Chicago Winterfests

From the tried-and-true to some neighborhood newcomers, we’ve collected the best list of holiday festivals happening across the city and suburbs.

Holiday Walk and Tree Lighting

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.


Roscoe Village Winterfest

Kickoff the holiday season with the annual tree lighting and late night shopping on Saturday. Enjoy kids’ activities on Sunday plus trolley, choirs and Santa.


St. Lucia Celebration

Andersonville’s Lucia celebration includes a procession starting at 4:45 p.m. from the Museum and returns for a program at 5:15 p.m. At 7 p.m., the celebration continues at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, with holiday songs, readings and a final Lucia procession.


Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

170,000 square feet of holiday fun features indoor ice skating, entertainment, rides and inflatable slides. There are also thousands of glistening lights, plush holiday décor, and holiday trees. Dec. 3-Jan. 8.


ZooLights

ZooLights celebrates wintertime fun with more than two million lights to illuminate the zoo. This free event transitions Lincoln Park Zoo into a twinkling winter wonderland. The event is complete with visits from Santa himself, ice sculptors, holiday crafts and activities, and sweet treats of all kinds.



Christkindlmarket Chicago

Discover a traditional centuries-old holiday market in the heart of downtown Chicago. Christkindlmarket features German and international vendors who display hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique gifts as well as traditional German foods, sweets and beverages. School groups, professional singers and dance groups perform. Special events include appearances by the Christkind and the annual Children’s Lantern Parade, which celebrates St. Martin’s Day. Nov. 18-Dec. 24.


Festival of Lights

Families can drive through a mile of lighted holiday displays,many of them animated. There is no charge to drive through thepark, but donations are requested. Proceeds benefit localcharitable organizations.

Get more information at the website.


‘Twas the Month Before Christmas…at the Rialto

Festivities include a display of decorated Christmas wreaths that you can bid on, a showing of a family movie, Teddy Bear Tea and Santa’s Workshop, holiday concerts and other special events. Visit website for complete schedule.



Celebration of Lights Festival

Santa arrives and helps with the annual tree lighting ceremony for the city. Includes hayrides, roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and hot dogs for sale, community sing-a-long, visits with Santa and a craft market.




Brookfield Zoo Annual Holiday Magic

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. 18). In addition, select animal habitats will remain open, as will zoo restaurants and gift shops. A full schedule of music and live entertainment, a magic show, costumed characters, a model railroad display, and more will add to the magical ambiance.


Christmas in the Valley

See how German-American farm families in 19th century Schaumburg celebrated Christmas with traditional foods, simple homemade gifts and a continuation of their daily farm chores. Meet a traditional St. Nicholas and enjoy a cup of soup by the fireplace at the log cabin. The day will include refreshments, holiday treats, cookie decorating for the kids and craft activities.



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