Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Chicago & Chicagoland

Holiday Lights in Chicago

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the festive spirit and marvel at the beauty of holiday lights, look no further than Chicago. With its vibrant and dazzling displays, this city offers a myriad of breathtaking spots to experience the magic of the season. From illuminated city streets to enchanting garden displays, the Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Chicagoland will take you on a wondrous journey that will leave you filled with joy and wonder. So grab a warm coat, bundle up, and get ready to be swept away by the twinkling lights that transform this city into a winter wonderland.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is a must-visit holiday event in Chicago. From November to early January, the zoo transforms into a winter wonderland filled with dazzling lights and festive decorations. Here is all the information you need to plan your visit:

Dates and Times

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo typically begins in late November and runs through early January. The event takes place from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each night, giving you plenty of time to explore and enjoy the lights.

Attractions

Aside from the stunning light displays, ZooLights offers a variety of attractions to keep you entertained throughout your visit. Don’t miss the Light Maze, where you can navigate through a maze of illuminated arches and experience an enchanting sensory display. You can also catch a glimpse of Santa Claus himself, along with his reindeer, or enjoy live ice carving demonstrations. There are also plenty of food and drink options available to satisfy your cravings.

Ticket Information

Entry to ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is free, providing an affordable option for families and individuals. However, some attractions within the zoo may require additional paid tickets. It’s always a good idea to check the official zoo website for the most up-to-date information on ticket prices and availability.



Tips for Visiting

To make the most of your visit to ZooLights, it is recommended to arrive early in the evening to avoid crowds. Parking can be limited, so consider using public transportation or ridesharing services. Dress warmly, as the event takes place outdoors. Bringing a stroller for young children is also advisable for a more comfortable experience. Don’t forget your camera to capture the magical moments!

Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum

If you’re looking for a breathtaking display of holiday lights set amidst a picturesque landscape, Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum is the perfect choice. Here’s what you need to know:

Dates and Times

Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum typically runs from mid-November through the first week of January. The event takes place in the evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., allowing visitors to enjoy the lights after dark.

Features

As you walk through Morton Arboretum’s wooded landscape, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning light installations that illuminate the trees and create a magical atmosphere. The event features interactive displays, such as musical trees that respond to touch and sound, and the Symphony Woods, where you can explore a series of illuminated pathways.

Ticket Information

Admission to Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum is by timed-entry tickets, which must be purchased in advance. Prices vary depending on the date and time of your visit, so be sure to check the official website for accurate pricing information.

Tips for Visiting

To make the most of your visit, it is highly recommended to purchase your tickets in advance, as time slots can fill up quickly. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes, as you walk through the arboretum. Allow yourself ample time to explore the different displays, as it can take a few hours to fully experience Illumination. Consider bringing a thermos of your favorite hot beverage to keep warm during your visit.
Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Chicagoland

This image is property of images.pexels.com.

Winter WonderLights at The Promenade Bolingbrook

Winter WonderLights at The Promenade Bolingbrook is a delightful holiday event that combines dazzling light displays with exciting activities. Here’s what you can expect:

Dates and Times

Winter WonderLights at The Promenade Bolingbrook typically begins in late November and runs through December, providing the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit. The event takes place in the evenings, allowing visitors to enjoy the lights after dark.

Activities and Entertainment

In addition to the stunning light displays, Winter WonderLights offers a range of activities and entertainment for visitors of all ages. Take a ride on the Winter Wonderwagon, a festively decorated train that takes you on a charming journey around the venue. Kids can enjoy holiday crafts and write letters to Santa, while adults can indulge in shopping at the unique stores and boutiques located within The Promenade Bolingbrook.

Ticket Information

Entry to Winter WonderLights is generally free, making it an affordable option for families and individuals. However, some activities and rides may require separate tickets or have additional fees. It’s always a good idea to check the official event website or inquire at the venue for detailed ticket information.

Tips for Visiting

Arrive early to explore the Winter Wonder Lights at leisure and avoid crowds. The venue offers ample parking, but it’s advisable to carpool or use ridesharing services to reduce traffic and minimize parking congestion. Dress warmly, as the event takes place outdoors, and consider bringing hand warmers and blankets to stay comfortable. Make sure to visit the varied dining options available and indulge in some seasonal treats while enjoying the lights.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

a lion is sitting on a rock ledge

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo is an enchanting event that brings together holiday lights, live entertainment, and a touch of animal magic. Here’s everything you need to know:

Dates and Times

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo typically takes place on select evenings from late November through December. The event begins in the late afternoon and runs until around 9:00 pm, allowing visitors to enjoy the lights and entertainment after dark.

Highlights

The main highlights of Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo are the dazzling light displays that illuminate the zoo’s pathways and animal exhibits, creating a truly magical atmosphere. Enjoy the sights and sounds of carolers, live music, and entertainment scattered throughout the zoo. Don’t miss the special animal exhibits that are open during the event, giving you the opportunity to observe the animals in their nighttime habitats.

