From tree lightings to sleigh rides to unique shopping opportunities, Chicago area cities and towns know how to celebrate the holidays.
The festival of St. Lucia is a celebration of lights prevailing over the darkest time of the year. Start at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark, for the annual candlelit, carol-filled procession down Clark Street. Afterwards, the museum hosts singing, family entertainment and treats. The procession is free; admission to the museum is $1 or a canned food item to benefit the Care For Real food pantry. There will also be a special St. Lucia service down the street at Ebenezer Lutheran Church starting at 7:00 p.m.
The streets come alive with Gingerbread men, Radio Disney, Santa and much more. Merchants celebrate the holidays by staying open late and celebrating their customers.
Experience the magic of the holidays with a visit from Santa, hayrides, caroling and entertainment.
Enjoy indoor and outdoor lighted displays, designer wreaths and trees, a replica English country train platform, and the Model Railroad Garden in seasonal decor.
The zoo becomes a winter wonderland illuminated by more than 2 million lights. Watch live ice carving, prepare family crafts, and enjoy the animal exhibits. The first 1,000 visitors each night receive a free pair of 3D glasses for a truly magical light display experience.
Traditional German winter holiday market features holiday decorations, vendors in stalls and cottages selling German gift items and foods, entertainment and activities for all ages. The annual Children's Lantern Parade on St. Martin's Day is a highlight for children. Check the website for a detailed schedule of hours and events. New in 2012, Kinder Korner, a resource for children, teachers and parents, that includes at-market activities.
Santa visits on Saturday-Sunday and there are special activities each weekend.
The festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Nov. 15 in Pere Marquette park. Featuring live music, fireworks and the ceremonial lighting of the downtown lights. The light festival features thousands of lights and holiday displays.
Featuring horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa and entertainment. Check website for detailed schedule. Weekends from Nov. 10-Dec. 23, 2012.