48 fun holiday events for kids in Western Suburbs

Celebrate the holidays in the Western Suburbs with the whole family! Read some of our picks below and find the most updated list on our calendar. Don’t forget to check out other kid-friendly holiday events in the city, North/Northwest Suburbs and South Suburbs.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Holiday Exhibit


When: Nov. 7-Dec. 22


Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster Street, Naperville


A historic look at a seminal story written in 1823 that continues to endear itself to contemporary audiences. Told through community-provided collections in partnership with the Golden Glow of Christmas Past.


Wheaton Holiday House Walk


When: Nov. 16


Where: Town Square Wheaton, 271 Town Square, Wheaton


Many of Wheaton’s most beautiful homes, decorated for the season, are open to the public with Flight members as your guides. The homes are all located in historic downtown Wheaton. New this year, guests may enjoy a coffee and cookie break while taking in the stained glass of St. Paul Lutheran Church.


Festival of Lights Tree Lighting


When: Nov. 16


Where: The Promenade Bolingbrook, 631 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook


Visit with Santa and enjoy holiday activities before the lighting of the tree. Activities include cookie decorating, ornament making, costume character meet & greet, balloon artists and more. Tree lighting begins at 6:15 p.m.


Winter Lights Holiday Walk


When: Nov. 22


Where: Water Street Mall, 24 E. Downer Place, Aurora


The twinkling lit streets will be filled with live music, costumed characters, live ice sculpting, local art, food vendors, festive photo-ops, live reindeer, trackless train and Christkindlmarket. The official City of Aurora Holiday Tree will be illuminated by Mayor Weisner, Miss Merry Christmas and Mr. Jack Frost.


Illumination: Tree Lights


When: Nov. 23-Jan. 5


Where: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle,


Illumination brings lights and nature together to transform a wintertime walk in the woods into an awe-inspiring experience. Walk a mile-long path to marvel at trees illuminated in colors and interact with lighted trees that respond to voice or touch.


Naper Lights


When: Nov. 26-Dec. 27


Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville


Experience a magical holiday lights celebration, presented by The Sunrise Rotary Club of Naperville.


Glen Ellyn Holiday Walk


When: Nov. 29


Where: Main Street, Glen Ellyn


The gathering begins with lively music around the Christmas Tree on Main Street. Santa will emerge from the Firehouse at 6 p.m. and start his march down Main Street to light the tree with the help of the fire truck lifting him to the star on the top.


Naperville Park District Santa House


When: Nov. 29-Dec. 22


Where: Riverwalk at Jackson Avenue and Webster St., Naperville


Santa’s little house on the Naperville Riverwalk will be occupied by Santa and kids can visit and have their photo taken. Theme nights include Special Needs Nights, Pet Night and Military and First Responders Night.


Santa’s Craft Corner


When: Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14


Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave., Wheaton


See the animals, enjoy a visit with Santa, make a craft or two and enjoy refreshments. Photos with Santa available for a small fee.


Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”


When: Nov. 30-Dec. 1


Where: Hinsdale Central Auditorium, 55th & Grant Streets, Hinsdale


An enchanting holiday tradition, this production of “The Nutcracker” features the 48-piece Chicago West Chamber Orchestra. Sunday’s performance also includes special admission to the “Sugar Plum Party” where audience members can meet characters from “The Nutcracker,” step onto the stage, and enjoy refreshments in an enchanted, winter wonderland.


The Fox Valley Nutcracker


When: Nov. 30-Dec. 1


Where: Batavia Fine Arts Center, 1201 Main Street, Batavia


A Fox Valley holiday tradition that showcases students and families from local dance studios alongside professional dancers, in the beloved holiday classic The Nutcracker. Featuring beautiful dance, lavish sets, festive costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s magical score.


Living Wheaton Christmas Parade & Christmas Festival


When: Nov. 29-Dec. 21 (Saturdays)


Where: Town Square Wheaton, 271 Town Square, Wheaton


Lighted holiday parade takes place Nov. 29 in Downtown Wheaton along Front Street. Carriage rides and visits with Santa start Nov. 30 and continue every Saturday through Dec. 21. Other events include cookie decorating and visits with reindeer.


Gingerbread Festival


When: Nov. 29-Dec. 1


Where: Downtown Downers Grove, 933A Curtiss Street, Downers Grove


This event includes Gingerbread Story-time, Tree Lighting Ceremony, Gingerbread Man Hunt, Gingerbread House Contest, visits with Santa in his Gingerbread House, Small Business Saturday, Gingerbread Boy and Girl perusing town, Breakfast with Santa and Complimentary Carriage Rides.


Mooseheart Holiday Lights Festival


When: Nov. 29-Dec. 31


Where: Mooseheart


The lighted route covers nearly 2 miles and has more than 80 lighted displays to view. On select nights, enjoy a visit with Santa at the Mooseheart fieldhouse after the driving tour of the light displays. In addition to visits with Santa, children can enjoy crafts, holiday music, hot cocoa, and Christmas cookies at the Mooseheart fieldhouse.


