6 must-see holiday trees

There’s just something about holiday trees. Each winter, they spring up across Chicagoland, amazing us with their beauty, creativity and sheer size. But if you’re not sure which trees are the most wow-worthy, we’ve got a few suggestions that are sure to solicit oohs and ahhs from everyone – whether you favor dainty white twinkle lights or use a mishmash of homemade ornaments.

City of Chicago’s Christmas Tree

It is really the holiday season if you don’t take a pilgrimage to the city’s official Christmas tree in Millennium Park? The 62-foot Norway Spruce hails from Grayslake and is adorned by more than 48,000 multi-colored lights, making it a pretty epic evergreen. And if you position yourself just so, you should be able to catch its reflection in the Insta-ready Bean. Also nearby? Santa’s cozy house and the popular ice skating rink.

Macy’s Great Tree

The 45-foot-tall Great Tree has been making its home in Macy’s Walnut Room for 110 years. Dine in the shadow of the sparkling tree – fun fact: it hangs from the ceiling, rather than being supported at the base – and be sure to take in the equally impressive holiday windows, themed “Reasons to Believe.”

Brookfield Zoo’s Talking Tree

It’s a good thing Brookfield Zoo calls its festivities “Holiday Magic,” because magic is the only way to explain the 41-foot talking tree. The friendly fir is a guest favorite in a zoo that’s full of them. Be sure to see the Polar Lights, carol to some reindeer and check out the nightly ice carving demos. And a family photo with the chatty conifer is definitely a must.

MSI’s Grand Tree

At the Museum of Science & Industry, you get more than 50 trees for the price of one (which is already included in general admission). After you’re wowed by the four-story Grand Tree filling the Rotunda – it’s decorated to honor the exhibit’s 75th anniversary this year! – be sure to check out the smaller trees that represent different cultures and their holiday celebrations. And on weekends, stick around for performances, make-and-take ornaments and other unique experiences.

Illumination: Tree Lights

These aren’t your traditional triangular(ish) trees, but that doesn’t mean that Illumination: Tree Lights is any less festive. And for our money, Morton Arboretum’s one-of-a-kind event is way more exciting than gaping at an ordinary tree trussed in cranberries and popcorn. After all, at Illumination, you can hug or sing to a tree to make it respond! Plus, there are dancing lights, holiday tunes and delightful refreshments.

Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest Tree

Let’s get real: visiting holiday trees is at least 90 percent about Mom and Dad wanting to get that perfect family photo. But at Winter WonderFest, once you’ve seen the [truly awesome] 42-foot tree and snapped a pic, there’s still plenty else to do. We’re talking ice skating, giant slides and bouncy houses, amusement rides, and enough holiday décor to have you tinseled out.

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