Your Chicago Curated Weekend: 12/15 and Beyond

The holiday season is quickly coming to a close! This may be your last weekend to pick up some last-minute gifts so don't delay! So whether you're looking for a winter-themed experience or want to catch an awesome show, this coming weekend is ready with some excellent events!

It's feeling a little more normal to go out since Chicago dropped the masking and vaccination proof mandates (for better or worse) and events are rolling in. While it may seem like we're at the tail end of things, many venues still have their mask and vaccination requirements for the foreseeable future. So if you do plan to go out this weekend, make sure you check out the venue's policies and take initiative. Wear a mask, social distance, and get your vaccination shots and your booster even if the venue/event doesn't require it. And if you still feel that wearing a mask is a must (like many still do), then please wear one. Protect yourself and those around you. If you still don't feel entirely safe to go out (and quite honestly, who can blame you?) you can always stay in and support these places from home.

Now, let's get on with your Chicago Curated Weekend!


Pilsen Gourmet @ Apollo's 2000, 2875 W Cermak Rd, 7:00pm - 10:00pm,
WHAT: 25+ restaurants from Pilsen and the nearby Chicago area will come together to put the spotlight on the talents of some of today’s leading Latino chefs
SO WHAT: This new celebration of gourmet and specialty foods will highlight the impact and importance of Latino culinary talents. Both historic pioneers and upcoming chefs will be on hand showcasing cooking demonstrations as well as unlimited samples of culinary specialties, an array of Mezcal, Tequila, Crafted Beer and other Mexican beverages such as sodas and micheladas mixes.
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $55 for this culinary feast!

Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along @ Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., 6:00pm – 7:00pm, All Ages
Sing out and celebrate Chicago’s diverse holiday traditions
SO WHAT: The new Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along series near Cloud Gate (previously “Caroling at Cloud Gate”) will invite Chicagoans and visitors to come together and sing their hearts out. This series has been reimagined to be more inclusive of Chicago’s many faith backgrounds, cultures and holiday music traditions. Each night will feature a different theme and musical group. Tonight will feature BYNC Music Project (Spanish and English program)
NOW WHAT: It’s free!  Head over to their website for more info! Face masks are required for all Holiday Sing-Along guests and masks will be available at the event while supplies last.

NOW WHAT: Tickets are $33 per car for these movies, so bring the family for a safe movie watching experience


Mariachi Herencia de México – A Very Merry Christmas Tour @ Old Town School of Folk & Thalia Hall, 4544 N Lincoln Ave & 1807 S Allport St , Friday 8:00pm (Old Town), Saturday 2:00pm/5:00pm/8:00pm (Old Town), Sunday 7:00pm (Thalia Hall)
WHAT: Add some mariachi flavor to your Christmas tunes
SO WHAT: Mariachi Herencia de Mexico, the Latin Grammy winning group, will be making their way to Chicago for three days of wonderful music. The group will be splitting their time between Old Town School of Folk Music on Friday and Saturday, and Thalia Hall on Sunday! Mariachi Herencia de Mexico will be performing both Mexican and American holiday favorites that will surely fill your night with holiday cheer (and perhaps a grito or two).
NOW WHAT: Tickets are available now for all nights but are going fast! You can find the Old Town School of Folk tickets here and the Thalia Hall tickets here

ChiTown Movies @ Pilsen Neighborhood, 2343 S. Throop St, Various Times, All Ages
An old school experience for the modern age
SO WHAT: Take a trip back in time and head out to a drive-in movie with ChiTown Movies. Ever since the pandemic started and shut down traditional movie screening, a few pop up drive-ins have arrived and ChiTown Movies has persevered, offering up modern movies in this retro setting. Check out their lineup below for showings this weekend and in the future!

NOW WHAT: Tickets are $33 per car for these movies, so bring the family for a safe movie watching experience

The Neo-Futurists' The Infinite Wrench @ The Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N Ashland, Friday and Saturday 10:30pm, Sunday 7:00pm, 16+
WHAT: Quick plays live and online!
SO WHAT: The Neo-Futurists are back! Their Infinite Wrench is an  ongoing, ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes for a live audience. Now it's actually a live audience that will be enjoying the performance in person! With plenty of COVID precautions in place, you'll be able to enjoy the funny, disgusting, profound, terrifying, irreverent, and downright entertaining show with friends! Plan ahead as vaccination cards will be checked and booster will be required to be fully vaccinated.
NOW WHAT: Join the Neo-Futurists this weekend for $10! Head over to their website to see all they have planned now that in-person audiences are a thing again! If you're still a little anxious about going out, The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral will be continuing til February (and possibly beyond) over at their Patreon


Renegade Craft Fair @ Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N Morgan, 11:00am – 5:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: A craft fair focused on independent makers.
SO WHAT: There will be 170+ independent crafters and makers at this Renegade Craft Fair celebrating DIY spirit for two amazing days. Avoid the chilly weather with a warm weekend full of great creative goods and handmade gifts and much more for this last stop of the gift-giving season. Check out all the events going on at their event page!
NOW WHAT: The event is free and open to the public.

