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What's On Tap in Chicago This Weekend: December 18-20, 2020

Looking for something to do in Chicago this weekend? We have you covered.
Chicago Events

Welcome to the second edition 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 everything that’s going on in the Chicagoland area for the weekend of December 18-20, 2020.

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

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. While the event is currently sold out, their website says they release extra tickets weekly on Mondays.

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

Other Light Shows That Are NOT Sold Out

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 are 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

Six Flags Lights

  • Location: 1 Great America Park Way, Gurnee, IL
  • Details

Brookfield Zoo

  • Location: 8400 W. 31st, Brookfield, IL
  • Details

Aurora Festival of Lights

  • Location: 1000 Ray Moses Dr. Aurora, IL
  • Details

Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights

Cosley Zoo Lights

Photo: Cosley Zoo

  • Location: 1356 N. Gary Ave. Wheaton, IL
  • Details

Lightscape Botanic Gardens

  • 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 is 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

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

CTA Holiday Train and Bus

Make sure you catch a glimpse of the CTA Holiday Train and Bus this weekend. Riders won’t be allowed, but these both are hard to miss with how much they light up the city.

  • Various locations in Chicago

The Train:

  • Blue Line: December 18th and 19th

The Bus:

  • #79 79th: December 18th
  • #3 King Drive: December 19th

Follow the CTA app to get exact times and locations during the day. Click here for details.

Museum of Science and Industry: Christmas Around the World (Online)

Christmas Around the World Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Photo: J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry

Typically this is a must-see Christmas event in the city, but MSI has turned it into an online event due to current COVID-19 restrictions. The next tour is scheduled for Friday, December 18 at 3:30 PM.

City of Chicago Christmas Tree

Santa’s Garage and Drive-in

The Waldron Deck and the South Lot at Soldier Field have been converted into a drive full of lights, displays, and Santa and his helpers. The drive will lead you to a screening of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Jack Frost Winter Village

Jack’s takes up ten acres of Goose Island and is a winter walk and tree farm. It is a great place to show how strong your Instagram game is.

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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.

Holly Jolly Drive-In

This is another drive-in movie experience during the holiday season. It is presented by by Replay.

A Christmas Carol (Online)

A Christmas Carol


The Goodman Theatre is usually packed nightly this time of year, but COVID-19 has hindered that in 2020. To make sure the story is still told, the Goodman Theatre has a free audio streaming version on their website.

Miracle on West Madison

This is another drive-in presented by Replay.



Sporting Events

Here are all the sporting events going on with Chicago-affiliated teams 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 Conference Championship week for college football!

NCAA Football

Notre Dame Clemson

Photo: Matt Cashore/AP

2 Notre Dame (10-0) vs. 3 Clemson (9-1)

  • Saturday 12/19at 3:00 PM on ABC

This game will be must-watch TV this weekend. With the ACC title and College Football Playoff implications on the line, these teams are going to leave it all on the field. There will be some bad blood, especially after their previous meeting earlier this season when Notre Dame won a 47-40 overtime thriller. Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be healthy for this go around. Check out the latest episode of Irish On Tap for a preview of the matchup.!b2463

14 Northwestern (6-1) vs. 4 Ohio State (5-0)

  • Saturday 12/19 at 11:00 AM on FOX

The two best schools in the Big Ten face off in the Conference Championship. Will Ohio State earn the final spot in the playoff or will Northwestern cap off an incredible season with an upset of the Buckeyes?

Illinois (2-5) at Penn State (3-5)

Saturday 12/19 at 4:30 PM, TV on FS1

The Big Ten cross-divisional Week 9 matchups are sparse due to numerous COVID-19 cancellations. Illinois and Penn State are still set to do battle in Happy Valley this weekend, however. The Illini fired head coach Lovie Smith after last week's loss to Northwestern, so offensive coordinator Rod Smith will be calling the shots.


Daniel Gafford Bulls

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Bulls at Thunder

  • Friday 12/18 at 7:00 PM on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls close their preseason schedule in Oklahoma City this weekend with a game against the Thunder. This will be the last chance for final tweaks before the 2020-21 campaign starts. Check out the latest preseason coverage on episodes of the Bulls On Tap podcast to get ready for the season.

Head to the Bulls tab here at On Tap Sports Net for further analysis ahead of the NBA season.

NCAA Men’s Basketball

Ayo Dosunmu Illinois

Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

 13 Illinois (5-2) at 19 Rutgers (5-0)

  • Sunday 12/20 at 12:00 PM, TV on ESPN 2

The Fighting Illini picked up their first Big Ten win on Tuesday night with a beatdown of Minnesota in Champaign. This weekend, they travel to New Jersey to battle an undefeated Rutgers team that's coming off a 14-point win over Maryland earlier this week.

Northwestern (3-1) vs. 4 Michigan State (6-0)

  • Sunday 12/20 at 6:00 PM on Big Ten Network

Notre Dame (2-3) vs. Purdue (5-2)

  • Saturday 12/19 at 1:30 PM on ESPN 2

Loyola (3-1) vs. Richmond (5-1)

  • Friday 12/18 at 5:00 PM on ESPN+

UIC (3-2)

  • vs. Oakland (0-7) Saturday 12/20 at 6:00 PM on ESPN+
  • vs. Oakland (0-7) Sunday 12/20 at 4:00 PM on ESPN+

Chicago State (0-7) at NIU (0-5)

  • Friday 12/18 at 6:00 pm on ESPN 3

DePaul (0-0) vs. Xavier (7-0) - POSTPONED

  • Friday 12/18 - POSTPONED
  • Next game: 12/23 vs. UConn


Mitch Trubisky Bears

Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Chicago Bears (6-7) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6-7)

  • Sunday 12/20 at 12:00 PM on FOX

Will Mitchell Trubisky outshine last week's incredible performance? Are the Bears able to stay in the playoff hunt? The Vikings will put the Bears to the test Sunday to see which NFC North team will keep their postseason hopes alive. Tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for storylines, analysis, and commentary surrounding the matchup.

Fantasy Football Playoffs

For most people, this is the second week of fantasy football playoffs. Make sure you set those lineups properly by checking out Pat Boadway’s Week 15 starts and sits. For further fantasy football advice, check out the Fantasy Hour On Tap podcast.

That will wrap things up for the second 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!