The Christmas Schooner
Have yourself a City of Big Shoulders Christmas at the Mercury Theater, the current home of the beloved Chicago musical, “The Christmas Schooner.” Created by John Reeger and Julie Shannon, “Schooner” takes you on a sentimental journey back to the 19th century, when Christmas tree ships plied the gale-prone waters of Lake Michigan, bringing pines and spruce from the snowy North to homesick immigrants in Chicago. One of the most -staged musicals to come from Chicago, “Schooner” debuted in 1995. In a review of last year’s production, also at the Mercury, Tribune theater critic Chris Jones wrote, “I do regard this show — at least when seen in communities forged by the very immigrants the story celebrates — as something close to a sacred part of a Chicago Christmas.” “The Christmas Schooner” will be at the Mercury Theater from November 23 to December 30. Tickets are $29-$55; $10 off main floor seats on Senior Wednesdays (via phone or in person). Call 773-325-1700 or go to mercurytheaterchicago.com
TIP: Get into the spirit with a fisherman’s sweater, preferably in white, green or red.
— Nara Schoenberg
A Christmas Carol: Chicago actor Larry Yando recreates his role as Scrooge in Tom Creamer’s stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the true meaning of Christmas; goodmantheatre.org. Runs Nov. 17-Dec. 29. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. $25-$80; 312-443-3800.
All That Jaws: an absurd, comical, and musical re-imagining of the 1975 summer blockbuster; theaterwit.org. 10:30 p.m., Runs Oct. 2-Dec. 7. Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont, Chicago. $20; 773-975-8150.
At The Flash: LGBT history, condensed into the story of five characters; centeronhalsted.org. Runs Nov. 16-Dec. 16.. Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago. $15-$25; 773-472-6469.
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical: The Grinch discovers there's more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic; broadwayinchicago.com. Runs Dec. 15-Dec. 16. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $19-$82; 312-384-1502.
Fuddy Meers: an amnesiac awakens each morning as a blank slate on which her husband and teenage son must imprint the facts of her life; katettheatre.org. Runs Nov. 10-Dec. 8. City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. $20; 800-838-3006.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph!: The director and ensemble that have treated Chicago to Clarence, George and the characters of Bedford Falls for more than a decade; once again take the audience back to a 1940’s radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life complete with Foley sound effects, an original score and a cast of seven; americanbluestheater.com. Runs Nov. 23-Dec. 30. Biograph, Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. $19-$39; 773-871-3000.
Long Day's Journey Into Night: James Tyrone, a semiretired actor, is vain and miserly; his wife Mary feels worthless and retreats into a morphine-induced haze. Jamie, their older son, is a bitter alcoholic. James refuses to acknowledge the illness of his consumptive younger son, Edmund. As Mary sinks into hallucination and madness, father and sons confront each other in searing scenes that reveal their hidden motives and interdependence; eclipsetheatre.com. Runs Nov. 1-Dec. 9; Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago. $10-$18. 312-902-1500.
Metamorphoses: Ten-year anniversary production of Mary Zimmerman’s Tony Award-winning adaptation of the classic Ovid poem; lookingglasstheatre.org. Runs through Dec. 16. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $32-$70. 312-337-0665.
Six Stories Tall: Inspired by Hispanic folklore, these six fantastical tales feature a live DJ and incorporate comic books, video games, hip-hop music and mythology; adventurestage.org. Runs Nov. 10-Dec. 13; Adventure Stage Chicago, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. $10-$25. 773-342-4141.
Taiko Legacy 9: Perfect for families, Taiko Legacy bridges Japanese court music and jazz with giant drums, stylized kimono dance, and improvised music; mcachicago.org. Runs Dec. 21-Dec. 22. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. $15. 312-397-4010.
The Burnt Part Boys: Rural West Virginia, 1962. A young boy and his older brother embark on a life-altering journey to the coalmine that took their father’s life; theaterwit.org. Runs Nov. 3-Dec. 22; Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago. $36. 773-975-8150.
The Christmas Schooner: Inspired by the 1912 shipwreck of “The Christmas Tree Ship,” which carried trees from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Chicago’s German immigrants; mercurytheaterchicago.com. Runs Nov. 28-Dec. 30; Mercury Theatre, 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. 773-325-1700.
