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Best Holiday Events Chicago: Weird, Amazing And Family-Friendly Ways To Celebrate The Season

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The Wonderland Express At The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of the city's neo-traditional holiday events. (Chicago Botanic Garden) | Chicago Botanic Garden

From the windows at Marshall Field's Macy's to the Goodman Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carol," Chicago has no shortage of traditional holiday fun.

Windy Citizens looking for other events to round out Christkindlmarket browsing are still in luck: for every sterling tradition, there are scores of off-beat and under-the-radar ways to make merry in Chicago while appealing to large contingents (family-friendly) and niche groups alike (Trekkies).

Events like Second City's annual Letters To Santa benefit is a 24-hour improv comedy and music showcase that reliably nets some big-name talen. For 2012, Second City has everyone from Nate Silver to Wilco's Jeff Tweedy to a handful of current "Saturday Night Live" cast members (including former Chicagoan Fred Armisen) on tap.

Others, like the DuSable Museum's Pre-Kwanzaa Kickoff, meld education and celebration while ensuring sure celebrants of all stripes are included.

Chicago's Best Alternative Holiday Fun
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