Now that Chicago is in full holiday mode, what better way to get into the holiday spirit than to see a festive show or performance? You’ll find some of the best entertainment around between Broadway in Chicago, the opera, and holiday concerts. We’ve rounded up some joyous shows you’ve got to see while they’re in town. From Mariah Carey to the classic Nutcracker, here are the best Chicago Christmas shows.
1. Christmas With Elvis
Christmas With Elvis is a laugh-out-loud comedy that begins when a newly divorced woman discovers, on Christmas Eve, that her ex-husband is getting remarried. Before she can drown her misery in Chardonnay, the very dead and not too-debauched ghost of Elvis Presley appears in her apartment. And the lonely and baffled King of Rock and Roll doesn’t like this visitation any better than she does. This dramedy will have you laughing and crying.
🗓️ Dates: Nov 24—Jan 7
The Grammy Award-winning Queen of Christmas herself is part of the Chicago Christmas shows this holiday season. In celebration of the global superstar’s world-renowned holiday classics, the 13-date tour will make two stops in Canada in Montreal and Vancouver before heading down to the Midwest for a show at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday, December 3rd.
🗓️ Dates: Dec 3
3. Dave Koz Christmas Tour
Dave Koz and Friends announce the 26th-anniversary edition of the longest-running jazz-based Christmas tour. Beginning the next era of this rich musical tradition, Koz and Friends will perform fresh renditions of timeless Christmas classics, a Chanukah medley, and hits from their respective catalogs.
🗓️ Dates: Nov 17—Dec 9
4. The Nutcracker
The Joffrey Ballet’s critically acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to celebrate the magic of the holiday season. One of the most coveted Chicago Christmas shows, Wheeldon’s American Tale relocates Marie and her immigrant family to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince.
A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions.
🗓️ Dates: Dec 2—Dec 27
Get ready for a whole roster of holiday-themed and Chicago Christmas concerts brought to life by talented musicians as thousands of candles illuminate the room. They have decked the halls with bells and holly ready for you to enjoy an evening at venues like Stan Mansion, Salvage One, Wicker Park Lutheran Church and St Luke’s Episcopal Church.
- Dec 15:Candlelight: Holiday Special featuring “Silent Night, “Jingle Bells,” and More
- Dec 16: Candlelight: Holiday Pop Classics and Modern Favorites
- Dec 16: Candlelight: Holiday Carols on Strings
- Dec 23: Candlelight: Holiday Special Featuring “The Nutcracker” & More
6. Mrs. Claus! A Holiday Musical
Chicago Kids Company’s holiday classic celebrates the 24th year of Mrs. Claus! A Holiday Musical. This show is so popular that we decided to present it in two different theaters in December 2023. It’s almost Christmas, and Santa’s list is missing! Join Mrs. Claus and the Elf Class of 2023 as they try to find it in time to save Christmas. Who stole the list? How will they get it back? Will Mrs. Claus save the day? Chicago Kids Company’s biggest and most colorful show will put you in the Holiday Spirit in no time!
🗓️ Dates: Dec 1—Dec 23
7. Christmas With CS Lewis
The year is 196, and C.S. Lewis, the famous British author, is in the twilight years of his life. He is hosting a group of American writers at his home outside of Oxford. They have come to hear him speak about the significant events and the people that shaped his life.
As it is Christmas time, Lewis also reflects on how he views this festive season. As one would expect from a gifted speaker, the audience is treated to a display of oratory and humor that made Lewis one of England’s most famous public speakers.
🗓️ Dates: Dec 5—Dec 10
8. A Christmas Carol
Everyone will rejoice at the Christmas Carol! A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.
🗓️ Dates: Dec 18—Dec 31
9. Merry, Merry Chicago!
Symphony Center’s beloved tradition continues with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing familiar carols and festive holiday songs, including I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and Sleigh Ride. They are joined by the sensational Ashley Brown, who originated the title role of Mary Poppins on Broadway. Thomas Wilkins conducts this celebration guaranteed to inspire holiday cheer in listeners of all ages.
🗓️ Dates: Dec 15—Dec 23
10. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Musical
Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage. Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch discovers more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday-loving Whos.
🗓️ Dates: Dec 19—Dec 31