The Dead: A reimagining of James Joyce’s “The Dead,” this piece tells the tale of a group of family and friends as they gather to sing and dance in celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany in Dublin at the turn of the last century; courttheatre.org. Runs Nov. 17-Dec. 9; Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. 773-753-4472.
The Nutcracker: A dark adaptation of the classic holiday tale by E.T.A. Hoffman features large-scale spectacle, songs, puppets and more; thehousetheatre.com. Runs Nov. 18-Dec. 30; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. $25-$35; $10 for students; 773-278-1500.
The Nutcracker: The 25th anniversary of the Joffrey’s production. A grand production with Tchaikovsky’s score played live by a full orchestra; joffrey.org/nut. Runs Dec. 7-Dec. 27; Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago. $31-$117. 312-386-8905.
The Odd Couple: When recently-failed marriages force slovenly Oscar to share an apartment with fastidious Felix, the pair must determine whether their differences are irreconcilable; northlight.org. Runs Nov. 9-Dec. 9; Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $25-$47. 847-673-6300.
The Santaland Diaries: David Sedaris’ beloved account of his time in the trenches as an Elf at Macy’s. A celebration of the desperation of unemployment, the insanity of Christmas shopping and the ineffable “cheer” of the holiday spirit; theaterwit.org. Runs Nov. 23-Dec. 30; Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. $24-$36. 773-975-8150.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: The longest-running show in Chicago, TMLMBGB is a one-hour blitz of 30 extremely brief plays; neofuturists.org. Special 24th anniversary performances run Dec. 7-Dec. 9 and Dec. 14-Dec. 16. Special New Year’s Eve performance on Dec. 31; The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. $9 plus the roll of one die ($10-$15); 773-275-5255.
Tomorrow Never Knows
You don’t have to wait for summer to get your music festival fix. From January 16 to 20, the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival showcases almost 50 acts in what Schubas talent booker Matt Rucins calls “a human mix-tape.”
Launched by Schubas eight years ago as a record release party for the local band Paper Airplane Pilots, Tomorrow Never Knows has since spread to five venues — Lincoln Hall, Metro, Hideout and Smart Bar as well as Schubas — featuring indie rock bands, dance DJs and stand-up comedians from around the world. The 2013 lineup includes Canadian indie rock band Born Ruffians, Swedish harmonica trio Niki and the Dove, British pop singer-songwriter Jessie Ware and Chicago psychedelic reggae duo Wild Belle.
“Middle of January is dead as far as touring bands go, but people in Chicago are getting stir crazy,” Rucins said, so these up-and-coming performers are able to lure a larger crowd than usual. Info at Tnkfest.com
Tip: Check out bands you’ve never heard of because, as the festival’s title suggests, you never know if superstardom is around the corner (Bon Iver’s Chicago debut was at Tomorrow Never Knows, Rucins said).
— Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Nathan Pacheco: harristheaterchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13; Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago. $35-$45. 312-334-7777.
Catherine Russell: evanstonpace.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 14; SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Chicago. $17-$30. 847-492-8860.
Mary Wilson: finearts.northcentralcollege.edu. 8 p.m. Nov. 17; Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. $45-$50. 630-637-7469.
The Doug Banks Fantastic Funk Jam: horseshoehammond.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 17; The Venue at Horseshoe Hammond, 777 Casino Center Dr., Hammond. $63-$84.50. 219-473-7000.
Bravura Bach, Orchestra Works: harristheaterchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19; Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago. $27-$75. 312-334-7777.
Mavis Staples: citywinery.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 23-Nov. 24; City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $48-$75. 312-733-9463.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra - Christmas Rocks! Extravaganza: horseshoehammond.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 23; The Venue at Horseshoe Hammond, 777 Casino Center Dr., Hammond. $37-$52.50. 219-473-7000.
Chicago Human Rhythm Project: ScrapArtsMusic: harristheaterchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24; 3p.m. Nov. 25; Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago. $15-$55. 312-334-7777.
Winer Wine Pairing: 20 songs and 20 wines: citywinery.com. 8 p.m. Nov. 28; City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $30. 312-733-9463.
Chick Corea and Gary Burton: northshorecenter.org. 8 p.m. Dec. 1; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $60-$80. 847-673-6300.
