Fox: A Celtic Christmas

12/3-12/4 in Aurora and Elgin; streaming until 12/19

STEAM Irish Quartet delivers a Celtic Christmas concert.

A Chanticleer Christmas

12/5-12/6 at Fourth Presbyterian Church

The venerable men’s vocal group makes its annual Chicago holiday appearance at Fourth Presbyterian Church on the Magnificent Mile.

Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet Holiday Spectacular

12/6 at the Sulzer Regional Library

One of the Windy City's resident wind ensembles returns for a free, interactive holiday program for audiences of all ages, culminating in a kazoo-along rendition of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus!

Hanukkah a cappella

12/7 at West Suburban Temple Har Zion, River Forest

Chicago a cappella takes the stage to share music for Hanukkah, including selections its new album on Cedille Records. WFMT airs a special programming featuring this recording on the evening of December 12.

Hearing in Color: A Golden Hour Celebration with LaRob K. Rafael & Friends

12/7 at Epiphany Center for the Arts

Vocalist, WFMT host, and Hearing in Color founder and artistic director LaRob K. Rafael takes center stage in this concert of music for love and the holidays.

Old Town School of Folk Music: Songs of Good Cheer

12/7-12/10 at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Maurer Concert Hall (Lincoln Square)

The spirited singalong party celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Old Town School.

Apollo’s Fire: Wassail! Irish-Appalachian Christmas

12/8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus: The Big 4-0, ho ho!

12/8 at the Auditorium Theatre

The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates the season — and a major milestone — with its characteristic verve and artistry. The ensemble performs another holiday program on 12/17 at Theater on the Lake.

Elgin Symphony Orchestra: Holiday Spectacular

12/8-12/10 in Crystal Lake and Elgin

Evanston Children's Choir Holiday Concert

12/8 at Alice Millar Chapel, Evanston

A multi-ensemble collaboration between ECC, the Youth Chorale Pops, and the Pope John XXIII School Choir explores festive selections for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Home Alone in Concert

12/8-12/10 at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Hear the CSO perform John Williams’ score for the heartwarming Chicago-area set Christmas comedy live to picture.

Bella Voce: A Ceremony of Carols

12/9-12/10 in Chicago and Evanston

With Britten’s rapturous Ceremony of Carols at its center, Bella Voce shares a warm, all-treble program of vocal music fit for the season.

Boston Brass: Christmas Bells Are Swingin’!

12/9 at Ravinia Festival, Highland Park

Chicago Chamber Choir: Carols with the Choir 2023

12/9-12/10 in Lincoln Square, Edgewater, and via streaming

The Chicago Chamber Choir (and you, if you want!) performs carols new and old at sacred spaces in Lincoln Square and Edgewater.

Chicago Tap Allstars: Winter Wonderland

12/9 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center

This collaboration between M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Chicago Tap Theatre showcases some of the city's most revered and original tap dancers in a performance that taps (ahem) into the seasonal spirit!

Choir! Choir! Choir! & WBEZ: Un-Silent Night

12/9 at Thalia Hall

Join WBEZ and Toronto-based ensemble Choir! Choir! Choir! for a night of merry music making.

Duke it Out! Nutcracker

12/9 at Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston

Two family-friendly, 60-minute performances see Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker goes head-to-head with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s jazz reimagining of the score, featuring Dance Chicago, Braeburn Brass, and Quintet Attacca onstage.

Uniting Voices: Holiday Caroling at the Chicago Cultural Center

12/9 at the Chicago Cultural Center

Uniting Voices invites all to join in song underneath the stunning Tiffany dome of Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall.

A Galway Arms Christmas Celebration

12/10 at the Galway Arms

A musical Christmas celebration that benefits Sharing Notes, a not-for-profit organization that brings performers to hospitals to share live music.

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show

12/10 at the Auditorium Theatre

The “Queens of Christmas” stop in Chicago for a hilarious and joyous holiday spectacle.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Brandenburg Concertos

12/13 at the Harris Theater

The influential NYC chamber music ensemble visits the Third Coast for its yearly performance of the complete Brandenburg concertos in their original instrumentation.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live

12/14 at Fulton Street Collective

Vince Guaraldi's indispensably evocative music for A Charlie Brown Christmas is performed live by the Quentin Coaxum Quintet.

Music of the Baroque: Holiday Brass and Choral Concerts

12/14-12/17 in River Forest, Chicago, Winnetka, and Evanston; streaming through 12/22

A yuletide institution unto itself, Music of the Baroque presents its perennial holiday concerts under the baton of Andrew Megill.

Ballet Chicago: The Nutcracker

12/15-12/17 at the Harris Theater

The school mounts its classic Nutcracker at the Harris Theater.

Chicago Sinfonietta: Holidays of Light

12/15 at the Auditorium Theatre

One of the city’s most enterprising ensembles taps into Winter holiday favorites across traditions in a festive, one-night-only presentation.

A Judy Christmas

12/15-12/17 at the Den Theatre

This riproaring play invites you to join the legendary Judy Garland and friends as she prepares to film a holiday special.

Newberry Consort: A Latin American Christmas

12/15-12/17 in Evanston and Chicago

The Newberry Consort broadens its instant-classic Mexican Christmas program to survey baroque and early music Christmas selections from across Latin America.

Baritone & The Live Jazz Ensemble in Concert

12/16 at Epiphany Center for the Arts

Jazz and soul vocalist Baritone sings selections for the season from the Epiphany Center for the Arts.

A Ceremony of Carols with Vox Venti

12/16 at Resurrection Lutheran Church

The upstart ensemble — founded in 2022 by artist, composer, and conductor Ed Frazier Davis — shares a holiday choral performance anchored by Britten's A Ceremony of Carols.

"A Holiday Extravaganza" Concert

12/16 at Garfield Park Conservatory, streaming through 12/24

This free concert ushers you into the verdant warmth of the Garfield Park Conservatory, with holiday hits by Vivaldi, Ellington, and more performed by the Chicago West Community Music Center Community Orchestra.

La Caccina: The Sky of Winter

12/16 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

La Caccina, a premier Chicago women’s vocal ensemble, looks upward for a meditative, celestial winter program.

Tammy McCann: A Jazz Christmas with Fareed Haque

12/16 at Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston

The Music Institute of Chicago artist-in-residence is joined by guitarist Fareed Haque and a squad of string players to celebrate the winter holidays with some jazz favorites.

Windy City Performing Arts: Angels Among Us

12/16 at DePaul University’s Gannon Concert Hall

An intersectional concert taps into traditions from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to honor the winter season and those who work to uplift others.

Classical Music Chicago: DIY Messiah

12/17 at the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago

Classical Music Chicago’s beloved spin on the Messiah invites you to bring your singing voice for this musical potluck.