The Holiday Season Kicks Off this Weekend with the Chicago Tree Lighting Ceremony, Chriskindlmarket opening, Magnificent Mile Lights Festival – chicago.gov

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The Holiday season kicks-off in Chicago on Friday and continues through the weekend with the annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting, Christkindlmarket opening, Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and more. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is reminding everyone to be safe and vigilant especially in crowds and report suspicious activity to 9-1-1. OEMC will monitor all citywide activities, traffic, and weather conditions throughout the holiday season and coordinate public safety resources with the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and City of Chicago infrastructure departments.
Traffic Control Aides (TCAs) will be on hand at events citywide to direct flow and impacts from heavy traffic. Public transportation is encouraged. For more information on CTA services and reroutes, visit TransitChicago.com or call 312-836-7000 from any area code/1-888-YOUR-I CTA.
Report Suspicious Activity: If you See Something Say Something. The city reminds the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity. If you notice something suspicious, notify onsite security or call 9-1-1. If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
Chicago Police Department Safety Tips for Holiday Activities and Shopping
• Keep your purse close to your body, preferably in front of you or under a jacket or coat.
• Be aware of where your purse is when you go to restaurants or hotel lounges. Thieves prey on purses hung over the back of a chair or left on the floor.
• If you carry a wallet, keep it in your front pants pocket or coat breast pocket.
• Always be alert and walk confidently. Be mindful of those who pass you on a crowded bus or train or bump into you on a sidewalk. These individuals may be pickpockets.
• Do not leave packages or other valuables on the car seat where they can be seen. Lock them in the trunk.
• Do not carry valuables in backpacks, which can easily be accessed in a crowded elevator, on an escalator or in a checkout line.
• Keep an eye on credit cards and the paper trail they generate to avoid becoming the victim of identity theft. To reduce the risk, people should destroy extra copies of credit card receipts. It’s also best not to carry personal information in a wallet or purse. This includes a social security number, an old credit card, ATM receipts or seldom used credit cards.
• Keep pertinent information, including credit card account numbers, banking information and social security numbers, in a secured but accessible place at home. That way, in the event that a credit card is lost or stolen, the information will be handy for reporting to authorities.
• Use caution when making online purchases, especially when the vendor is an individual rather than a known retailer.
CDPH – Holiday Season Health Guidelines
• Stay up to date with COVID and flu vaccination. Everyone age 6 months and up should receive a flu shot to protect against flu viruses.COVID-19 vaccination should include all primary series doses and boosters for your age group.For those 5-years and up, if you haven’t had a new updated COVID vaccine (bivalent booster) since Labor Day, you are not be up to date.
• Stay home if you are sick, even if you are vaccinated for COVID and flu. Do not attend parties or events and test yourself for COVID-19. Even if your test is negative, stay home until you are feeling better.
• Speak with your doctor if you are sick. If either flu or COVID is diagnosed, treatments are available.
• Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test for a respiratory virus, or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
• Consider masking on public transportation, in indoor public settings where vaccine status is not known, and when visiting high risk family members.
• Test yourself for COVID-19 five days after an exposure.
• Host gatherings outdoors when possible, or open windows to improve ventilation.
• Remember to wash your hands.
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is preparing to welcome large numbers of travelers at both O’Hare and Midway International Airports throughout the holiday week, and there is no greater priority than providing a safe, secure and reassuring environment for airport travelers and employees. For everyone planning to travel through the airports, please keep in mind the following travel tips:
• Wear your mask–Wearing a mask can protect you and your family from COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. Federal guidance recommends that all travelers ages 2 and up wear a well-fitting mask or respirator while at indoor transportation facilities or while on public transportation. Some locations in Illinois, like healthcare facilities and private businesses, may require masks.
• Arrive early–With added security measures and resurgent travel demand, you may encounter longer lines at airline check-in, TSA screening and concessions.
• Prevent traffic congestion–Avoid the busy curb drop-off and consider arriving at O’Hare on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line or getting dropped off at the Kiss ‘n’ Fly area at the Multi-Modal Facility, now served by the Airport Transit System (ATS) to all terminals. Midway is accessible via the CTA Orange Line or the Kiss ‘n’ Fly area at 59th St and Kilpatrick Ave. For those picking up travelers, avoid circling and utilize the cell phone lots available at each airport (560 N. Bessie Coleman at O’Hare and 61st St/Cicero Ave) to wait for your arrivals to call you.