Lindsay and The Shimmies: wilmettetheatre.com. 10 a.m. Dec. 1; Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette. $10-$12. 847-251-7424.
Klezmer Brunch: Ensemble M'Chaiya: citywinery.com. 11 a.m. Dec. 2; City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $10 + food, free for kids under age 10. 312-733-9463.
Empire Brass Presents:The Sound of Christmas featuring Elisabeth Von Trapp: ravinia.org. 8 p.m. Dec.6; Bennett-Gordon Hall, Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park. 847-266-5100
The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show: Go Tell it on the Mountain, w/Ernie Hendrickson: citywinery.com. 8 p.m. Dec. 8. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. 312-733-9463.
Celtic Woman: finearts.northcentralcollege.edu. 8 p.m. Dec. 8; Pfeiffer Hall, North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. $80-$95; 630-355-2665.
Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour: thechicagotheatre.com. 8 p.m. Dec. 8. The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. $43-$88. 800-745-3000.
The Moody Blues: horseshoehammond.com. 8 p.m. Dec. 8; The Venue at Horseshoe Hammond, 777 Casino Center Dr., Hammond. $45-$140. 866-711-7463.
Straight No Chaser: thechicagotheatre.com. 3 p.m. Dec. 9. The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. $29.50-$49.50. 800-745-3000.
Tab Benoit: citywinery.com. 8 p.m. Dec. 9. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. 312-733-9463.
Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael: driehausmuseum.org. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago. $35-$45. 312-482-8933.
Caroling at Cloud Gate: Holiday singalongs at the Bean feature a different choral group each week; explorechicago.org. 6 p.m. Nov. 23, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, Dec. 14, Dec. 21; Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Free; 312-742-1168.
Evanston Symphony Orchestra: An Evanston Symphony Christmas: The Christmas concert features performances by the North Shore Choral Society and Evanston Dance Ensemble, plus an audience singalong and a visit from Santa and his elves; evanstonsymphony.org. 3 p.m. Dec. 4; Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston. $10-$40; 847-424-7000.
Sing-Along Sound of Music: musicboxtheatre.com. 4 p.m. Nov. 23; Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. $8-$15; 773-871-6604.
Music Box Christmas Show: Sing carols with Santa before settling in to one or two classic holiday movies at the 29th annual double feature. Can’t remember the lyrics? Don’t fret: you can read them off the movie screen and hit the right notes, thanks to live organ accompaniment; musicboxtheatre.com. Dec. 14-Dec. 24; Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. $12-$20; $10-$15 for kids under age 13; 773-871-6604.
Do-It-Yourself Messiah: Be a participating chorus member in this traditional, annual public performance of Handel’s “Messiah”; imfchicago.org. 7 p.m. Dec. 17-Dec. 18; Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. $10; 312-334-7777.
Turkey Day 5K
Run, walk or wobble before you gobble. The 2012 Life Time Turkey Day 5K hustles adults through Lincoln Park and along the lakefront to Recreation Drive and back. Kids ages 2-12 can race in the short-course Plymouth Rock Ramble. 9 a.m. Nov. 22; Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway. $20-$30 in advance; $40 race day. $12 for kids ages 2-12; turkeyday-5k.com. 773-404-2372.
TIP: Bring two cans of food (or more) to packet pickup to receive a long-sleeve technical shirt and to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
— Wendy Donahue
Tinley Turkey Trot: A 5K run and walk through residential streets includes refreshments and awards for top finishers; tinleyparkdistrict.org. 7 a.m. Nov. 11; Vogt Woods Park, 6527 W. 171st St., Tinley Park. $16-$25; 708-342-4200.
Friday Night Meltdowns: Ice skate to dance music on the indoor rink; glenviewparks.org. Oct. 5-April. Glenview Ice Center, 1851 Landwehr Rd., Glenview. $7.50 admission; $4.50 skate rental; 847-724-2800.
Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot: The 29th annual 5K benefit run founded by Gibbons, the executive director of the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, features a flyover by the Lima Lima Flight Team at 8:50 a.m. Registration fees include an event T-shirt; dangibbonsturkeytrot.com. Nov. 22; Vallette and York Streets, 550 S. York St., Elmhurst, IL 60126. $30-$35; 630-415-2816.
