Chicago in December: Things to Do

Updated February 14, 2019

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December is National Eggnog Month, cheers!

The first Saturday in December is National Rhubarb Vodka Day, here's a recipe to brew up some rhubarb vodka at home.

Dec 5: Repeal Day (End of Prohibition), Bartender Appreciation Day
December 5: National Sacher Torte Day
December 6: National Gazpacho Day
National Lager Day – December 10
National Cocoa Day – December 12
13 National Screwdriver Day
December 13: Ice Cream and Violins Day
December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
December 19: National Hard Candy Day (peppermint?)
December 20 National Sangria Day
December 24 National Egg Nog Day
December 25 Christmas
December 26: National Candy Cane Day, Boxing Day
December 30: National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day
December 31 National Champagne Day, New Year’s Eve

December in Chicago is typically cold, which means most events and activities take place indoors. December is also the holiday season, so pop-up markets and holiday shopping are happening all around town. Jingle and sway (or dance your way) to music from Reckless Records as you shop from over 250 local, independent artisans, vintage shops, and holiday decor pop ups. Local coffee purveyors will have your caffeine needs covered, in addition to specialty teas. The Renegade Craft Fair is one of many holiday markets, which takes place at the Bridgeport Art Center as well as other locations.

Old Town Tree Lighting and Holiday Drive

Tuesday, December 1st 5pm

Join locals in Old Town to welcome the holiday season and watch the fifth annual tree lighting ceremony. Sip hot chocolate, sing along with carolers and stop by local businesses such as Spice House to find great gifts and perhaps some tea and mixology inspiration. See more information on the event page.

Late Night Andersonville

Friday, December 4th 6-10pm

Over 40 beloved Andersonville stores and restaurants will be open late and offering great savings on distinctive holiday gifts and delectable meals, plus free refreshments and entertainment. Craft handmade goods at Vignette Vignette and enjoy holiday cocktails & live music while browsing home goods at Brimfield. See the event website for full details on live entertainment, vendors, and deals. CANTINA 1910  has created a list of holiday-themed cocktails and desserts and will be trimming 15% off all bills.

Tasting Table Open Market

Saturday, December 5th 11am - 6pm

One part pop up shop and one part foodie fair, the Tasting Table Open Market at Revel Fulton Market is a one stop shop for enjoying a holiday happy hour while shopping and attending workshops. See more on the event page.

Lycée French Market

Friday, December 4th, 7 - 10pm

Saturday, December 5th, 10am - 5pm

Sunday, December 6th, 11am - 4pm

Lycée Français de Chicago hosts this annual Parisian Marché. Enjoy a macaron and a glass of wine while perusing decorative arts, fine wares, wood works, home décor, jewelry, apparel, accessories and more. This family friendly event is a great place to sample  French food and beverages, watch chef demonstrations and live entertainment. The market begins Friday with a private preview dinner. See event site for full details and ticket information.

Free Gift with Every Gift Membership!


Saturday, December 5th & Sunday, December 6th All Day

The Swedish American Museum hosts this annual handicrafts fair with traditional Swedish food, drink, and entertainment. Andersonville Antiques will be serving hot cider and cookies all weekend, and fair goers receive a free mimosa with purchase of Grande or Mediano brunch dish at Cantina 1910. Take a photo with Santa, enjoy live Swedish musical and dance talent, and after you’ve finished shopping, head over to the Afternoon with Santa event at Replay, Beer, Bourbon, & Dining (Saturday 3 - 7pm). On the naughty list? Opt for a build your own Hot Toddy Workshop at Elixir Andersonville instead. Crafting, shopping, and merriment continue all day Sunday, with Santa returning to Replay, and an opportunity to learn how to make the customary winter drink Glogg at Elixir. See full information on vendors, deals, and ticketing on the event website.

Art of Tea Organic Blooming Teas

Holiday Craft Bazaar to Benefit Chicagoland Rescue

Sunday, December 6th 10am-3pm

Visit the Chicago Party Animals Loft Venue and shop gifts, snack on baked goods, and quench your thirst with the bloody mary bar, craft beer, holiday cocktails and more at a shopping event that not only keeps you entertained and satiated, it supports local animal shelters. See more details on the event page.

Central Street Holiday Open House (Evanston)

Sunday, December 6 12pm - 4pm

Central Street's annual Holiday Open House is a neighborhood festival filled with carolers, shopping, refreshments such as hot spiced cider from The Spice House, and a visit from Saint Nick. For more information, please visit the Central Street website.

Rebuilding Exchange ‘Winter Lumberland’ Holiday Market

Friday, December 11th 7pm - 9:30pm

Sip on beverages from New Belgium Brewing and Stivers Coffee while browsing a collection from local artists and vendors who use repurposed materials and sustainable supplies. Participate in a 'Scraptacular' ornament workshop, pick out a premade RX product from the store, or just enjoy food, drinks and merriment. Visit the Rebuilding Exchange for more information about this event and upcoming classes. - Nothing but the breed.

