When it comes to lighting up the holiday season, no one does it
better than the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Between the one
million twinkling lights, the nighttime parade and fireworks, and
all-day concerts and activities, it's the perfect spot for
It also can be crowded and overwhelming, so a little
pre-planning is in order. Joel Morales, marketing chair for the
fest, offers a few insider tips for families heading out to the
- Start out at Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) where Disney
star Shane Harper and the band R5 perform, along with others
throughout the day. `Like' The Magnificent Mile on Facebook and you
just might hear about some meet-and-greets that will score you
points with your tween girls, Morales hints.
- The performances end at 3 p.m. and the parade starts at 5:30
p.m. Fill the time in between by visiting Lights Festival Lane in
the plaza where activities include decorating (and eating!) your
own cheesecake for those who bring in a donation of canned goods.
Plus, there are plenty of retailers along Michigan Avenue with lots
planned to help keep downtown visitors busy.
- Consider watching the parade near Michigan Avenue and Wacker
Drive. "You can see all the different floats and it isn't as
crowded, plus it's a great view for the fireworks as well," Morales
says. "And it's a great spot to get your escape plan
going." Park on the north side of the bridge and it's a lot
easier to get out of parking garages and the traffic is less
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.