TD5K, Turkey Day 5K: Run or walk through Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving morning. The 35th annual event, expected to draw more than 5,000 participants, also features a Plymouth Rock Ramble for kids ages 2-12. Canned food donations benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository; turkeytrotchicago.com. 9 a.m. Nov. 22; Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive, 200 W. Fullerton Pkwy., Chicago. $20-$40. 773-404-2372.
Santa Hustle 5K: The winter walk and run returns for a third year with holiday music and decorations, and a Santa hat, beard and shirt for every participant. An awards ceremony honors top finishers; an afterparty includes a buffet and drinks; santahustle.com. Dec. 1; Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Dr., Chicago. $40; 847-829-4536.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis: Dress up in holiday costume and tie bells on your shoes for the annual 5K benefit jaunt. Snow or shine; jinglebellrunchicago.kintera.org. 9 a.m. Dec. 15; Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. $20-$45; 312-880-4735.
Snowshoe and crosscountry ski: Explore the 91-acre peninsula with ease when the snow is at least three-inches deep. Equipment rentals are available on a first-come, first served basis and can be checked out for up to two hours; chicagoparkdistrict.com; Northerly Island, 1400 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago. Free; $5 rental fee for equipment; 312-745-2910.
Rudolph Ramble: An 8K run and walk through Lincoln Park. The course includes a Donner Dash for kids ages 2-12 years old. Toy donations benefit Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; fleetfeetchicago.com. 9 a.m. Dec. 9; Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive, 200 W. Fullerton Pkwy., Chicago. $35-$40; $12-$15 for kids ages 2-12; 773-561-3338
8th annual Polar Adventure Days
Step 1: Swaddle in subzero-rated gear. Step 2: Slather Aquaphor on lips and nose. Step 3: Repeat for whole family — turning a muffed ear to any protests. Then follow the tracks to Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island on Dec. 8, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16. In its 8th year, the Chicago Park District’s rite lures hardy bodies with dog-sledding and ice-sculpting demonstrations, and free cross-country ski and snowshoe lending (provided there’s at least 3 inches of snow). Explore the island or take cover in the visitor center, with hot cocoa, live animal displays, craft projects and story-telling or musical entertainment. Noon to 4 p.m., 1400 S. Linn White Drive. Admission: free. Activities are subject to change. Call 312-742-PLAY (7529).
TIP: Bring 3 bucks and arrive early to snag one of the cash-only spots in the parking lot just south of the visitor center.
— Wendy Donahue
Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts: Pomp, from processions to palaces; fieldmuseum.org. Oct. 17-Feb. 3. Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. $22; $15 for kids ages 3-11. Includes general admission; 312-922-9410.
Breakfast with Santa: Breakfast, breathtaking views, and the big guy himself; jhochicago.com. Dec. 1-Dec. 23. John Hancock Observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $15-$45; 888-875-8439.
Santa in the Sky: Visit with Santa every Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and take home a free keepsake photo; jhochicago.com. Throughout the week, see Santa’s sleigh and watch the holiday train roll through a decorated cityscape. Adult admission includes one free youth admission for kids ages 3-11; John Hancock Observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $11.50- $17.50; 888-875-8439.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light: Two annual displays (in their 71st and 17th years, respectively) feature more than 50 decorated trees representing diverse holiday celebrations around the globe. The centerpiece is a 45-foot tree with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments. Falling “snow” and music and dance performances round out the festivities; msichicago.org. Nov. 15-Jan. 6; Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Free with general admission, $12-$15; $9-$10 for kids ages 3-11; 773-684-1414.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: Mickey and Minnie Mouse lead a street-lighting procession of more than one million bulbs along North Michigan Avenue after a full day of live music in Pioneer Court and activities for families and kids. Stick around for a fireworks display over the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue. Also, paticipating stores offer extended shopping hours as part of the 20th annual fest; magnificentmilelightsfestival.com. Nov. 17; Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive, 990 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Free; 312-409-5560.
Chicago Toy and Game Fair: Check out hundreds of new toys and games from more than 150 exhibitors at the tenth annual preview-and-play event, billed as the largest expo of its kind in the nation. Also, meet inventors and sports mascots, participate in tournaments and kids activities and watch continuous live entertainment; chitag.com. Nov. 14-Nov. 18; Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. 312-595-7437.
