Top 10 Things To Do in January - Visit Lake County - Blog

Top 10 Things To Do in January

By: Jonathan Jones 01/03/2019

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The holiday season is all about over, but the top 10 things to do in January will keep you energized this winter in Lake County.

This month, Lake County features our beloved Wonderland Express waving goodbye for the season, a plethora of fantastic winter fests, a few shows for brides-to-be, honest Abe as you haven't seen him before, a Broadway show and much more.

Let's take a look at Lake County's top 10 things to do in January.

1. Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic 


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Walking in a winter wonderland

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All aboard the “little engines that can,” for the final weekend of Chicago Botanic Garden’s Wonderland Express. The festive train set resides inside the Glencoe facility’s Regenstein Center. The collection designed by Paul Busse spans 10,000 square-feet and is equipped with miniature trains, bridges, trestles, waterfalls and 80 mini-replicas of Chicago’s favorite landmarks. This event also features ice sculpting, Thomas the Tank Engine and more. The express leaves the station January 6.

Friday-Sunday, January 4-6; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tickets: $8-$13. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe.

2. Abraham Lincoln Pop-up Exhibit at Jack Benny


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“Abraham Lincoln, President, U.S.” On November 6, 1860, Republican Candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States despite the fact that he did not appear on ballots in the south and received less than 40% of the popular vote. As the nation became more divided on the issue of slavery, the election would prove to be a critical point in American history. The outcome was an immediate trigger for the secession of the first seven southern states, ultimately leading to the Civil War. ⠀ ⠀ Photographed by Mathew Brady, c.1863.⠀ ⠀ [National Archives]⠀ ⠀ *Swipe for #anaglyph version and original stereoscopic negative pair.⠀ ⠀ #Stereoview #Lincoln #PresidentLincoln #AbrahamLincoln #AbeLincoln #CivilWar #CivilWarHistory #Election #ElectionOf1860 #1860Election #Politics #AmericanCivilWar #AmericanHistory #USHistory #UnitedStatesHistory #TodayInHistory #OnThisDay #History #3D #StereoscopicHistory

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As we head into year 201 of Illinois, a new exhibit has popped up in the city of Waukegan. Head to “GreenTown” and visit the exhibit “Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times” at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Bowen Park. The exhibition follows the honest 16th president of the United States’ journey as a self-educated lawyer lacking political experience through speeches, letters, proclamations and other historical artifacts. On Sunday, January 6 at 4 p.m. the Bowen Park center features a presentation by Doug Stiles, who is a descendant of a jeweler that Lincoln brought his watch to during his presidency for repairs. The free admission pop-up exhibit runs through February 28.

Friday-Sunday, January 4-6; Fri.: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun.: 4 p.m. Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Bowen Park, 39 Jack Benny Dr., Waukegan.

3. Windy City Wedding Show at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center Gurnee


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#bridalshow #charmingmc #notmystyle #bridetobe #futuremrsgnoffo #ido #weddingplansfreakmeout #windycitybridalshow

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Wedding ceremonies are a beautiful sight because they celebrate life and possibility. Wedding planning is hectic. In just a couple months you will be dressed to kill walking down the aisle and looking deeply into the eyes of your significant other. Holiday Inn Gurnee Convention Center has got you covered as they host the most extensive wedding expo in the Chicago suburbs and southern Wisconsin: the Windy City Wedding Show. Equipped with a full day of wedding planning with a one-stop-shop for everything you need, the event features over 40 wedding professionals to address your big day’s needs, bridal salons, honeymoon travel specialists, a fashion show and more. The first 200 brides-to-be will receive a $200 gift card from, and one lucky couple could win a honeymoon from Dream Travel Holiday Network. Also, lovebirds can head to to enter for the chance to win a $300 Visa Card. The fashion show begins at 1 p.m.

Sunday, January 6; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets: $20. Holiday Inn & Convention Center Gurnee, 6161 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee.

4. The Lake County Libation Trail


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A very fine tasting Pineapple Express IPA! #letsgolakecounty #libationtrail

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Let's toast to the Lake County Libation Trail! "It's five o'clock somewhere," as suds aficionados, vino connoisseurs and spirit enthusiasts will be elated with these glasses of "liquid courage." The Lake County Libation Trail is highlighted by 18 of the most delectable flavors from locally-sourced ingredients. Whether your adult beverage is an ice cold frothy lager, a dry red merlot or an old-fashioned on the rocks, Lake County has precisely what you need to make your taste buds dance. We make our own in Lake County, IL. Cheers, salud, prost and kan-pie!