Randolph Street Holiday Market @ Plumbers Hall, 1341 W Randolph St, 10:00am – 5:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: Randolph Street Market Chicago returns for the holidays
SO WHAT: Celebrate the holiday edition of this fun market where you can experience over 125 vendors with a wide variety of items perfect for your gift giving needs! There will also be a market bar for a Bloody Mary, beer, wine or champagne and local eateries while browsing vendors on three floors!
NOW WHAT: Tickets for the market are $10 for general admission, kids 12 and under! There are also plenty of great packages available for groups !


Windy City Made - Inaugural Holiday Market @ Stan Mansion,2408 N Kedzie Blvd, Noon - 6:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: A perfect stop for your last minute holiday gifts!
SO WHAT: Still looking for some holiday gifts? Why not shop local in Logan Square! Head over to the very first Windy city Made Market at Stan Mansion and browse the cool and unique items on sale from more than 50 local artists, artisans and vintage vendors! While you peruse the awesome wares you can enjoy the Art Deco ballrooms of the Stan with a tasty holiday cocktail in hand.
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $5, head over and discover some great last minute gifts!



Christkindlmarket @ Daley Plaza (50 W Washington St) & Gallagher Way (3635 N Clark St) & RiverEdge Park (360 N. Broadway, Aurora), Various Times, All Ages
WHAT: The Chicago Christmas time tradition is back in person!
SO WHAT: After going digital last year, Christkindlmarket is back with all the familiar foods, music, and ornaments you expect! Head over to their website for info on special events, hours, and more! If you’re still not feeling up to the crowds, their online marketplace will be up and running for those who want to stay home!
NOW WHAT: It’s free! Mask up and stay safe as you experience the wonderful marketplace!

Winterland @ Gallagher’s Way, 3635 N Clark St, various times, All Ages
Some more winter festivities
SO WHAT: Enjoy the return of Gallagher Way’s Winterland with the fun expanding into Wrigley Field itself!! Enjoy fun rides (Wintertube, Infield Express, Hot Cocoa Cups, and Winter Whirl), games (Chiney Toss, Tree Topper, & Snow Pitch), and of course the usual ice skating, ice bumper cars, and the Christkindlmarket will be on hand!
NOW WHAT: Entry to the Wrigley Field portion starts at $5 and attraction tickets are $4 (10 for $36 & 20 for $69)! Ice Skating + Skate Rental is 5 attraction tickets or $20, rink access only is 3 tickets or $12.

Holiday Magic @ Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St (1st Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, IL, 3:00pm – 9:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: Add some holiday cheer to your zoo visit!
SO WHAT: Celebrate the holiday season as over two million lights wrap around Brookfield Zoo! Entering its 40th season, Holiday Magic lets attendees explore the zoo as the synchronized lights dance to the music. You’ll have fun discovering all the enormous illuminated animal structures, finding all the hidden Gnomes in a Game of Gnomes, taking a trip to the skating rink, taking some special holiday photos, and so much more!
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $24.95 for adults 12- 64, $17 for children ages 3 – 12,  $19.95 for Seniors. Parking is $13.39

ZooLights @ Lincoln Park Zoo, pedestrian entrance at Stockton Drive and Webster Street, 4:30pm – 10:00pm, All Ages
One of the largest displays of the season’s lights!
SO WHAT: ZooLights, Presented By ComEd and Invesco QQQ,  at Lincoln Park Zoo makes the most wonderful time of year even better with the most wonderful lighting event. The one-of-a-kind experience offers fun family-oriented holiday celebrations that feature beautiful  displays and incredible seasonal activities all under the glow of millions of lights! Check out their event page for a full rundown of all the fun that is waiting for you at the annual ZooLights event!
NOW WHAT: Entry is free on Mondays and Tuesday, $5 every other day! Tickets for the Winter Experiences, including the carousel, Lionel Train Adventure, Ferris Wheel, Light Maze, and S’mores at Snowy’s will be available on site for $4 each, a package of 10 for $36, or a package of 20 for $69.