Santa House: Pose for photos with St. Nick and explore his North Pole workshop at this annual attraction; explorechicago.org. Nov. 21-Dec. 24; Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. Free; 312-744-3316.
McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade: Watch iconic helium balloons float along State Street, from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street, at the 79th annual parade. Marching bands, equestrian units, performers and others join the fun. Want a good spot? Arrive early to beat the crowds. 8 a.m. Nov. 22; State Street and Congress Parkway, 500 S. State St., Chicago. Free.
Enchanted Railroad: Nine model trains -- including one equipped with a tiny camera that imagines a passenger’s view -- roll through a winter village during this annual holiday display; mortonarb.org. Nov. 23-Jan. 6; Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte. 53, Lisle. Free with general admission; 630-968-0074.
Wonderland Express: Miniature trains chug past waterfalls, bridges and dozens of Chicago landmarks inside the Regenstein Center. Outside, 750,000 holiday lights add a festive feel to the grounds; chicagobotanic.org/wonderland. Nov. 23-Jan. 6; Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe. $8-$12; 847-835-5440.
ZooLights: About two million lights add holiday cheer to the zoo grounds. Ice-carving demonstrations, kids craft activities and photos with Santa (through Dec. 23) round out the festivities. Animal exhibits stay open late; lpzoo.org. Nov. 23-Jan. 6; Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. Free; 312-742-2000.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show: The annual drive-through display on the grounds of the mansion features thousands of lights, animated figures and holiday decorations; vernonhills.org. Nov. 23-Dec. 31; Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, 1350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills. $5-$10; 847-362-3042.
Winter Flower and Train Show: An old-fashioned steam engine and other model trains wind through a miniature village dotted with Chicago landmarks and surrounded by red, white and pink poinsettias; chicagoparkdistrict.com. Nov. 24-Jan. 6; Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Drive, Chicago. Free; 312-742-7736.
Winter WonderFest: Holiday decor, an indoor ice rink, inflatable slides, rides and video games highlight the 12th annual event, along with new attractions such as sleigh rides on Dock Street and live music in the beer garden; navypier.com. Nov. 30-Jan. 6; Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Free entry; $10-$15; 312-595-7437.
Holiday Magic: The Brookfield Zoo stays open late to show off more than one million holiday lights. Explore indoor exhibits, and visit the restaurants, food stands and gift shops; czs.org. 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. Weekends, Dec. 1-Dec. 31; Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Free with general admission, $10.50-$15; 708-688-8000
Lego Train Show: The Northern Illinois Lego Train Club produces its annual display at the park. See various Lego genres (town, space, Star Wars, etc.) connected by miniature trains that wind through the visitor center and restaurant. Bring new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and receive free parking; cantigny.org. Dec. 8-Dec. 9; Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Rd., Wheaton. Free; parking costs $5; 630-668-5161.
NEW YEARS EVE
Bass Drop 2013
New Years Eve, aka the most disappointing night of the year, gets a kick of creativity at Bass Drop, a high-energy party now in its fourth year at the historic Portage Theater. The party, organized by an artist and musician collective-cum-production company called Funky Boosters, features break dancing, poi, live painting, interactive projects and bands and DJs playing a mix of electronic fusion, dub step, jam, funk and hip hop. The 18+ party tends to draw a young crowd, averaging 18 to 25, who prefer to hear the bass drop than see the ball drop. Organizers expect the 1,300-seat theater to sell out. Doors open at 7 p.m., party goes until 2 a.m. Up to $40. bassdropchicagonye.com
Tip: Buy early next year for a steep discount. Purchasing through tickscale.com, the ticket cost starts at $5 and nudges up a few cents with each purchase until reaching its regular price of $40.
— Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Eve of the Eve: Ring in the new year a little early at the 18th annual, black-tie optional benefit event. Tickets include an open bar, appetizers and live music by Pat McKillen and South of 80; highsight.org. 8 p.m. Dec. 30; Great Hall, Union Station, 210 S. Canal St., Chicago. $125-$140; 312-787-9824.
Chicago’s Resolution Gala: five-hour open bar and hors d’oeuvres at Navy Pier; <a href="http://chitownevents.com" target="new">chitownevents.com</a>. 9 p.m. Dec. 31; Grand Balroom at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. $85-$395. 773-516-5767.
