Chicago's Best Lights Events

Posted: November 08, 2021

Holiday Guide Presented By:

The Season's Best Holiday Lighting and Light Events

LIGHT IT UP! This Holiday season, you can experience holiday lighting events all through November and December! Light up your season with Tree Lightings, Drive-Thru Light Shows, and Light Displays and Experiences. We've rounded up the best Holiday Light Events in Chicago and the surrounding areas right here. Start celebrating the holiday season now!

Events are listed by start date. Find more holiday events in our Holiday Events page.

The following upcoming events are listed by start date.

Festival of Lights Tree Lighting and Nightly Holiday Show
November 6 - December 31
The Promenade Bolingbrook, 631 East Boughton Road, Bolingbrook
We’re thrilled to be partnering with The Village of Bolingbrook to kick-off this holiday season with more merriment and cheer! Opening day activities during the afternoon include holiday market craft and vendors from 10am - 8pm; Live Music: Mike & Tracy Duo: Noon – 1 pm near Rock Bottom; Kids’ Holiday Crafts: 2 – 4 pm near Versona; Visits with Santa: 3 – 6 pm on Hemingway and the Tree Lighting at 6 pm. The lighting show continues nightly through December 31. All ages. Free. Learn more.

November 12 - January 2
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
The popular holiday event is back, with a new path and exciting new delights! We’ve got inventive new installations and all your favorites too. Hum along to the melodic tunes of the singing trees. Surround yourself in the twinkling glow of the Winter Cathedral, and find new features that shine with all the colors imaginable. This holiday season, set a merry mood with friends and family. Book your time slot. Tickets From $12 kids/$24 adults. Learn more.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
November 17 - January 3
Museum of Science and Industry, 57th St. and Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Explore rich holiday traditions from around the globe while creating your own traditions with loved ones in Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light. The Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof. All ages, regular admission applies. Learn more.

Chicago's Official Christmas Lighting
November 19
Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue between Randolph/Monroe, Chicago
Chicago's "official" Christmas tree, the 108th Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park, will shine brightly near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. from November 19 through January 9. All-virtual in 2020, this year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by Powering Chicago with leadership support from the Millennium Park Foundation will be in-person on Friday, November 19 starting at 6pm (with the actual lighting at approximately 6:30pm). Tree Lighting Ceremony followed by fireworks and a special concert from 6:35–7:45pm headlined by singer-songwriter Brian McKnight. Learn more.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
November 19
Join The Wrigley Building for a holiday tree lighting ceremony at 4 p.m. in The Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza on Friday, November 19, to kick-off the festive weekend. Free, family fun culminates in the grand Tree-Lighting Parade down North Michigan Avenue on Saturday, November 20 with Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World® Resorts in Florida. The event-filled day begins at 11:00 a.m. starting at Lights Festival Lane (401 North Michigan Avenue) with a festive thoroughfare of booths and family activities, including photos with Santa Claus. The parade of fabulous floats, giant helium balloons, exciting marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, Santa Claus, and more begin at 5:30 p.m., helping us illuminate the more than 200 trees along The Magnificent Mile. Learn more.

November 19 - January 2
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
Taking place on select dates November 19–January 2. Chicago’s favorite holiday tradition is back and better than ever in 2021 with our new Pepper Family Wildlife Center open to guests, a new holiday lights experience on our Main Mall, and an exciting new light show on our South Lawn. ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ is a cheerful, family-friendly holiday event in the heart of the city. Tickets are required for all guests, including infants and children. Monday and Tuesday nights are free and Wednesday-Sunday tickets are $5. Learn more.

Amaze Light Fest
November 19-January 2
Rosemont's Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont
Open select dates November 19-January 2, see web site for schedule. Visitors can enjoy outdoor holiday activities for all ages amongst an immersive display of more than one million holiday lights. In addition to enjoying timed light shows and seven theme-based illuminated worlds, AMAZE guests can take advantage of tubing on “Polar Peak,” a holiday market, festive food and beverages, a candy shop and more. Get tickets online. From $23 adults and $18 kids 2-12. Learn more.

