Around the town for November!

Parents, with the holiday season coming around the corner we need to find some fun activities to do with our children when they are out of school. Luckily there are some great places to go to that are only minutes away from Chicago. Are you ready to see what’s available? Let’s take a trip!

Santa HQ
We have visited the Santa HQ in the Fashion Outlets of Chicago a few years ago and it was a fun time to see if our children were naughty or nice and finish off the visit with a picture with the man himself, Santa Claus. This year it seems like there are some cool additions and the best part about it is that it’s free. 
Kicking off the holiday season on Friday, November 9 in partnership with HGTV, Santa HQ invites
families to experience the wonder of Santa’s workshop in the digital and social media age through a
truly innovative and interactive visit with Santa. Digital tools are utilized to elevate the shopper’s visit with Santa, offering an enhanced social media experience through augmented reality. New this year, visitors can use the workshop’s Magic Mirror to transform into one of Santa’s elves, virtually
changing their elf’s outfits, receiving customized Elf ID collector cards and more. Additionally, special live visits from Santa HQ’s elves, Strawberry and Jack, will take place every Saturday through Dec.8 from 1 to 4 p.m.
During their visit to Santa HQ, guests can take advantage of magical augmented reality using the
Elf-Ray Vision app or provided tablet, allowing them to experience Santa’s Workshop and Elf
Academy like never before. In addition, visitors can take an Elfie Selfie to star in their own holiday
video, see where they stand on the Naughty or Nice O’Meter and enjoy a stunning holiday light show
featuring over 10,000 individual bulbs dancing to “Carol of the Bells.”
Santa HQ will be open seven days a week through December 24. Operating hours are:
• Mondays through Thursdays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
• Fridays and Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
• Sundays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Special holiday hours include:
• Friday, November 23: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
• Saturday, November 24: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
• Sunday, November 25: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
• Sunday, December 16: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
• Monday, December 24: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Every Monday, from November 26 through December 17, Pet Nights will offer furry family members
the opportunity to join the fun and take part in family photos with Santa from 6 to 8 p.m. Fashion
Outlets of Chicago encourages shoppers participating in Pet Nights to park on P2 (second level) of
the parking garage and enter the center by Helzberg Diamonds and Converse to easily access 
Santa HQ. For every shopper who purchases a Santa HQ photo package during Pet Nights, Fashion
Outlets of Chicago will donate $10 to the Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control. 
Santa HQ activities are free with the option to purchase a variety of photo packages and guests can
make advance reservations at HGTV encourages visitors to Santa HQ to share the
festive occasion with friends and family on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #SantaHQ and
In the spirit of the holiday giving season, Fashion Outlets of Chicago is proud to again host its annual
holiday drive at Santa HQ benefitting Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Visitors who donate a new,
unwrapped toy valued at $5 or more between November 8 and December 19 will receive a
complimentary general admission ticket to Brookfield Zoo, a $21.95 value, valid through December
31. For the extra generous, up to four general admission zoo tickets can be distributed per shopper.

I am lucky that I pass the Merchandise Mart every day on my way to and from work. I am pretty excited about seeing these projections in the coming weeks. 
Art on theMART, the largest permanent digital art projection in the world. Commissioned by Vornado Realty Trust, Obscura Digital created six seasonal images that, as of November 17, will project across the 2.5 acre river-façade of theMART intermittently throughout the two-hour program. On view through the end of the year, the seasonal imagery transforms the inaugural program into a festive holiday destination.
“Art on theMART has quickly become a Chicago staple that brings residents and visitors from all walks of life to enjoy the Riverwalk in a new way, and it is fitting that the legendary installation is getting in the holiday spirit,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Emblematic of public art across the city, this addition to Chicago’s social fabric both welcomes in visitors from around the world to enjoy and builds a better quality of life in our neighborhoods and communities.”
The winter holiday images created to supplement Art on theMART’s inaugural program will run through Obscura Digital’s state-of-the-art filtering system to create dynamic and vibrant animations. The seasonally-themed projections will be on view as interstitial moments throughout the program, which runs through Monday, December 31, culminating in a special New Years Eve viewing.

The Art Deco Nutcracker

The Art Deco Nutcracker” (© 2017 Alexei Kremnev), which will be performed at Chicago’s Studebaker Theatre at 410 S. Michigan Ave, November 30-December 2, 2018.

Set in 1920s America, Kremnev’s “The Art Deco Nutcracker,” featuring Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, is a fresh, yet traditional take on the beloved holiday favorite. The Chicago Tribune has described it as “A glossy rendition filled with gorgeous, glitzy costumes” and The Cincinnati Enquire writes that Kremnev has “brought dance to a whole new level.”

“The Art Deco Nutcracker” is Kremnev’s eighth full-length ballet. His work has been presented at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Lincoln Center in New York, and the Opernhaus Zurich in Switzerland, among other prestigious venues across the globe. The Huffington Post describes his choreography as “encompassing the best and brilliance of what movement can be while breaking boundaries of what we know.” Tickets for Kremnev’s “The Art Deco Nutcracker” are available now at

This is just a small recap of events coming up in Chicago and we will have a follow-up of events avaialble for the entire family in December. 

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