Welcome 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
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
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
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
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
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’s sax symposium sees some of the city’s best players duke it out, culminating on New Year’s Eve.
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
Stephen Alltop leads a free performance of the beloved Christmas presentation.
University of Chicago: Messiah
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
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
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
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.