Naperville has a lot to offer all year round, but I especially love living here during the holidays. There are a variety of ways to soak up the magic of the season in Naperville, and here are a few of my family’s festive favorites.
Welcome Santa at the Little Friends Parade of Lights
You won’t mind how early it gets dark when you attend the Little Friends Parade of Lights in downtown Naperville. The parade steps off at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30 and the floats and community groups all build up to Santa’s big arrival.
In addition to the parade, the trees lining the streets of downtown Naperville are ablaze with more than 300,000 holidays lights each night of the holiday season. It’s beautiful!
Pick a favorite holiday train sculpture
Each holiday season, downtown Naperville is decorated with sculptures that businesses around town paint. This year, 17 holiday train sculptures can be found along the streets of downtown, each with a different theme. Little ones can even sit in the train seats and those will make for some adorable photos!
Find them all with this map and vote for your favorite at downtownnaperville.com. (The Molar Express may get my vote on name alone).
Prior years have featured snowmen and gingerbread men, so it’s always fun to have your kids guess what next year’s sculptures will be. The trains will be on display through the middle of January. All aboard!
Check out Naper Lights at Naper Settlement
Penguins, reindeer and Santa all in lights will make even the Scroogiest of people feel festive. Enjoy those displays and much more at Naper Lights, which promises to transform Naper Settlement into a “Christmas light extravaganza!” Families can wander through on foot at this event by the Naperville Sunrise Rotary. Admission is free, though donations will be accepted.
The lights will shine from 5-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday nights starting Nov. 28 and running through Jan. 1.
Grab a mug of delicious hot chocolate at Le Chocolat
Le Chocolat du Bouchard is an adorable haven for chocolate lovers and they offer a dozen kinds of gourmet hot chocolates, including Mexicocoa. The desserts are also wonderful and make for the perfect holiday indulgence. In addition to a café, Le Chocolat is also a store, so you can pick up a few gifts while you’re there.
Visit Santa along the River Walk
With all the holiday fun to be had here, it’s no surprise that Santa is also a fan of Naperville! He even has a house on the Naperville River Walk at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street during the holiday season and children are welcome to visit him there. Admission is free. Photos can be purchased for $8 each or two for $15.
He appears most nights from Dec. 2 through 22. There are designated times for families with special needs and military and first responder families, as well as pet night.
Happy holidays, and hopefully you’ll enjoy some of the seasonal fun and merriment that can be found in Naperville.