NYE 2013 at Palmer: party in one of Chicago’s most luxurious hotels; chicagonye.com. Dec. 31; Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe, Chicago. $125-$155.
NYE 2013 at Hilton: live music from well-known artists; clubzone.com. Dec. 31; Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $115-$165.
NYE 2013 at Hard Rock Hotel: kicktickets.com. Dec. 31; Hard Rock Hotel, 230 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $150+.
NYE 2013 at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile: nye-chicago.com. Dec. 31; Hyatt Magnificent Mile, 633 N. St. Clair St., Chicago. $125-$150.
Big Gigantic: experience a live show with this jazz-jam-synth sound explosion. Dec. 31. Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, Chicago. 773-561-9500.
Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys: evanstonspace.com. 10 p.m. Dec. 31; SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. $65-$95; 847-492-8860.
Zoo Year’s Eve: Young party animals can ring in the new year with music, games, favors and a countdown to 2013 at 8 p.m.; czs.org. 6 p.m. Dec. 31; Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Free with general admission, $10.50-$15; 708-688-8000
Gazebo Holiday Market: Browse jewelry, home decor and other gifts from more than 40 merchants at the 41st annual shopping party. On Friday, enjoy a Martinis and Mistletoe preview cocktail party while you shop; jlchicago.org. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 17; Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago. $5 suggested donation; $65-$85 for Friday preview; 312-664-4462.
Randolph Street Holiday Market: Shop for antiques, vintage wares and modern gifts at the annual sale from the producers of the Randolph Street Market Festival. Estate jewelry, indie fashions, decorative objects, housewares and more are on offer. Admission includes free parking and gift wrapping, plus a discount shopping voucher; randolphstreetmarket.com. Nov. 17-Nov. 18; Dec. 15-Dec. 16; Journeymen Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. $8-$10. 312-666-1200.
Winter Arts and Crafts Expo: The tenth annual showcase features handmade, original works by dozens of artisans. Browse jewelry, ceramics, fiber, metal, glass, painting, photography and more; evanstonartcenter.org. Nov. 17-Dec. 24; Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Rd., Evanston. Free; 847-475-5300.
Christkindlmarket Chicago: A traditional German market returns to the plaza for the 17th year with 50 vendors in tow -- the majority of whom travel from Germany to participate. Browse holiday ornaments, beer steins, wooden toys, jewelry, European chocolates and more gifts. Sweet and savory treats are available for purchase, including bratwurst, potato pancakes, studel, German beer and hot spiced wine. Performances and heated tents round it out; christkindlmarket.com. Nov. 21-Dec. 24; Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. Free; 312-494-2175.
Bucktown Bazaar: Make a dent in your holiday shopping with handmade gifts from DIY crafters and established artisans, including many participants in the annual Bucktown Arts Fest. Includes a silent auction. Sale takes place in the park fieldhouse; graziaproductions.com. Nov. 24-Nov. 25; Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley Ave., Chicago. Free; 773-263-5882.
One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago: Shop for holiday gifts from more than 650 artists and designers from around the world at the 12th annual sale, featuring accessories, fashion, furniture, jewelry, kids items, photography, paintings, ceramics, glass, metal and more; oneofakindshowchicago.com. Dec. 6-Dec. 9; Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plz., Chicago. $9-$15; 312-527-4141.
Old Town School Holiday Craft Bazaar: Browse fiber arts, jewelry and other handmade gifts at the seventh annual sale, presented as part of the school’s Open House Friday, which features live music and activities; oldtownschool.org. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8; Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. free; 773-728-6000.
Native Arts Holiday Bazaar: Native American artists exhibit and sell their handmade creations and discuss their work with visitors. Expect to find an array of jewelry, beadwork, feather work, dolls, ceramics, drawings and more; mitchellmuseum.org. Dec. 1-Dec. 2; Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston. $5; 847-475-1030.
Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale: The ever-popular indie and DIY fair returns to the fieldhouse for a seventh year. Expect a wide range of wares, from clothing and accessories to jewelry, paper goods, housewares, artwork, bath and body products, plush toys and more. Food and drink vendors are on hand; renegadecraft.com. Dec. 1-Dec. 2; Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk St., Chicago. Free; 312-496-3215.
