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What’s On Tap in Chicago This Weekend: January 1-3, 2021

Bring in the new year by enjoying all that Chicago has to offer this weekend.

Chicago Events

Welcome to the fourth edition and of What’s On Tap in Chicago This Weekend. This article series aims to bring you the best of Chicago entertainment on a weekly basis. For further background on the inspiration behind this endeavor, check out the introduction at the link below.

All caught up? Good. Let’s dive right into the new year everything that’s going on in the Chicagoland area for the weekend of January 1-3, 2021.

Christmas Lights

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights by ComEd and Invesco

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
Photo: Todd Rosenberg Photography

The zoo is currently hosting its annual light festival. The pandemic has caused the event to be held at reduced capacity and entry is timed this year, but it is just as merry and bright as years past. The event is currently sold out.

  • Location: 2200 N. Cannon Dr. Chicago, IL 60614
  • Details

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum is putting on a drive-in light show full of lights, music, and other forms of Christmas fun. It lasts about 20 to 30 minutes in duration. Tickets are available for this weekend through the closing of the show on January 7th.

  • Location: 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532
  • Details

Santa’s Rock N Lights at the Lake County Fairgrounds

Santa's Rock N Lights
Photo: Matt Berklan/On Tap Sports Net

The Lake County Fairgrounds is hosting a drive-in light show that lasts about 20-30 minutes. The lights are all synced to music. A ticket reservation is required.

  • Location: 1060 E. Peterson Rd. Grayslake, IL
  • Details

Lightscape Botanic Gardens – SOLD OUT

  • Location: 1000 Lake Cook Rd. Glencoe, IL 60022
  • Details

Let It Shine Drive Thru

  • Location: 1515 Lake Cook Rd. Northbrook, IL
  • Details

Lights on 4100 Block of North Francisco Avenue

This part of the Horner Park neighborhood has archways and some of the city’s best house light displays. It’s a great spot for an Instagram backdrop!

  • Location: 4100 North Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL
North Francisco Ave Lights
Photo: Matt Berklan/On Tap Sports Net

Other Events

Free Food at The Wiener’s Circle

The famous hot dog stand “The Wiener’s Circle” is closing temporarily on January 2nd. However, the stand is giving out free food on January 1st, but just remember to bring cash so you can tip their infamously vulgar staff. Check more out on The Wiener’s Circle below.

  • Location: 2622 N. Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park

While the ice skating at the “Bean” is closed, the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley is open. It does require a non-transferable reservation. Skate rental is $16 and using your own skates is $5.

Ice Skating at Rosemont

Rosemont Ice Skating
Photo: Edward Marshall

Skating at the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at Parkway Bank Park is also happening this year. Admission to the rink is FREE, however, a credit card is required to hold a reservation. Guests who fail to appear for their skate time will be charged $8 per person. Skate rental is $8.

  • Location: 5501 Park Pl, Rosemont, IL 60018
  • Details

City of Chicago Christmas Tree

Home Alone House

Home Alone House
Photo: Karie Angell Luc/Pioneer Press

Want to see where Home Alone was filmed? Head out to Winnetka and take a look for yourself! You never know you, may see the Wet Bandits chasing Kevin in the window. The surrounding houses and church were all part of the movie and the downtown filming locations are just a few blocks away.

Pro Tip: Park on Pine Street just over the train tracks before you get to the house. It’s less than a block from the house and there’s free city street parking. More people than you would think travel to see this attraction. Additionally, there is no parking on Lincoln Ave. and Winnetka police patrol Lincoln Ave. because it gets so backed up. This tip will save you from the traffic jam.

  • Location: 671 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka, IL 60093

Jack Frost Winter Village

Jack’s takes up ten acres of Goose Island and is a winter walk and tree farm. It’s a great place to show how strong your Instagram game is. The last day is Saturday, January 2nd!

Walnut Room

Walnut Room Macy's Chicago
Photo: Jaclyn Rivas

Get a look at the Macy’s Christmas tree while you grab some take-out from the Walnut Room.


Music Box Drive-In

This drive-in screens It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas.



Sporting Events

Here are all the sporting events involving Chicago-affiliated teams taking place this weekend. There will be no fans in attendance at any games in the state, so please enjoy them from your couch. Additionally, if you are gambling, be sure to check back frequently for gambling articles and follow us on Twitter for even more #OnTapBets. The highlight is the College Football Playoff, a weekend slate of NBA games, and the last regular-season games for the NFL.

