Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus—just don’t sit on his lap or come within six feet of him or his elves! In addition to contactless visits from the North Pole, Chicago-area venues are providing festive activities (including outdoor ice staking, drive-in experiences, and more) to metaphorically embrace.

Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park entertainment district is offering 45-minute skating sessions at its Chicago Wolves Ice Rink through January 5 and on Sundays through February 28. “As we welcome visitors back to the ice rink this year, they can expect to find the same holiday fun of years past in an environment designed to keep them safe and comfortable,” says Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens.

Parkway Bank Park has implemented health and safety procedures such as limiting guests, skater temperature checks, and enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces. Face masks are required by all entering the skate tent. Attendees are encouraged to continue wearing their face masks while skating. Admission is free, however a credit card is required to hold reservations. Visitors are invited to bring their own skates or access rentals online. For more information, visit Rosemont.com and ParkwayBankPark.com.

While in Rosemont, mask-donning shoppers may visit a similarly-protected Santa at Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall. The contactless visits include a variety of photo packages as well as a mailbox where children can drop off their letters to Mr. Claus.

“Although it will take on a new look this year, we’re delighted to offer visits with Santa this holiday season and bring some joy to our community during a much needed time,” says Katie Walsh, senior marketing manager at Fashion Outlets of Chicago. “Visits with Santa are a longstanding tradition for many of our shoppers and this year, we’ve thoughtfully adapted the experience in order to accommodate today’s health concerns while ensuring a magical moment.”

Health and safety protocols include hand-sanitizing stations, floor decals to ensure social distancing, cleaning between guest visits, a top-quality HVAC system, and employee wellness checks. Recommended reservations can be made at FashionOutletsOfChicago.com.

In Oakbrook Terrace, adults can indulge in holiday spirits and a seasonal meal while enjoying “Very Merry Musical Evenings” in The Cabaret Room Under the Canopy. Offered on weekends through December 19, the dinner concert showcases the Drury Lane Orchestra and vocals from theater talent such as “Mary Poppins” star Emilie Lynn. Click here to learn more about this and other winter events, including Brunch with Santa.

Chicago’s Replay Lincoln Park is hosting the family-friendly “Holly Jolly Drive-In” and “Miracle on West Madison” through December 25. The 1.5-hour drive-in experiences feature appearances by The Grinch, Santa, Mrs. Claus, reindeer and other beloved holiday characters. Visit MiracleOnWestMadison.com and HollyJolly.us for more information and tickets.

This year, Music Box Theatre’s annual “Christmas Sing-A-Long” will take place at the ChiTown Movies Drive-In with limited screenings through December 24. From the safety of their cars, Chicago audiences can watch the festive film favorites “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas” and interact with a pre-recorded version of holiday songs performed by House Organist Dennis Scott and the Music Box Carolers (renamed the Music Box Masked Merry-Makers). Click here for tickets.

Image: Jimmy Stewart in the Frank Capra holiday classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946)

Janet Arvia

Ms. Arvia is an online columnist and critic; entertainment ghostwriter reaching nine million visitors per month; award-winning artist; grant-winning filmmaker; and Janet-of-all-trades. Press releases on...