Dose Market: A new, monthly European-style market boasts a well-edited assemblage of vendors, spanning fashion, food and design; dosemarket.com. Nov. 11 & Dec. 9 River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St., Chicago. $8-$10.
The Holiday Show: Browse gifts made by more than 75 artists, including jewelry, ceramics, paintings, textile art, paper goods and more at the eighth annual holiday sale in the building’s atrium. A benefit auction for the Chicago Park District features additional works of art; graziaproductions.com. Dec. 9; Architectural Artifacts, Inc., 4325 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. Free; 773-263-5882.
Holiday Windows: The 45th annual display along State Street. Inside, see Macy’s Great Tree, which stands 45-feet-tall and features more than 2,000 ornaments; visitmacyschicago.com. Nov.-Jan.; Macy’s, 111 N. State St., Chicago. Free; 312-781-4483.
Turkey Testicle Festival: A Black Friday tradition features 1,000 pounds of the floured and fried organ du jour under a heated tent, plus souvenir T-shirts and other gifts for purchase. A handful of bands play throughout the day; pizza, Italian beef and sausage are also for sale; parksidepubhuntley.com. 11 a.m. Nov. 28; Parkside Pub, 11721 E. Main St., Huntley. $10; 847-669-8496.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: After a regional search for the best candidate, the winning tree is unveiled at the 99th annual holiday season kickoff. Festival music begins at 4:30 p.m.; the lighting takes place at 5 p.m.; explorechicago.org. 4:30 p.m. (music begins), 5 p.m. (lighting ceremony) Nov. 21; Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. Free; 312-744-3316.
Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade: Volunteer riders deliver toys to the Marine Corps Reserve for the 35th annual event. The parade runs from Western Avenue and 83rd Street north to Lane Tech High School (2501 W. Addison St.). Non-riders can participate by bringing toys to the beginning or end point of the event. Dec. 2; Dan Ryan Woods, 8300 S. Western Ave., Chicago. Free with donation of new toy (no stuffed animals); 773-866-8697.
Boxing Day: Learn how the Hemingway family celebrated this public holiday honored in Britain and other Commonwealth nations. Festivities include holiday music, refreshments and building tours; ehfop.org. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 26; Hemingway Birthplace Home, 339 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park. $20; 708-848-2222.
TBOX: 12 Bars of Xmas Pub Crawl: Three dozen bars in Wrigleyville participate in the 17th annual blowout. Expect a massive crowd of costumed revelers, drink specials and lots of free-flowing cereal (a TBOX snack staple). This year’s theme: TBOXOPOLY; festaparties.com. Dec. 8; The Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison St., Chicago. $37.50; 773-327-1662.
Victorian Christmas Tour: Explore the landmark home, decorated for the holidays, and learn about the Wright family Christmas celebrations during 30-minute tours led by specially trained guides. Hot chocolate and holiday music complement the festivities. Presented as part of Family Fun Days; gowright.org. Dec. 8, Dec. 15; Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park. Free. Adults must accompany kids under age 8; 312-994-4000.
Candlelight Tour: Explore the national historic landmark and the neighboring Clark House Museum (1827 S. Indiana Ave.) -- Chicago’s oldest house, built in 1836 -- during 90-minute, guided tours highlighting Christmas customs and decorations of the 19th century. At the centerpiece of the Glessner House display is a tree shipped from the family’s former summer estate in New Hampshire, adorned with glass and paper ornaments. Includes post-tour refreshments inside Wheeler Mansion (2020 S. Calumet Ave.); glessnerhouse.org. Dec. 8-Dec. 9; Glessner House Museum, 1800 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago. $11-$18. RSVP required; 312-326-1480.
Victorian Holiday Group Tour: The historic Martin Mitchell mansion is decked out in traditional holiday splendor. Several tour options are available; call for schedules; napersettlement.org; Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. $8-$20; 630-420-6010.
Candlelight House Walk: Visit several historic homes decorated for the holidays during this self-guided tour. Tickets include a buffet dinner and desserts; pullmanil.org. 3 p.m. Dec. 9; Historic Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Center, Chicago. $35-$40. RSVP required; 773-785-8901.
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