Ticket Information

Admission to Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo is included with the regular zoo admission. However, it’s advisable to check the official website for any additional ticket requirements or pricing details. Members of the zoo often receive discounted or free access to the event.

Tips for Visiting

To make the most of your visit to Holiday Magic, arrive early to explore the zoo during daylight and experience the lights as they begin to illuminate the surroundings. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking. Consider bringing a camera to capture the magical moments and don’t forget to check the event schedule for special shows or activities taking place during your visit.
Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Chicagoland

This image is property of images.pexels.com.

Winterland at the Park at Wrigley

Winterland at the Park at Wrigley is a charming holiday event located adjacent to the iconic Wrigley Field. Here’s what you can expect:

Dates and Times

Winterland at the Park at Wrigley typically runs from late November through December, coinciding with the festive holiday season. The event takes place in the evenings, allowing visitors to experience the magical lights after dark.

Attractions

Winterland features a wide array of attractions, including a magnificent holiday tree, festive light displays, and a vibrant holiday market. Stroll through the market to find unique gifts and crafts from local artisans, or enjoy seasonal treats and beverages from the food vendors. The event also hosts special activities and entertainment, such as live music performances and visits from Santa Claus.

Ticket Information

Entry to Winterland at the Park at Wrigley is typically free, making it an accessible and affordable event for everyone. However, some attractions or activities within the event may have separate ticket prices or fees. It’s recommended to check the official event website for the most up-to-date ticket information.

Tips for Visiting

Consider arriving early to beat the crowds and enjoy the atmosphere before it gets too busy. Parking around the park may be limited, so public transportation or ridesharing services are recommended. Dress warmly, as the event takes place outdoors, and make sure to bring cash for any purchases you may wish to make at the holiday market. Don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities to capture your favorite memories!

Holiday Lights Trolley Tour

For a unique and hassle-free experience of Chicago’s holiday lights, the Holiday Lights Trolley Tour is a fantastic option. Here’s all the information you need:

Dates and Times

The Holiday Lights Trolley Tour typically operates throughout the holiday season, from late November through December. Tours run in the evenings to fully showcase the lights and decorations.

Tour Highlights

The Holiday Lights Trolley Tour takes you on a guided journey through Chicago’s magical holiday light displays, making stops at some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. From the twinkling lights along Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile to the festive displays in Millennium Park, you’ll experience the best holiday sights the city has to offer. The tour also includes narration about Chicago’s history and holiday traditions, enhancing your overall experience.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Holiday Lights Trolley Tour must be purchased in advance. Prices may vary depending on the date and time of your tour, so it’s recommended to check the official website for accurate pricing and availability.

Tips for Visiting

Plan ahead and book your tickets early to secure your spot on the trolley tour. Dress warmly, as the tour involves getting off the trolley at various points to explore the lights on foot. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning holiday scenes, and bring some snacks or beverages to enjoy during the tour. The trolley tour offers a convenient and festive way to see the holiday lights without the stress of driving and parking in the city.

Aurora Festival of Lights

Smith Blvd at, 5th Ave, Aurora, IL 60505
The Aurora Festival of Lights is a beloved holiday tradition in the suburb of Aurora, just outside of Chicago. Here’s what you need to know about this enchanting event:

Dates and Times

The Aurora Festival of Lights typically begins in late November and runs through the end of December. The lights are displayed each evening from dusk until dawn, allowing visitors to enjoy the twinkling displays throughout the night.

Highlights

The Aurora Festival of Lights features a breathtaking display of over a million lights, illuminating a sprawling park and creating a magical ambiance. Drive through the park to experience the lights from the comfort of your car, or park and stroll through the displays at a leisurely pace. Over 80 animated and static displays bring the park to life, including festive scenes, holiday characters, and iconic landmarks. The event also offers special attractions such as visits from Santa Claus and live entertainment on select nights.

Ticket Information

Admission to the Aurora Festival of Lights is free, making it an affordable option for families and individuals. However, donations are encouraged to support the event and help maintain and improve the light displays for future years.

Tips for Visiting

To avoid crowds, consider visiting the Aurora Festival of Lights on weekdays or during non-peak hours. Dress warmly and bring a thermos of hot cocoa or coffee to keep warm as you explore the park. Consider inviting friends or family to join you and make it a memorable outing. Don’t forget to check the event website for any updates or changes before your visit.

Christkindlmarket Chicago

a crowd of people walking down a street next to tall buildings

For a taste of European holiday charm, Christkindlmarket Chicago is a must-visit event. Here’s everything you need to know:

Dates and Times

Christkindlmarket Chicago typically opens in mid-November and runs through the end of December. The market is open daily, allowing visitors ample opportunities to experience its festive atmosphere and unique offerings.

Market Highlights

Christkindlmarket Chicago is inspired by the traditional German Christkindlesmarkt and recreates the magical atmosphere of a European holiday market right in the heart of Chicago. The market features a wide array of vendors selling everything from crafts and ornaments to traditional German food and beverages. Sip on hot mulled wine, indulge in pretzels and sausages, and browse through the charming wooden stalls to find unique gifts and souvenirs. The market also hosts live music performances, dance shows, and appearances by the Christkind, the traditional German Christmas gift-bringer.