Aurora Festival of Lights


When: Nov. 29-Dec. 26


Where: Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Dr., Aurora


Drive-through more than one mile of spectacular lighted displays, many of which are animated and are illuminated by tens of thousands of bulbs. This year’s display features a 10-foot tall singing Christmas tree and four singing reindeer.


Brookfield Zoo Annual Holiday Magic


When: Nov. 30-Dec. 22, weekends & Dec. 26-31


Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield


The zoo will be lit with more than one million twinkling LED lights as guests enjoy caroling to the animals, professional ice carving demonstrations, light shows, and special visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through Dec. 17). In addition, select animal habitats will remain open, as will zoo restaurants and gift shops.


Festival of Lessons and Carols


When: Dec. 6


Where: Elmhurst College, 190 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst


Held since 1961, the Festival consists of nine Scriptural readings that tell the story of the birth of the Messiah, interspersed with choral music. The Elmhurst College Concert Choir will perform time-honored songs to accompany each reading and set the holiday mood.


Christmas Walk


When: Dec. 6


Where: Downtown Hinsdale, Hinsdale


The Christmas Walk will include The Cookie Express Kiddie Train, holiday carolers, annual tree lighting, animated characters, Santa’s arrival and Cookie’s Carousel. Merchants will stay open to greet their guests and customers with free giveaways.


Breakfast with Santa


When: Dec. 1-22, weekends, & Dec. 23


Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle


Enjoy a breakfast buffet in The Morton Arboretum’s scenic Ginkgo Restaurant and a visit from Santa. Children can interact with Santa and his helpers and leave with some sweet treats to take home.


Breakfast with Santa


When: Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22


Where: Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, Saint Charles


Enjoy a delicious breakfast, decorate holiday cookies and share gift wishes with Santa in Pheasant Run’s New Orleans Ballroom.


Brunch with Santa


When: Dec. 1 & 22


Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton


Enjoy a special holiday buffet and meet Mr. Claus. Highlights include a photo with Santa, balloon artist and face painters.


Special Kids Holiday Party


When: Dec. 4


Where: Wilder Mansion, 211 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst


Annual party for children (of all ages) with disabilities and their families in an environment planned for the unique needs of special kids. Face painting, balloon sculpting, arts & craft projects, a Lego room, live music, storytelling, delicious homemade cookies and even a quiet room. Every child goes home with a keepsake photograph with Santa and a gift bag.


Tree Lighting in Wilder Park


When: Dec. 5


Where: Wilder Park, 175 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst


Features holiday entertainment, a special visitor from the North Pole and children’s activities in Wilder Mansion.


Yuletide Festival & Fair


When: Dec. 6-22, Fridays-Sundays


Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville


Experience the joy of the holiday season with live entertainment, art and craft vendors, wintry food and beverages, twinkling lights and more.


Holiday Express


When: Dec. 6-22 (Dec. 6 Special Needs Night)


Where: Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora


See Lake Gregory and Blackberry Farm in all its holiday glory amid the twinkling lights and songs of Christmas. Back in the village, enjoy storytelling of the classics, festive decorations, reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides and a visit with Santa. And don’t miss Adventure Playground – decorated as Candy Cane Village.


Holiday Walk & Festival of Windows


When: Dec. 6


Where: Main Street, Forest Park


The Forest Park Chamber of Commerce’s annual Holiday Walk features live-action store window displays, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a marshmallow roast, face painting, refreshments, and Santa.


Geneva’s Great Tree Lighting and Christmas Walk


When: Dec. 6


Where: Geneva Court House, 100 S. Third St., Geneva


Santa Lucia arrives by horse-drawn carriage and Santa arrives to open the Gingerbread House. Enjoy carolers, the Great Tree lighting, old fashioned candy cane pull, roasted chestnuts, Swedish cookies and shopping. Call for Santa hours and complimentary horse-drawn carriage ride times/date.


Jolly Old St. Nicholas Concert


When: Dec. 6


Where: Yorkfield Presbyterian Church, 1099 S. York St., Elmhurst


Celebrate Elmhurst’s German heritage and the holiday season. Listen and sing along with Elmhurst’s authentic German choirs as they perform traditional German carols. Jolly Old St. Nick will join the festivities to explain his legend and take photos with guests.


Holly the Elf Saves Xmas Eve


When: Dec. 6-8


Where: Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, Saint Charles


Santa, the reindeer, and all the caribou who live in the North have come down with a nasty case of the Candy Cane Flu. They are all much too sick to pull Santa’s sleigh full of toys. So, everyone at the North Pole, along with good little boys and girls everywhere, are counting on Holly and her helpful elves to quickly find the right “Stand Ins” to get the job done.


Holiday Train Ride


When: Dec. 7


Where: Iowa Community Center, 338 N. Iowa Ave., Villa Park


All ages can ride the train in their PJs to the North Pole on this fun-filled holiday train ride. On-board activities include caroling and a visit with Santa. Pre-departure activities include hot cocoa and the reading of a special holiday tale.


Brunch with the Grinch


When: Dec. 7 & 14


Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton


Enjoy a special holiday brunch with the Grinch. Feast on a Grinch-themed buffet along with a viewing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The Grinch will make an appearance.