Light Up the Lake @ Navy Pier, 600 E Grand, Various times, All ages
WHAT: Winter festivities without all the cold!
SO WHAT: Navy Pier will be putting on Chicagoland’s biggest indoor, temperature-controlled winter celebration! Light Up the Lake will feature a light garden, featuring large-scale light-sculpture displays; an Alpine ice rink, kiddie train rides, gift market—and, of course, a chance to visit with SANTA!
NOW WHAT: Tickets are available now and range from $15 to $26.

Weekend Shows @ Lincoln Hall & Schubas, 2424 N Lincoln Ave & 3159 N Southport Ave, various times, 18+
WHAT: A full weekend of amazing shows at Schubas and Lincoln Hall!
SO WHAT: Lincoln Hall and Schubas are some of our favorite venues in the city and they always have something great going on. Check out what's going this weekend at these great venues!

NOW WHAT: Head out to Schubas & Lincoln Hall and enjoy this great lineup of shows! Please note: proof of vaccination is required for entry to all shows at Lincoln Hall and Schubas in Chicago. Click here for more information on this policy.

Back on the Big Screen and Virtual Cinema @ Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave and at your home, any time you want to watch a movie
A great way to support a great local theater
SO WHAT: The Music Box Theatre is really to fill that art house need in you with some excellent movies including with White Noise, Aftersun, The 39th Annual Music Box Christmas Sing-A-Long & Double Feature, DogVideoFest, and more! But if you want to watch some first-run movies at home, you can still watch great movies and support them online! They are currently screening films via their The Music Box Direct series! There are also tons of select titles available on their new platform!
NOW WHAT: Digital tickets are $12, in person screenings vary, so sit back and enjoy!

Threads art exhibit @ Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St, Chicago (enter at Racine/34th, north lot free parking), through January 6, 2023.
WHAT: Feed your spirit rather than consumerism in this often capitalist season.
SO WHAT:  Threads refers to the connections bridging the diverse practices of these 12 Chicago artists: Alexis de Chaunac, Colin Fleck, Drew Reynolds, Eleonore Zurawski, Frank Vega, Ingrid Olson, Jeffrey Yard, Journie Cirdain, Kate Smith, Lisa Bjornstad, Maxwell Volkman, and Weiyang Gao. Through the use of traditional and non-traditional techniques in painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media, each artist has developed their own mark-making process and visual language. Hushed palettes of earth tones and textured surfaces in these works bring the natural world into conversation with a rawness that exposes the human experience. Veins of abstraction, existentialism, and nuanced narration act as themes stitching together this quilted tapestry. This group exhibition is co-curated by Gao, and BAC curator Marci Rubin.
NOW WHAT: The event is free and the center is open Monday-Saturday from 8am-6pm, and Sunday from 8am-12noon. Consider taking or giving a class as a gift, with options including ceramics, yoga, “dancing brush creativity,” plus the Wine & Paint studio.

New Talks and Video Archives @ Various Locations & Chicago Humanities Festival YouTube channel, your favorite browser or YouTube app, any time you want some inspiration, All Ages
WHAT: Interesting conversations with interesting people!
SO WHAT: Chicago Humanities Festival always brings some of the best ideas to the surface with entertaining programming that captures your imagination. Be on the lookout for updates to the upcoming season as their website is constantly updated with new talks.  Here is a taste of what coming in September!
NOW WHAT: Head over to take a look at their past events here! You should also sign up for their email list to get updates on upcoming talks in 2022

Masque of the Red Coronavirus! @ Black Button Eyes Productions, Any time on your computer or mobile device. For 18+.
WHAT: Written by Black Button Eyes Productions producing artistic director Ed Rutherford, this short satirical piece is available online free as a combined script-and-video experience.
SO WHAT: In addition to reading the play, you will see various Chicago artists act out portions of the script on video, recorded remotely. The event includes puppets, burlesque, original music, fire dancing and more in a brief, darkly comedic confection.
With the Red Coronavirus running rampant across the countryside and a vaccine still months away, what's a Prince to do? Lock himself in a secure bunker in an undisclosed location along with a cohort of his top donors, of course. To prevent him and his rich supporters from becoming bored, the Prince has also brought a few artists into the bunker to entertain the crowd. But as the hour grows later and the night grows weirder, it's clear that something else has also invaded the party.
NOW WHAT: Settle down for an evening of magical weirdness. Click here and begin reading and watching the videos

Picture of the author
Julian Ramirez