Ticket Information

Entry to Christkindlmarket Chicago is free, making it accessible to all. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase tickets for any food, beverages, or merchandise you wish to enjoy or take home.

Tips for Visiting

To avoid crowds, it’s advisable to visit Christkindlmarket Chicago on weekdays or during non-peak hours. Dress warmly, as the market takes place outdoors, and consider bringing cash for easier transactions. Embrace the festive spirit and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this traditional holiday market.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL 60611
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a beloved tradition that marks the official start of the holiday season in Chicago. Here’s everything you need to know about this iconic event:

Dates and Times

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival typically takes place in mid-November, kicking off the holiday season with a grand parade down Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile. The festivities usually start in the late afternoon and continue into the evening.

Attractions

The highlight of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is the magnificent parade, featuring vibrant floats, marching bands, and well-known characters. Spectators can line the streets to witness the parade and enjoy the festive atmosphere. The event also includes live music performances, special appearances by holiday characters, and activities for the whole family.

Tips for Visiting

Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot along the parade route. It’s advisable to use public transportation or ridesharing services, as parking can be limited and crowded during the event. Dress warmly and bring blankets or chairs to make your viewing experience more comfortable. Don’t forget to check the event schedule for specific timings and locations of the parade and other activities.

FAQs

To provide you with all the information you may need, here are some frequently asked questions about visiting holiday light displays in Chicagoland:

Can I bring my pet to the holiday light displays?

It’s best to check the specific event guidelines regarding pets. Some events may allow leashed or well-behaved pets, while others may have restrictions. To ensure a smooth visit, it’s recommended to leave pets at home unless otherwise stated.

Are the holiday light displays accessible for individuals with disabilities?

Most holiday light displays strive to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. However, it’s advisable to check the event’s accessibility information or reach out to the organizers for specific details regarding ramps, accessible paths, and parking facilities.

Can I take photos at the holiday light displays?

Yes, capturing the magic of the holiday light displays is highly encouraged. Bring your camera or smartphone and capture the beauty of the lights to create lasting memories.

Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?

The need to purchase tickets in advance varies depending on the event. It’s recommended to check the official event website or contact the organizers for accurate information on ticketing.

Are there any discounts available for the holiday light displays?

Some events may offer discounts for certain groups, such as seniors, students, or members of specific organizations. It’s worth checking the event website or reaching out to the organizers to inquire about any available discounts.

What should I wear to the outdoor holiday light displays?

As most holiday light displays take place outdoors during the winter season, it’s important to dress warmly. Layers, hats, gloves, scarves, and comfortable footwear are all recommended to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Holiday Lights Chicagoland Listings

Lincoln Park Zoolights

(281)
📂 Festival, Event venue, Zoo
📭 2200 N Cannon Dr, Chicago, IL 60614, United States
🕒 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 4-10 PM Saturday, Sunday: 2-10 PM
📌See in Map

Bright Christmas Lights in Chicago

(11)
📂 Christmas market
📭 6450 N Algonquin Ave, Chicago, IL 60646, United States
📞 +1 464-266-2074 - 📌See in Map

Sparkle Light Festival

(47)
📂 Festival
📭 9850 Balmoral Ave, Rosemont, IL 60018, United States
📞 +1 847-636-5450 - 📌See in Map

Light Up Your Holidays

(125)
📂 Christmas store, Landscape lighting designer, Holiday home, Lighting consultant, Lighting contractor
📭 2211 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, United States
📞 +1 312-728-8499 - 📌See in Map

Bright Christmas Lights in Chicago

(9)
📂 Christmas market
📭 1812 W Estes Ave, Chicago, IL 60626, United States
📞 +1 464-266-2073 - 📌See in Map

Chicago Christmas Tree

(128)
📭 Chicago, IL 60601, United States
🕒 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Open 24 hours
📌See in Map

Sandberg Christmas Display

(8)
📂 Tourist attraction
📭 391 Walnut Ln, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007, United States
📌See in Map

Bright Christmas Lights in Chicago

📂 Christmas market
📭 5945 N Glenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60660, United States
📞 +1 464-266-2088 - 📌See in Map

Jack Frost Winter Pop Up

(137)
📂 Festival, Tree farm
📭 1467 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642, United States
🕒 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 4-9 PM Friday: 4-10 PM Saturday: 2-10:30 PM Sunday: 2-9 PM
📞 +1 312-850-8188 - 📌See in Map

Christmas lights in Chicago Ridge

(10)
📂 Tourist attraction
📭 10936 Lyman Ave, Chicago Ridge, IL 60415, United States
📌See in Map


➡️ All Chicago Passes & Tickets ⬅️

Related Posts

No widgets found. Go to Widget page and add the widget in Offcanvas Sidebar Widget Area.