Inside Scoop: Ice skating and Sparkle Light Festival in Rosemont, Blue Man Group holiday shows, Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Illumination at the Morton Arboretum and deals around town
Sparkle Light Festival in Rosemont
The Sparkle Light Festival is back at Rosemont’s Impact Field, and this year it features a brand new, completely redesigned layout and the addition of an ice skating rink. Visitors will enjoy breathtaking displays of millions of holiday lights alongside a variety of activities like five illuminated villages, a visit with Santa Claus, ice skating with friends, train rides on the “Holly Trolly” train and tubing down the Alpine Slide. Festive food and beverage options are also available for purchase.
Sparkle Light Festival runs through Sunday, Dec. 31. A full schedule and tickets ($24 for adults and $18 for children aged 2-12) are available at SparkleRosemont.com, and premium ticket packages and add-on experiences are also available that include unlimited tube rides, the climate-controlled Rivers Stadium Club, etc.
Parking is available at Impact Field’s onsite parking garage for $5 per vehicle. SparkleRosemont.com
Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park
Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park entertainment district has again been transformed this winter with the opening of the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink, which is surrounded by a spectacular display of more than 80,000 holiday lights. Admission to the rink is free, and guests are invited to bring their own skates or rent skates on site for $8. The rink will be open through Jan. 28, 2024. A detailed schedule of ice skating hours is available at Rosemont.com/thepark
Blue Man Group NYE and holiday shows
Blue Man Group is kicking off the holiday season with an expanded performance schedule at the Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted in Chicago). Bringing louder drummer boys and not so silent nights, the robust schedule will provide additional opportunities for audiences to add some high-energy entertainment to their holiday schedules.
Blue Man Group Chicago’s holiday performance schedule includes four festive New Year’s Eve performances on Sunday, December 31 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Families with young children can take advantage of Blue Man Group’s early performances at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. These shows feature early “midnight” countdowns after the show complete with party hats, noisemakers and a special performance of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men. Other festivities include pre-show face painting, where children will be transformed into members of Blue Man Group’s band
Blue Man Group will continue ringing in the New Year with additional performances at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Guests of the 7 p.m. show can enjoy a celebratory champagne toast, festive party hats and a post-show meet and greet with the Blue Men. Audiences of the 10 p.m. performance will experience a spectacular New Year’s Eve countdown party complete with noisemakers, a midnight champagne toast, balloon drop and performance of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men.
Blue Man Group Chicago tickets start at $49. A full holiday schedule and tickets are available at BlueMan.com/Chicago
Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden
Lightscape, the unique holiday event that has sold out in all four seasons of its existence, returns to the Chicago Botanic Garden through Jan. 7. The enchanting, after-dark, illuminated trail created exclusively for the Botanic Garden includes everything from radiant first-time installations to beloved classics like the Winter Cathedral. Bring the family, enjoy festive food and drink, and immerse yourself in a mesmerizing world of music, color, and light.
Insider’s tip: Head up to the Botanic Garden early if you can, during daylight, to experience the tranquility of the 385 acres of nature, as well as the indoor garden displays and flower and plant exhibits. The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe. Tickets are on sale now at chicagobotanic.org/lightscape
Illumination at the Morton Arboretum
This is the 11th anniversary of the award-winning, one-mile walking tour that covers many of the 50 acres of the Arboretum’s renowned tree collection, which is brought to life with more than one million lights set to music to create a captivating, colorful, interactive experience.
Our favorite exhibit was a large grove of trees that is seemingly alive, growing and changing (even breathing) with different colors right before your eyes. Try to resist taking a video with your camera. We dare you.
If you get chilled during your walk, you can duck into heated concession tents or warm up by one of the crackling fires and make s’mores.
Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum runs through Jan. 6, and ticket prices are cheaper if you book online in advance.
4100 Illinois Route 53 in suburban Lisle. 630-968-0074. MortonArb.org
Goldfish Swim School holiday packages
This holiday season, give the kids in your life the gift of swimming at Goldfish Swim School. They’ll be unwrapping more than just the usual present. They’ll be unwrapping life lessons mixed with smiles, progress and confidence. They’ll be unwrapping memories and fun too, all in a safe and clean environment. Most importantly, they’ll be unwrapping the gift of water safety — the gift that can save their lives.
Save more than $100 on two-month packages that include eight consecutive weekly lessons, two-month family swim sessions, waived membership fees, $10 snack shack punch card, Goldfish Swim School towel, and either goggles or a swim diaper. Goldfish Swim School is located at 678 N Northwest Highway in Park Ridge. (248) 585-3891. GoldfishSwimSchool.com/park-ridge
Deals around town
For every $100 you spend on gift cards in December at the stellar Zia’s Social in Norwood Park, you’ll get a free $25 gift card to give away (or keep for yourself). And as another bonus, all of the Underpass Restaurant Group gift cards are available to use at all their locations (including Cafe Touché in Edison Park and the Beacon Tap in Des Plaines) and do not expire. 6158 N. Northwest Highway in Norwood Park. ZiasSocial.com
Wednesdays mean $4 off signature cocktails and half off all wine bottles at Zaza Cucina in Uptown Park Ridge. This stylish and inviting Italian restaurant has some of the best daily specials you’ll find in the area. One more to improve your weekend: $8 housemade sangria and $3 domestic and $4 import beers every Sunday. 608 W. Touhy Ave. ZazaCucina.com
Readers of The Real Park Ridge can get $80 off a Jueveau by Evolus TOX wrinkle treatment at MD Ventures Medical Spa. Call or text to 224-723-3002 to schedule an appointment. 222 S. Prospect Avenue, Studio 1, in Park Ridge. MDventures.us/