Things to do in Chicago Dec. 15-21: The Mix

Salt Creek Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” the Randolph Street Holiday Market and the annual Tuba Christmas concert at the Palmer House are among the entertainment highlights in the week ahead.

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Salt Creek Ballet presents “The Nutcracker.”

Salt Creek Ballet presents “The Nutcracker.”

Keith Gerling

Holiday Fun

  • JCC Chicago presents 8 Nights of Hanukkah (Dec. 18-25), the annual celebration of the Jewish holiday which kicks off with a free event in Gallagher Way (3635 N. Clark) with the igniting of the first Hanukkah candle plus games, music, entertainers and more. Other events are scheduled in city and suburbs throughout Hanukkah. Streaming options are also available. For a complete list of events, go to
  • Dig out those hideous holiday sweaters for Timothy O’Toole’s Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. Starting at 5 p.m. Dec. 17 the party bus travels between the bar’s three suburban locations in Lake Villa, Gurnee and Libertyville. Holiday cocktails include the Irish Elf, Sugar Cookie Martini, Mistletoe Mule and more. Tickets: $15. For more information, visit
  • Leave the kids at home and enjoy Holidaze, an adult’s night out at the Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 N. Clark). The event (6:30-10 p.m. Dec. 15) includes music by DJ Marcus Carter and DJ All the Way Kay, live ice carving, unlimited access to the carousel, Ferris Wheel and Light Maze and more. Tickets: $15-$40. Visit

  • From noon-6 p.m. Dec. 18, Windy City Made Holiday Market brings more than 50 vendors, ranging from artists to vintage sellers, to the Logan Square neighborhood. The ballrooms of the Historic Stan Mansion (2408 N. Kedzie) provide a glamorous background for the event that supports Chicago small businesses. Admission: $5. Visit
  • Randolph Street Holiday Market features 125 vintage and antique dealers, fashion designers and makers. There’s also music from Chicago DJs plus festive food and cocktails and free gift wrapping. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 17-18 at Plumbers Hall, 1341 W. Randolph. Admission: $10, $15 at door. Visit


  • Music Theater Works presents “White Christmas,” a holiday favorite filled with the music of Irving Berlin and featuring a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. The story follows two World War II veterans (Tommy Thurston, Jimmy Hogan) who hatch a plan to save the Vermont Inn owned by their former commander (Brian Rooney). Romance and misunderstandings ensue. Sasha Gerritson directs. From Dec. 15-Jan. 1 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Tickets: $19+. Visit
  • “Junior Claus” is Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman’s family-friendly musical about the teenage son of Santa and Mrs. Claus who is reluctant to take over the family business. But when there’s a sudden drop in Christmas spirit, he’s forced to step up and save the day assisted by his elf best friend, a gregarious penguin and more colorful characters. Gregg Dennhardt directs. From Dec. 20-30 at Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan, Lake Forest. Tickets: $20. Visit

  • The Second City serves up seasonal satire in the holiday revue “Jingle Bell Ruckus.” Nothing is off limits as performers take aim at everything from holiday film classics to family gatherings and Christmas carols. From Dec. 19-31 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights. Tickets: $35. Visit


  • Salt Creek Ballet’s staging of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” features more than 50 dancers and guest artists including Daynelis Munoz (Cuban National Ballet) and Joseph Gatti (United Ballet Theatre). Tchaikovsky’s beloved score is performed by the New Philharmonic. From Dec. 17-18 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. Tickets: $36, $46. Visit
  • “The Magic of The Nutcracker” is Dancenter North’s lavish staging of the holiday classic. From Dec. 21-22 at Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan. Tickets: $18-$40. Visit

  • Black Girls Dance presents “Mary, A Holiday Dansical,” a modern twist on the traditional “Black Nativity” told through ballet, hip hop, tap and contemporary dance. It’s the story of a teenage girl searching for her purpose in life who turns to her mother and friends for support when she is chosen to give birth to the Savior. At 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th. Tickets: $40. Visit


  • Mariachi Herencia de Mexico: A Very Merry Christmas Concert features the Latin Grammy-nominated group performing Mexican and American holiday favorites, including “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and many more. It’s a colorful celebration of holiday traditions perfect for the whole family. At 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 2, 5, 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $35. Visit And 7 p.m. Dec. 18, Thalia Hall, 1227 W. 18th St. Visit
Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

Brad Elligood Photo

  • Shemekia Copeland celebrates the release of her new album, “Done Come Too Far.” The new songs continue the journey the blues-soul singer began on two previous albums inspired by her vision of America’s past, present and future as seen through the eyes of a young black woman. At 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. Tickets: $38-$55. Visit
The annual Tuba Christmas concert at the Palmer House Hotel. 

The annual Tuba Christmas concert at the Palmer House Hotel.

Courtesy The Palmer House

  • The Tuba Christmas performance returns to the Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe) at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 18. The event brings together tubists and other musicians from around the world for a fun holiday event in the hotel’s Grand and State Ballrooms. Retired Col. Michael Colburn (U.S. Marine Band) conducts. Admission is free. Visit
Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang.

Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang are hosting their annual Winter Solstice Concert.

Hans van der Linden Photo

  • Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang welcome the sun on the shortest day of the year with their 32nd annual Winter Solstice Concert, which features the duo on drums and percussion. Guest performers include Velvet Bell Ensemble, Drake’s Indigenous Mind Ensemble, Zahra Glenda Baker, Ben LaMar Gay, Mabel Kwan and more. At 6 a.m. Dec. 21-23 ($37) and 8 p.m. Dec. 21-22 ($20) at Links Hall (sunrise concerts) and Constellation (evening concerts). Both venues are at 3111 N. Western. Evening concerts are also streamed. Visit or
  • The family favorite “Merry, Merry Chicago” features the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performing traditional carols and holiday songs including the audience favorite, “Christmas in Chicago.” From Dec. 16-23 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $49+. Visit


The film “Sister Carrie” is a black-and-white tone poem about romantic love and conscience, by Daniel Nearing.

The film “Sister Carrie” is a black-and-white tone poem about romantic love and conscience, by Daniel Nearing.

Gene Siskel Film Center

  • The Gene Siskel Film Center presents a benefit screening of Daniel Nearing’s “Sister Carrie,” with a score performed by members of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra. The world-premiere film is a black-and-white tone poem about romantic love and conscience. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Nearing and actors Eve Rydberg, Fabrice Calmels, Cameron Knight and Paul Bhasin. Benefit at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 ($50) and additional screenings with orchestra at 4, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 ($12) and without live score at 2 p.m. Dec.18 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20 ($12) at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Visit

Museums & Galleries

Still from Static Range, 2020 Himali Singh Soin. Courtesy of the artist

Still from “Static Range,” 2020, Himali Singh Soin.

Courtesy of the artist

  • “Himali Singh Soin: Static Range” is an immersive installation that explores nuclear landscapes and the environmental impact their violence has on the land and the communities that live there. The exhibit features original and newly commissioned works by Soin, as well as historical works from the Art Institute’s collection. To May 15, 2023, at Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. Admission: $14-$35. Visit
  • For great holiday gift ideas in all price ranges, check out the work of more than 100 artists at the International Small Print Show. You can also sign up for a winter class including printmaking basics, traditional etching and bookbinding. To Dec. 21 at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative, 4912 N. Western. Admission is free. Visit

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