Celebrate the Season Holiday Festival


When: Dec. 7


Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton


Attractions include Mistletoe Market, horse-drawn “sleigh rides,” face painting, live reindeer display and of course a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.


Holiday Afternoon Tea


When: Dec. 7, 14, 21 & 28


Where: Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace


Listen to Christmas favorites played by a classical pianist and enjoy seasonal specialties under the twinkling lights of a 20-foot Christmas tree. Featuring freshly baked breads and scones, holiday tea sandwiches, enticing desserts, as well as an assortment of seasonal teas.


Santa’s Workshop


When: Dec.  7


Where: Wilder Mansion, 211 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst


Santa’s Workshop is a special place just for children where they can purchase inexpensive holiday gifts for those they love. Santa’s Workshop will be stocked with great gifts for Mom, Dad and more. Open to the public.


Ballet Legere’s Nutccracker


When: Dec. 7-8


Where: Dominican University Performing Arts Center, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest


Weekend performances of the Nutcracker include guest artists courtesy of the Cincinnati Ballet as well as professional dancers from various Chicago Dance Companies and students from neighboring dance studios.


The Hidden History of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol


When: Dec. 8


Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville


Author and presenter Rochelle Pennington shares the stories and history behind the Christmas classic: A Christmas Carol.


Jingle Bell Rock Kids Rock


When: Dec. 10


Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton


Kids ages 1-5 will kick off the holiday season with Kid Rock’s Jingle Bell Rock music and dance party. Songs and musical activities will be about celebrating the holiday season with family and friends, decorating trees, playing in the snow, making cookies, wrapping gifts, and much more. A variety of musical instruments and movement props will be used.


Mrs. Claus! A Holiday Musical


When: Dec. 11-22


Where: Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, Saint Charles


Join Mrs. Claus as she teams up with the new Elf Class of 2017 to find Santa’s missing list in time for Christmas. Can Mrs. Claus and the elves save the holidays? Recommended for families with kids 2-8.


Holiday Movie at the York: The Polar Express


When: Dec. 14


Where: York Theatre, 150 N. York St., Elmhurst


Enjoy the popular animated holiday film, “The Polar Express,” on the big screen at the York Theatre. After the movie, stop by Elmhurst City Centre plaza to see the festive holiday display, take photos with Santa, and hear holiday tunes. Visit the Elmhurst History Museum booth to snap a Polar Express picture and pick up a coloring sheet.


Breakfast with Santa


When: Dec. 14


Where: Town Square Wheaton, 271 Town Square, Wheaton


Enjoy a hearty holiday breakfast with Kris Kringle himself at Egg’lectic Café.


Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”


When: Dec. 14-15


Where: McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn


An enchanting holiday tradition, this production of “The Nutcracker” includes a jaw-dropping Christmas tree that grows nearly 60 feet tall, 125 exquisite costumes, internationally recognized guest soloists and live music by New Philharmonic.


Christmas on the Farm (Geneva)


When: Dec. 14


Where: Peck Farm Park, 4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva


Families will enjoy holiday carolers, visits from Santa & Mrs. Claus, ice sculptors, hot cocoa and more.


Musical Brunch with Santa


When: Dec. 15


Where: Fitz’s Spare Keys, 119 N. York St., Elmhurst


Enjoy a musical brunch with Santa featuring live Christmas music, meet and greet with Santa as well as a buffet.


‘Tis the Season


When: Dec. 15


Where: Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville


The DSO’s Annual Holiday concert includes a distinctive constellation of Christmas and seasonal works. Be on the lookout for a special holiday visitor again this year. After all, what would Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride be without Santa on the podium?


Supper with St. Nick


When: Dec. 20-23


Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle


Join Santa for family supper in the historic Thornhill Mansion. Enjoy a decadent buffet dinner and then head on over to the Founders Room for a special visit with Santa in front of the fireplace.


Holiday Trolley Express


When: Dec. 20


Where: Fountain View Recreation Center, 910 N. Gary Ave., Carol Stream


Take a festive trolley ride to see some of the beautiful holiday lights of Carol Stream. Hear the story of the Polar Express and sing a few carols. Enjoy refreshments, holiday themed games, and make a special craft inside Fountain View Recreation Center. Visit with Santa while he gives each child a special holiday keepsake.


The Nutcracker


When: Dec. 20-22


Where: Pfeiffer Hall, 310 Benton Ave., Naperville


DanceWest Ballet performs The Nutcracker annually at Pfeiffer Hall on the campus of North Central College in Naperville. This DanceWest Ballet production has become a holiday tradition in Du Page County since 1993.


Pelican Harbor Holiday Festival


When: Dec. 21


Where: Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park, 200 S. Lindsey Lane, Bolingbrook


Celebrate the holidays at Pelican Harbor Indoor Aquatic Park. Santa will be present along with holiday treats, decorations, and other games and activities. Open swim is included for the duration of the event.


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This story originally published on ChicagoParent.com on Nov. 19, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information.


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