Where to See Holiday Lights in Chicagoland

Light up your holiday spirit with all that's merry and bright.

Finally, that wonderful time of the year is back! Get into the holiday spirit with friends and family by enjoying the beautiful holiday lights in Chicagoland.

From the Sparkle Light Festival in Rosemont to ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, each lights show promises to add an extra touch of magic to your holiday season. What’s even better? Watching your children’s eyes go wide as they take in the twinkling lights.

So, bundle up and sip some hot chocolate while exploring these holiday displays. Here are some popular and dazzling attractions in Chicagoland to make your season brighter. 

CHICAGO | NORTH/NORTHWEST SUBURBS | SOUTH SUBURBS | WESTERN SUBURBS

Featured: Sparkle Light Festival

Sparkle Light Festival
Photo credit: Matt Zuro/Sparkle Light Festival

Nov. 17-19, 22, 24-26; Dec. 1-3, 7-10, 14-23, 26-31, 2023

Experience ultimate holiday magic at Impact Field! This winter wonderland transforms the venue with a warm, festive glow. Families can explore five illuminated villages – the Frozen Forest, Snowflake Circle, Winter Wonderland, the North Pole and Deck the Walls. 

There are even more festive activities like meeting Santa Claus, enjoying free rides on the “Holly Trolly” train or tubing down the Alpine Slide. Don’t forget to treat yourself to festive food and beverage options.

Chicago

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo/Julia Fuller

Chicago has many family-friendly attractions with twinkling lights, like Lincoln Park Zoo and the Magnificent Mile.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Nov. 17, 2023-Jan. 7, 2024 

Enjoy a twinkling winter wonderland at Lincoln Park Zoo. Festive activities include visits with Santa, a holiday pop-up bar, sweet treats of all kinds, and more. They also have a sensory-friendly event on Dec. 6.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at Museum of Science and Industry

Nov. 18, 2023-Jan. 1, 2024

This Chicago tradition began in 1942 with a single tree. Now the museum features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree surrounded by more than 50 other trees and displays. Each tree nearby showcases holiday customs from various cultures worldwide.

Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier

Nov. 18-Dec. 31, 2023

  • Address: 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago 
  • Cost: Features free and ticketed activities; $37.50/bundle: ice skating, wheel and axe throwing, $20/ice skating, $5-$12/axe throwing, $15-$18/Centennial Wheel

See Chicagoland’s largest indoor lighting experience. It features interactive light displays, ice skating, toasty fire pits, local artisan markets, heated Centennial Wheel, fireworks on Saturdays and more.

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Nov. 18, 2023

The annual festival happens a week before Thanksgiving. Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World illuminate more than one million lights on more than 200 trees along the route. Plus, enjoy numerous free family-friendly activities. After the event, you can also come back to see the lights during the holiday season.

North/Northwest Suburbs

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Photo credit: Lightscape/Chicago Botanic Garden

Families in the north suburbs will be delighted on the holiday lights displays to explore nearby. 

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden

Nov. 10, 2023-Jan 7, 2024 

See thousands of twinkling lights while walking through the Winter Cathedral and a reimagined fire garden.

Arctic Adventure at Six Flags Great America

Nov. 17-Dec. 31, 2023

Enjoy a drive-through light experience at Six Flags Great America on select nights, where you’ll see whimsical lights and winter characters. There will also be Carousel Lights & Market where there will be photo ops, holiday treats and décor in Carousel Plaza and Orleans Place.

Sparkle Light Festival

Nov. 17-19, 22, 24-26; Dec. 1-3, 7-10, 14-23, 26-31, 2023

Visitors can see lots of holiday lights and do fun outdoor activities like train rides, tubing, and mazes. A special menu of festive food and beverage options will also be available. 

Willow Hill Lights at Willow Hill Golf Course

Nov. 17, 2023-Jan. 6, 2024

The holiday lights show features a 1.6-mile route. It includes over one million lights, three drive-thru tunnels, and a 30-foot Christmas tree.

Kohlights: A Mesmertastic Holiday Lightacular! at Kohl Children’s Museum

Nov. 24-26; Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 2023

Kids can take control over the light display at different activity stations along the way at this holiday event. New this year, it is an indoor and outdoor experience.

Holiday Magic in Motion at The Promenade Bolingbrook

Nov. 11, 2023-Jan. 7, 2024

Promenade visitors can stroll through a world of twinkling lights, see 11 illuminated displays, magical candy canes and see Santa.

Christmas in the Commons at New Lenox Commons

Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23, 2023

See a holiday light display with their 50-foot tall lighted Santa Claus and holiday activities to accompany the lights, including visits from Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, synthetic skating rinks, visits from reindeer and more.

Western Suburbs

Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum
Photo credit: Illumination: Tree Lights/Morton Arboretum

Get ready for holiday fun with these family-friendly attractions to lighten up your holiday season. 

Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum

Nov. 18, 2023-Jan. 6, 2024

Surround yourselves with color while walking on the one-mile paved pathway. Enjoy seasonal music, captivating light designs and roasting s’mores on a fire at this outdoor event. 

Naper Lights in Downtown Naperville

Nov. 23-Dec. 31, 2023

Wear 3D glasses and have fun at a special holiday lights event hosted by Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Santa will be available to take pictures.

Winter Lights at Central Park

Nov. 23, 2023-Jan. 7, 2024

Enjoy a half-mile walk to see the holiday lights through Central Park. See inspirational signs, colorful rainbow arches, cascading snowflakes and more. 

Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights

Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 2023

See twinkling lights, an amazing selection of Christmas trees and wreaths and greenery at this holiday lighting event. Lights come on at 3 p.m. Also, hot chocolate and holiday gifts are available to purchase in the Wild Side Gift Shop. 

Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo

Nov. 24-26, Dec. 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, 26-31, 2023

This annual event features more than two million twinkling LED lights and is Chicagoland’s longest-running holiday light experience! Advanced tickets required.

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park

Dec. 2, 2023-Jan. 1, 2024

This annual holiday lights display in Lilacia Park features tree decorations, magical light shows, a gingerbread house and more. Kids can visit with Santa every Friday-Sunday from 6-8 p.m. Also, holiday characters, cookies and hot cocoa.


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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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