Ongoing throughout Lake County.

5. Genesee Theatre Productions


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The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa presents Swan Lake #AtTheFox on Jan 13! They will be traveling to the US with 55 of their talented and brightest ballet stars to bring this romantic tale to life! Tickets go on-sale 11/2 at 10AM! Visit the link in our bio to subscribe to our eclub for priority access on 10/31. #SwanLake #NationalBalletTheatreofOdessa #Ballet #Dance

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The Waukegan theatre is providing visitors with glorious nostalgia as they feature legendary comedians, renowned musician's tribute and a classy dance party. Here’s what’s going on in January at Genesee Theatre.

6. Winter Festivals in Lake County


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Just sippin ? #antiochwinewalk #wine #lotsofwine #welovewine #latergram

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Winter lovers, come out and play! Just because it’s a tiny bit frigid outside, it can’t keep visitors from partying hearty. There is a slew of winter festivities for you cold-blooded creatures in January. Here is a list of fests in Lake County celebrating one of our chilliest months.

7. Million Dollar Quartet at Marriott Theatre


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Got this record for Christmas a couple of years ago... been a while since I’ve listened to it. I also have the CD as well. - #milliondollarquartet #iconic #legendary #elvispresley #johnnycash #carlperkins #jerryleelewis #rocknroll #sunrecords #elvis #vinyl #vinylcollection #vinyljunkie #oldies #rockabilly #jamsession #1950s #socialdistortion

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On one cold December in 1956, four southern gentlemen gathered for a recording session at Sun Record Studios in Memphis. These four guys weren’t your average quartet. The group was made up of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins and considered a pinnacle moment in rock and roll history. At this point, Cash and Perkins had achieved some success while Presley and Lewis were virtually unknown. There was a 17-track album that was generated from this jam session, and it wasn’t released until 1981. The musical shows the four working together in their own element. Initially opening in 2006, the Broadway production collected three Tony Award nominations. The show runs through March 10.

January 16-March 10 runs on select days. Various admissions. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire.

8. Animals in Winter Exhibit at the Dunn Museum


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Going into the weekend feeling happy just like this big guy ? My kids had a half day so we spent a chunk of time at the new Lake County Museum ? Highly recommend ?

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If you hadn't noticed, it gets a bit nippy outside in Lake County from November-March. The creatures that inhabit Lake County have adapted over time to continue their livelihood in subzero temperatures. The Dunn Museum is hosting an hour-long presentation for you to listen and observe nature in its winter element. Following the talk, peruse the Libertyville facility as they organize after-hours tours on every third Thursday.

Thursday, January 17; 6-7 p.m. Bess Bower Dunn Museum, 1899 W. Winchester Rd., Libertyville.

9. LVVA Fishing Derby


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Nice catch! And on his 21st birthday no less. ? @dan.goes.fishin ? #explorewauconda

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Bundle up and pack your tackle bait and rod. Join your fellow anglers at the LVVA Annual Fishing Derby in Wauconda. Entry forms can be downloaded to streamline the registration process before arriving. Registration begins at 5 a.m., and the fishing starts at 7 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the fisher with the largest northern pike, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and perch. There will also be side raffles for additional prizes. During the Star Bangled Banner, a special flyover by a North American T-6 will make a special flyover appearance. Smitty’s Bait & Tackle will have bait available. This is a CPR (catch, photo and release) derby per Illinois DNR rules and shanty fees are waived for the event. The backup date is February 16. Participants must be over the age of 16.

Saturday, January 26; 7 a.m.-noon. Admission:$20. Lake View Villa Association beachfront, 803 Edgewater Pkwy., Wauconda.

10. Lake County Bridal Show at the DoubleTree Mundelein-Libertyville


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We are hanging out at the Doubletree in Mundelein for today's bridal show. Come grab one of our new flyers... and chocolate. Did I mention that I'm giving away chocolate? ?Come see us! #miainkphotography #miakuntz #lakecountyweddingphotographer

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Planning a wedding? This weekend head to one of the most massive wedding expo in the area – the Lake County Wedding Expo at DoubleTree Mundelein. Brides-to-be don’t miss this show for all your bridal needs. Visit with over 50 vendors offering everything needed to make your wedding day special, plus a panel of experts providing the latest tips, tricks and ideas to help your day go as smoothly as possible. Attendees have a chance to win a honeymoon to Aruba.

Sunday, January 27; noon-3 p.m. Free admission. DoubleTree by Hilton Mundelein, 510 E. IL Route 83, Mundelein.

For more things to do in January, continue here.

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