The 5 most dazzling Chicagoland holiday light shows

Rather than dwell inside on those dreary, dark winter afternoons, let there be light! Brighten your mood with one of these spectacular holiday light events in Chicago and the suburbs.

Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

If you want to see all the lights the city has to offer, hop aboard a famous Chicago Trolley for an entertaining two-hour narrated tour of holiday sights and dazzling lights. From the magical lights on the Magnificent Mile to State Street and Macy’s holiday windows to Daley Plaza’s 40-foot Christmas tree and Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, this trip captures the spirit of the season.


This should be a staple on your family’s holiday to-do list every holiday season. ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is the best free outing you could ask for, with more than two million lights illuminating the zoo sky and holiday cheer everywhere you turn. The transformed animal winter wonderland includes warm treats and drinks, visits with Santa, crafts, ice sculptors and holiday music. ZooLights runs Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6, then nightly Dec. 11-Jan. 3.

Illumination: Tree Lights

Illumination: Tree Lights is back at the Morton Arboretum, bringing light and nature together for a wintertime walk in the woods like no other. From Nov. 20-Jan. 2, visitors can walk the one-mile path filled with dazzling LED lights and trees that respond to your touch and voice. With new updates, exhibits and effects this year, Illumination shines bright during the holiday season.

Holiday Magic

See the polar bears, sea lions and tigers under the glow of more than one million twinkling LED lights at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic. It’s hard not to feel the magic of the holidays as you walk around at Chicagoland’s largest lights festival. There’s also caroling to the animals, light shows, ice carving, live entertainment and a 41-foot Talking Tree. Holiday Magic runs 4-9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in December and Dec. 26-Dec. 31.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

A visit to the Museum of Science and Industry will brighten your spirit immediately. The one-of-a-kind seasonal celebration, Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights, features 50 trees decorated to represent cultures and holiday traditions of Chicago’s ethnic communities around the museum’s 45-foot grand Christmas tree. This year’s theme is inspired by its exhibit, Robot Revolution. The trees are lit Nov. 19-Jan. 3.

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