Randolph Street (Indoor) Market

Saturday, December 12th & Sunday, December 13th 10am - 5pm

Join over 125 vendors at the popular Randolph Street Market, which offers free parking and gift wrapping. Browse vintage and designer goods, hand crafted trinkets and fancy foods, while enjoying the drink of your choice. Randolph Market has partnered with local favorite CH Distillery to offer holiday cocktails at the Market Bar - try their signature Kringletini (featuring Bowtruss Coffee) or a Cranberry Mimosa. Seasonal beers include Leinenkugel Cranberry Ginger Shandy, Snowdrift Vanilla Porter, and Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata. Non-alcoholic liquid refreshments are also available. See the event page for ticket information, full vendor list, and special packages including those with drink specials!

Dose Market Holidose

Sunday, December 13th 10am - 5pm

Join over 100 makers, bakers, chefs, artists, artisans, entrepreneurs and designers at Morgan Manufacturing Co. for the HoliDose Market. Explore how mixology meets fashion with Femme du Coupe, learn about cold pressed juice with Owen and Alchemy, and dream of bittersweet cocktails with BittercubeDark Matter Coffee and Spirit Tea will be there to caffeinate (or herbally satiate) you. See the full lineup and ticket information on the event site. #GetDosed

Lula Cafe Holiday Bazar

Tuesday, December 15th 6pm - 10pm

Lula Cafe will be hosting a group of pop up shops including Metric Coffee. Nosh on hor d'oeuvres and Lula's special wetherbee gin punch. See details here

Later Night Andersonville

Saturday, December 18th  6 - 10pm

Later Night Andersonville is a second coming of the December 4th version for enthusiasts, procrastinators, and those suffering from FOMO. Vendors are similar to round one, though the Santa After party will be replaced by a photo shoot with Santa’s Sexy Reindeer at Room Service. Crafthouse Cocktails will be hosting cocktail tastings, and purchases can be wrapped in a eco-friendly way at the green gift wrapping bash at George’s Ice Cream & Sweets (7:30-10pm). See the event page for a full list of events and vendors.

Chicago French Market Marche de Noel

8am - 6:30 Daily through December 21st

Holiday season is great time to visit Chicago’s French Market for more than the delicious food and drink you’re used to year-round. The seasonal Marche de Noel includes several rotating stalls of home goods, handmade gifts, and holiday decor. See more event details here. Supplement your shopping with wine and cheese from  Pastoral, a seasonal fruit smoothie from Chicago Raw, or hand cut Belgian fries and beer from Frietkoten.

Christkindlmarket Chicago

November 20th - December 24th 11am - 8pm (Sun - Thu), 11am - 9pm (Fri - Sat)

Christkindlmarket is a free, open-air holiday market inspired by traditional German markets. Daley Plaza welcomes a variety of local and visiting German-themed vendors to provide shopping, entertainment, and German fare. If visiting early in your day we recommend trying a piece of stollen cake and coffee at Dinkel's Bakery. Other beverages to complement your spirit include teas from TeaGschwendner, Bitburger and other German beers, Glühwein (hot spiced wine), and hot cider - don’t forget to nosh on a bretzel from Pretzel Haus to keep warm too. See the full list of vendors on the event page.

RH Chicago

Open Daily 10am  - 7pm (Mon - Sat), 11am - 6pm (Sun)

Amid Restoration Hardware’s ginormous 6 story shopping edifice lies the RH Chicago Three Arts Club Cafe. This coffee shop, restaurant and cocktail/wine bar brought you by Brendan Sodikoff leaves us wondering why you even need to leave the first floor atrium to go’s all online anyway right? See the full menu here.

Nordstrom Michigan Avenue

Open Daily, See website for holiday store hours

Nordstrom’s cafe and ebar have been long time staples in providing quality food and drink to supplement the shopping experience. However, the Mag Mile location has a new inHabitant. Following a remodel earlier this year, the center of the second floor is now a cocktail lounge and wine bar - meet Habitant, another place to tie one on in the men's section. Fuel up before making that critical cologne decision. Find contact information and more details on the Nordstrom Michigan Avenue Site.

Block 37

Open Daily, See website for holiday store hours

Block 37, an urban mall and home to pop up shops and recently opened Latinicity, is a great place to shop for a variety of gifts. While there, be sure to treat yourself to cortaditos, hot chocolate, or a passion fruit pisco sour at Latinicity.

Get Men and amazing gift this time - scotch and cigars delivered to their door!

Seasonal Fare and Events at Eataly

Open Daily, Event dates and times vary

Eataly is a terrific place to sample wine, relax with a beer, sip a coffee, or grab a bottle of pressed juice from Owen and Alchemy while shopping for Italian delicacies and imports year round. This holiday season you can also check out classes and events such as seasonal beer pairing with Revolution Brewing, an introduction to Sicilian wines, or a tutorial on New Year’s Eve party pairings. See a full list of classes and seasonal offerings on Eataly's Chicago site.