Chicago holiday events 2022: Christmas tree lighting, ice skating, Christkindlmarket and more

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Weekend events in Chicago kick off the holiday season across the city
If you weren't quite in the holiday spirit yet, you certainly are now as Chicago kicks off a series of winter events

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you weren't quite in the holiday spirit yet, you certainly are now!

Holiday events are kicking off across the city Friday.

The Millennium Park Christmas tree was lit evening, officially ushering in the holiday season in the city.

WATCH | 2022 Chicago Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Millennium Park

If you weren't quite in the holiday spirit yet, you certainly are now as Chicago kicks off a series of winter events

"It's magical, you know, just to be outside with everyone and get some warm drinks and shop the local markets, it's awesome," said Tiffany Lee.

Skaters also took to the ice bright and early Friday morning for the first skate of the season at Millennium Park.

"I purposely took off today for the tree lighting. And the ice-skating was just a bonus," said Tanner O'Bannon.

Some showcased their skills as they gracefully hit the rink.

RELATED: Chicago police outline safety plans for holidays from downtown to neighborhoods

"I'm so excited. I love Chicago, so love all the festivities, I'm there," O'Bannon added.

It's just one of the many Christmas traditions commencing this weekend in the Windy City.

The opening of Chicago's favorite Christkindlmarket also marks the start of the holiday season, with locations at Daley Plaza, Wrigleyville and -- new this year - in suburban Aurora.

The famed-German style market, features handmade artisan goods and food.

Mimi Herzog said her husband is from Germany, so they made it a family affair.

RELATED: Ice skate inside Wrigley Field when Winterland at Gallagher Way opens this weekend

"It was kind of cool because there's actually a stand over there with stuff from Germany and I'm like, 'Hey, it's from the Fatherland,'" Herzog said.

"The huts actually look very similar to what I'm used to from the Christmas markets from growing up," he husband added.

At Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, it was a feast for the senses as members got a sneak peek at this year's attractions before they open to the public Saturday.

"My kids are jumping up and down, like we're so excited to get here, and this is what makes Chicago so cool," said Mike Shelley.

The Loop also has a new holiday market featuring local, independent vendors at 35 South State Street.

"For me, it means just reaching out to a broader audience and a broader clientele," said Lea Afia Bempah of Rights of Wellness, LLC.

Also new this year is ice skating in the outfield.

Winterland at Gallagher Way is hosting a number of attractions inside Wrigley Field, like ice bumper cars, a winter tube slide and a train around the bases.

"On the field, we also have a lodge where you can get festive drinks to warm up. You can get s'mores kits and just hang out. We also have chalets, which are new. You can rent a chalet for up to 20 guests and you have your private little space with a fireplace," said Shana Raven, the Marquee Development assistant director of marketing.

You can't forget the Mag Mile Lights Festival Saturday, happening along Michigan Avenue.

The parade, featuring fabulous floats, marching bands and musical performances, begins at 5:30 p.m.

RELATED: CTA holiday train, bus return for 2022

Richard Wright, who is visiting Chicago for the first time. He's excited to get into the holiday spirit.

"I just returned from deployment. I was overseas in Kuwait and I just wanted to enjoy what American life is like again, so this is a city of never been to before and I was hoping to see something new," Wright said.

"Everybody feels the spirit of Christmas, and when you get to come to events like this. It just permeates even more," Herzog said.

The tree lighting ceremony will begin here at 6 p.m. Friday. In the meantime, people are gathering.