Willow Hill’s Winter Magic | A Drive-Thru Christmas Lights Experience
November 20-January 2
Willow Hill Golf Course, 1350 Willow Rd., Northbrook
Drive-thru one mile of the most amazing, mesmerizing, WINTERrifically magical holiday light experiences you've ever laid your gazers on! Peek inside the North Pole’s toy land, road trip through a 250-ft animated video tunnel, watch Santa instruct his Reindeer Flight School, get breezy in our beautiful snowflake valley and join Frosty on his winter adventure. Want to avoid the line, then come and dine for the ultimate holiday, family experience! The magic takes place every night at Northbrook's Willow Hill Golf Course Saturday, November 20th through Sunday, January 2nd. Learn more.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
November 20-January 2
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
Be surrounded by color as you walk a one-mile paved path amid interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. You will be awed and delighted to see returning favorites and surprising new sights. Enjoy seasonal music, marvel at ever-changing, captivating lighting designs, and warm up by a crackling fire with a cozy drink or roast marshmallows for s’mores. Illumination will highlight the many gifts of trees: natural beauty, increased feelings of peace and calm, homes for wildlife, and the air we breathe. Learn more.

Naper Lights
November 25 - January 1
Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St., Naperville
Enjoy this free dazzling display of holiday lights and sound as you stroll down Water Street, Foyo Plaza, Jaycees Park and the Riverwalk in Downtown Naperville. Fridays and Saturday evenings (weather permitting) grab a holiday photo with Santa alongside the Great Tree. 4-10pm. Learn more.

Kohlights: A Mesmertastic Holiday Lightacular
November 26 - December 31
Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago, 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview
Select Dates Nov 26 - Dec 31. Kids take charge in the area’s newest holiday light display. It’s more than just a walk through the festive holiday lights in Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest outdoor activity: Kohlights. Children can control and change the lights, so it’s a different lightacular experience every time. Enjoy the full lightacular experience, Nov 26 – 28, Dec 3 – 5, 10 – 12, 17 – 23, and 26 – 31. Register for timed 30 minute entry window. Learn more.

Festival of Lights
November 26-December 30
Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave., Wheaton
A winter visit to Cosley Zoo has become a favorite family tradition. Cosley Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights, an amazing selection of Christmas trees, wreaths and greenery, hot chocolate and an unique assortment of holiday gifts in the Wild Side Gift Shop. 9am - 9pm. Donations appreciated. Learn more.

Holiday Magic
November 26-28, December 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 26-31.
Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
The Zoo’s West Mall will be aglow with the new "Sea of Lights," featuring a colorful display created with lights measuring one mile long. Inside the North Gate, be dazzled by the 41-foot-tree as it "dances" to choreographed music. Guests can also view more than 600 decorated community and corporate trees along the malls and around Roosevelt Fountain. Several animal areas will be open, including dolphin presentations at 4 and 6 p.m. Learn more.

Aurora Festival of Lights
November 26 - December 26
Phillips Park, Smith Blvd. at 5th Ave., Aurora
One of the largest free outdoor drive-through holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, the Aurora Festival of Lights returns for its 15th year in 2021 with dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children. This signature winter event is a drive through of more than one mile of spectacular lighted displays at Phillips Park. Come see the new Helicopter Display and you will also enjoy Santa’s Toy Factory, Old Man Winter, elves and reindeer, holiday trains, gigantic snowflakes, beautiful lighted swags on the fence line surrounding the zoo and other seasonal favorites. 5-9pm. Donations appreciated. Learn more.

Tree Lighting at Gallagher Way
November 29
Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark St., Chicago
Gallagher Way will host a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the holiday season on Monday, November 29. Neighbors are welcome to gather for an evening filled with holiday cheer and a musical performance followed by the official tree lighting. After the ceremony, guests can enjoy shopping at the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville and skating on The Rink at Gallagher Way. 6pm. Learn more.

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park
December 4 - January 2
Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave., Lombard
Enjoy Lombard Park District’s annual holiday lights display in Lilacia Park! Charming holiday displays illuminate the park from 4:30 – 10:00 pm each night with magical light shows, tree decorations, a gingerbread house and so much more! New this year, visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation. Be sure to also enjoy Lombard Park District’s other holiday spectacular events this season. Learn more.