• Visit www.flychicago.com– The website contains real-time information about flights, parking updates, taxicab wait times, available concession businesses and other special alerts for the traveling public.
109th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Friday, November 18, Millennium Park
Chicago’s “official” Christmas tree will be lit at 6:30 p.m. during a ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. in Millennium Park. The tree stands near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. and will remain through January 8. The Christmas Tree lighting ceremony has been expanded to provide more space and opportunities for guests to participate, including multiple viewing locations with screens and concessions across the Millennium Park and a main stage on Grainger Plaza by Cloud Gate (“The Bean”). There will be performances in Millennium Park from 5 – 7 p.m. The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at will be followed by fireworks and additional performances. There is the possibility for intermittent street closures on Michigan Ave (Randolph to Monroe), Washington Street (Wabash to Michigan) and Garland Ct. (Randolph to Madison). For additional details, visit MillenniumPark.org/WinterProgramming.
30th Annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Friday November 18-Saturday November 19
This weekend’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins with a preview on Friday, November 19 featuring a tree-lighting ceremony in The Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza (410 N Michigan Avenue) at 4 p.m., along with musical entertainment. The festival continues Saturday, November 20, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., at Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court – 401 N. Michigan Avenue) with a variety of family-friendly activities. The parade will step off at 5:30 p.m. at N. Michigan Avenue and Oak Street and head south on N. Michigan to Wacker Drive. For complete details, visit TheMagnificentMile.com/lights-festival/
Street Closures for Saturday, November 19
Closed from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Oak Street from State Street to Michigan Avenue
North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive
Upper Wacker Drive from Wabash Avenue to east turnaround
Closed from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Upper Columbus Drive from Wacker Drive to Randolph Street
Closed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Clark Street (east curb lane only from Oak Street to Delaware Street)
Delaware Street from Dearborn Street to Clark Street (north curb lane only
Oak Street from Clark Street to State Street
Dearborn Street from Delaware Street to Maple Street
Walton Street from State Street to Clark Street
Closed from 3:30 to 9 p.m.
Upper Columbus Drive (the curb lanes from Wacker Drive to Randolph Street)
Randolph Street (curb lanes from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive)
Intermittent closures based on traffic conditions
Millennium Park Art Market and McCormick Tribune Ice Rink Opening Weekend
The Millennium Park Art Market opens on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19 from noon-8 p.m.; continuing through Sunday, November 20 from noon- 5 p.m. on the North Promenade. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens for the season on November 18 and runs through March 5, 2022. For details visit MillenniumPark.org/WinterProgramming
2022 Christkindlmarket Opening, Friday, November 18, Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville
The annual Christkindlmarket opens Friday, November 18 through Saturday, December 24 on Daley Plaza located at 50 West Washington Street. NOTE: For weekend programming, there will be a full closure of W. Washington Street, including the CTA bus lane, between Clark Street and Dearborn Street starting at 5 a.m. each Saturday morning and ending at 11 p.m. Sunday night on the following dates: November 19–20, 26–27, December 3–4, 10–11 and 17–18. Hours are Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. –8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. –9 p.m. with special hours on holidays. The Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville at Gallagher Way, located at 3635 N. Clark Street will also open on Friday, November 18 through Saturday, December 31. Hours are Mondays-Thursdays, 3 p.m.–9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. –10 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. –7 p.m. with special hours on holidays. For complete details, visit Christkindlmarket.com/
Lincoln Park ZooLights 2022 Opens Saturday, November 19, Lincoln Park Zoo
The annual ZooLights Festival at the Lincoln Park Zoo opens this weekend from 4:30–10 p.m. nightly from November 19 through January 1. For details, visit lpzoo.org/event/zoolights/
Weather
OEMC advises Chicagoans to be aware of weather conditions and to follow instructions and heed all warnings from public safety officials. We encourage residents to check the weather before heading out. For the most up-to-date weather information, please tune into local media or download a weather app.
OEMC will issue any alerts and notifications needed to keep residents and attendees up to date on weather conditions and emergencies. Sign up for NotifyChicago alerts at NotifyChicago.org. OEMC also issues TEXT alerts for lakefront notices, issues affecting businesses or COVID-19 updates:
CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
CHIBIZ: For alerts affecting businesses, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3
For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit the OEMC website at Chicago.gov/OEMC. Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook (@coemc), Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911).
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