WhereTraveler Chicago

So Merry & Bright

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In Chicago there’s more than 12 days of Christmas with plenty of festive theater, dazzling lights, joyful caroling and visits with Santa all month long. Whether you’re with family or treating yourself to a vacation before all the big gatherings, here are the ways to really celebrate the season.

Make your first stop at one of the Christmas tree or light displays in town. The Museum of Science & Industry hosts its annual Christmas Around The World & Holidays Of Lights extravagan­za in the main rotunda featuring 50 pine trees decorated with colors and traditions of different countries around the world. Through January 5. www. msichicago.org There’s also the official city tree at

Millennium Park; here too you can join in Caroling at Cloud Gate at 6 pm on Friday nights, December 6, 13 and 20. www.chicago.gov

If you’re looking for dazzling light displays, head to Lincoln Park Zoo where more than 2.5 million bulbs and animated features illuminate the park in a colorful winter wonderland. Special events include BrewLights (Dec. 12) with craft beer vendors. Through January 5. www.lpzoo.org New this year, Chicago Botanic

Garden presents Lightscape, a mile-long pathway brought to life with illuminati­on, sound and scent like the frankincen­se-filled garden and a choir of singing trees. Through January 5. www.chicagobot­anic.org

Christmas in Chicago wouldn’t be

complete without a great theatric show and there’s plenty to choose from this month including perennial favorites like Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre ( www.goodmanthe­atre. org) and the dazzling delight of The Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” ( www. joffrey.org) set at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Both run through Dec. 29. Cirque Du Soleil also presents “‘Twas The Night Before” acrobatic spectacle at the Chicago Theatre, through Dec. 8 ( www.ticketmast­er. com). And for jolly laughs check out David Sedaris’ wickedly funny “Santaland Diaries,” also at the Goodman Theatre through Dec. 29. For a chance to see Santa Claus, head to the 900 N. Michigan Ave

nue Shops where good old St. Nick will set up every day through Dec. 24 to see visitors and take part in special photo ops (with the help of a virtual queue). www.shop900.com

One of our favorite holiday traditions is the Christkind­lmarket, modeled after German Christmas markets in Munich with authentic food, spiced wine and holiday gift vendors; find it at Daley Plaza and in Wrigleyvil­le. www.christkind­lmarket.com

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