There’s nothing like the holiday season in Chicagoland. From River Forest and Oak Park to the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs, there’s plenty to put you in the Christmas spirit just a short jaunt from campus. Check out these festive traditions that have been beloved by Concordia-Chicago students past and present.

  1. Christkindlmarket. This authentic German Christmas market sets up shop every year in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. Browse the stalls selling handmade wooden ornaments and cuckoo clocks, breathe in the aroma of roasted nuts and mulling spices in the chilly winter air, grab a bite to eat, and take home a commemorative mug. The market is open through Dec. 24 at 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL.
  2. University Band Christmas Concert. This one’s easy—you don’t even have to leave campus! During this free and festive concert, the band will perform a series of holiday favorites, and the audience can join in at the end with a Christmas sing-along. Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.
  3. Classic Christmas movies at the Lake Theatre. Settling in with some popcorn to watch an old favorite movie is a cozy way to spend an afternoon or evening. Downtown Oak Park’s Lake Theatre will be showing “White Christmas” on Dec. 8 and “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Dec. 15. Check the theater’s website for times and tickets.
  4. Do-It-Yourself Messiah. Celebrate the reason for the season on Dec. 19 at this immersive event where the audience is the chorus—along with professional musicians and a world-class conductor—for a vibrant performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” Free, but tickets must be reserved at
  5. Macy’s on State Street. The tradition of Christmas window displays at Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) goes back more than a century. Bundle up and take a stroll around the block for the most fun kind of window shopping. If you get too cold, step inside and take the escalator to the seventh floor to check out the giant sparkling Christmas tree in the Walnut Room restaurant. 111 N. State St., Chicago, IL.
  6. Ice Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park. This relatively new tradition in Chicago takes ice skaters on a winding path twice the length of a regular skating rink, with the beautiful city skyline as the backdrop. Prices vary based on day of the week, and whether you rent or bring your own skates. Visit the park’s website to make a reservation. Don’t worry if you don’t get to it by Christmas, as this attraction is open all winter long.