Light experiences not to miss around Chicago

The Noonan family tree

1 The Noonan family too-tall has become legendary amongst Chicago-area holiday light spectators. Located just north of Devon and two blocks west of Cicero, at 6601 N. LeRoy Ave., Lincolnwood, the three-story tree, which starts on the first floor, travels through the second and bursts through a hole in the roof.


By mid-December, you can expect to see their tree lit up with 25,000 twinkling LED lights and two real stuffed reindeer in the yard pulling Santa and his sleigh. The dazzling display can stop traffic, so bring some hot chocolate and turn up the holiday tunes.


Plenty of other homes in the neighborhood add to the eye candy, including ones honoring both the Christian and Jewish holidays, making it well worth the ride.


Just how do they get that tree through the roof? “It’s the magic of Christmas,” Mary Noonan says.


2 At the Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show, for $5 a car Monday-Thursday or $10 Friday-Sunday, you can experience the 97 acres of Cuneo Mansion& Gardens in Vernon Hills, all dressed up for the holidays. Turn on the radio for an enhanced experience. 6-10 p.m. Nov. 28-Jan. 3.


3 The Aurora Festival of Lights includes a one-mile drive through Aurora’s Phillips Park. It is free, although donations are more than welcome. Enjoy Santa’s Toy Factory, Old Man Winter, elves and reindeer, holiday trains and some gigantic snowflakes. 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Nov. 28-Dec. 28.


4 If you’re driving toward O’Hare, you can’t miss the Holiday Lights of Rosemont’s vibrant light displays, but they’re even better up close. Starting at 6 p.m. Nov. 30, park on either side of Higgins Road between River and Mannheim (don’t worry, you can’t miss it!) and check out the festive displays on foot. Santa even pays a visit, 6-10 p.m. Dec. 19-23. There’s a living Nativity, too.


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