The best of what to do in and around Chicago this week
It’s Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s—which means it’s time to celebrate. Catch a double feature of retro Christmas movies (with caroling sandwiched in between) at the Music Box Theatre. Or laugh off the holiday stress at a stand-up show at the City Winery, where Joel Chasnoff will be performing on the 24th. Finally, ring in 2017 for free with either fireworks over Navy Pier or lots of live music and entertainment at the Hyatt.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
December 10 - 24 | Film
The 33rd Annual Music Box Christmas Double Feature & Sing-A-Long
Since 1983, Chicagoans have been heading to the Music Box Theatre to watch a double feature of old holiday movies and sing Christmas carols during intermission. Over the last 30 or so years, the event has blossomed into a nine-day extravaganza, complete with Santa and even an organist to accompany each evening’s sing-along portion. The movies shown are classics: White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Times vary, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago | From $13 | website
December 24 | Comedy
Christmas Eve for the Jews
Jewish comedian and Chicago native Joel Chasnoff will perform a 90-minute stand-up show on December 24, which this year marks both Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah. Chasnoff will be joking around alongside comedians John Roy and Aaron Freeman at the City Winery, which has an extensive menu of local and international bottles.
8:00 PM | 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago | From $20 | website
December 25 - 31 | Escape the city
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Visit the Mississippi River town of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, to go ice fishing, sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, or even hiking by torchlight (in La Riviere Park). It all happens during the annual Carp Fest, which kicks off on December 26th and continues through the 31st. The finale of Carp Fest is the “dropping of the carp” on New Year’s Eve, which is accompanied by music and a special pyrotechnics show. All proceeds from the event go to Dropping the Carp Fund and City Park and Recreation Youth Enrichment.
Times & locations vary | From $1 | website
December 31 - January 1 | New Year’s Eve
Chi-Town Rising is one of Chicago’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations, and if you’re looking for an affordable way to hear great music when the star ascends (a ball drop is so New York), this is the place to be. The day kicks off at 9 a.m. with a 5k run, followed in the afternoon by a family-centric New Year’s Eve countdown from 3 to 6 p.m. But the real party gets going at 8 p.m., when performers including L.A.-based indie band Saint Motel and baritone Jim Cornelison, along with DJ Sye Young, take the stage until 12:30 a.m.
8:00 PM - 12:30 AM | Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago | Free with RSVP | website
December 31 | New Year’s Eve
Fireworks at Navy Pier
Bundle up and get outside to celebrate the new year with some of the most spectacular fireworks you’ll ever see. Try to arrive early at Navy Pier—you might snag a great spot inside at the Aon Grand Ballroom and Crystal Gardens. If not, no need to worry: These fireworks can be seen from miles away. Pro tip: Opt instead for a dinner reservation at a nearby restaurant, such as the Signature Room and Lounge at the John Hancock Center, and get a window seat for the ultimate dinner and show.
11:59 PM | 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago | Free | website
Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.