NCAA Football

Photo: Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

4 Notre Dame (10-1) vs. 1 Alabama (11-0)

  • Rose Bowl – Friday 1/1 at 3:00 PM on ESPN

After getting blown out in the ACC title game by Clemson, the Irish limped into the last spot of the College Football Playoff. A tall task now awaits for Notre Dame as they go head-to-head with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Check out the latest episode of Irish On Tap for a Rose Bowl preview.

14 Northwestern (6-2) vs. Auburn (6-4)

  • Citrus Bowl – Friday 1/1 at 12:00 PM on ABC

After a tough loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship, the Wildcats can still cap off a great year against a tough Auburn team in the Citrus Bowl.


Zach LaVine Bulls
Photo: NBC Sports

Bulls (1-3) at Bucks (2-2), vs. Mavericks (1-3)

  • at Bucks: Friday 1/1 at 7:00 PM on NBC Sports Chicago
  • vs. Mavericks: Sunday 1/3 at 7:00 PM on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls hit I-94 and head an hour and a half north to face their divisional rival, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Friday night. As the weekend winds down, the Bulls have a Sunday night date at the United Center with Luke Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Check out the Bulls On Tap podcast to get ready for the weekend of games and head to the Bulls tab here at On Tap Sports Net for further analysis throughout the NBA season.

NCAA Men’s Basketball

Ayo Dosunmu Illinois
Photo: IlliniMBB/Twitter

 15 Illinois (6-3) vs. Purdue (7-4)

  • Saturday 1/2 at 5:00 PM on Big Ten Network

Illinois last played on Saturday when they took care of business at home against Indiana. They’ll be back at the State Farm Center this upcoming Saturday as they look to extend their Big Ten win streak to three games against Purdue.

19 Northwestern (6-2) at 16 Michigan (7-0)

  • Sunday 1/3 at 8 PM on Big Ten Network

The Wildcats will look to rebound after a devastating loss to tenth-ranked Iowa on Tuesday. Undefeated Michigan will be another tough test, but the Wildcats have continued to prove doubters wrong with a surprising start to the season.

Notre Dame (3-4) at Pittsburgh (5-2)

  • Saturday 1/2 at 5:00 PM on ACC Network

DePaul (1-1) at St. John’s (6-4)

  • Saturday 1/2 at 11:00 AM Fox Sports 1

Loyola (6-2) – OFF

  • Next game: vs. Drake on Sunday 1/10

UIC (5-2) vs. Detroit Mercy (1-7)

  • Saturday 1/1 at 3:00 PM on ESPN3

NIU (1-6) vs. Bowling Green (5-2)

  • Saturday 1/2 at 5:00 PM on ESPN3

Bowling Green visits DeKalb as the Huskies try to reel in their second win of the year. For Huskies basketball and football coverage, follow Huskies On Tap on Twitter and tune in to the podcast.

Illinois State – OFF

  • Next game: at Evansville on Saturday 1/9

SIU (7-1) at Drake (11-0)

  • Saturday 1/3 at 2:00 pm on ESPN3

Bradley (6-3) – OFF

  • Next game: at Northern Iowa on Sunday 1/10 at 3:00 pm

Valparaiso (3-5) – OFF

  • Next game: vs. Missouri State on Saturday 1/9

Chicago State (0-7) – SEASON CANCELED


Bears Packers
Photo: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears (8-7) vs. Green Bay Packers (12-3)

  • Sunday 1/3 at 3:25 PM on FOX

It all comes down to Week 17 for the Chicago Bears. If they win Sunday’s game against the hated Green Bay Packers, they’re in the playoffs. Mitchell Trubisky will have a tall task in front of him as he tries to outduel Aaron Rodgers. In Week 16, the Bears steamrolled the lowly Jaguars. Will Chicago’s losing steak vs. the Packers continue to crush their playoff hopes? Hopefully not. Tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for storylines, analysis, and commentary surrounding the matchup.

Fantasy Football Playoffs (Championship Week 2)

Hopefully you’re still standing in your fantasy football league. Make sure you set those lineups properly by checking out Pat Boadway’s Week 17 starts and sits. For further fantasy football advice, check out the Fantasy Hour On Tap podcast.

That will wrap things up for the fourth edition of What’s On Tap in Chicago This Weekend. As you can see, there’s plenty to do in and around Chicago, so don’t let the ongoing pandemic get you down! Be sure to check back weekly for future events.

As always, drop a comment if there is something you think we should add to the list for this weekend or any upcoming ones!

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