Chicago's Best Tree Lightings and Fests

Posted: November 04, 2019

This year's holiday events are already getting underway, and the season features many holiday lights events! Many kick of with tree lighting ceremonies and events, so we've pulled together the best of this holiday's season's tree lightings and festivals all in one place! These tree lighting and holiday lights events take place all over Chicago and the suburbs. Get ready to start celebrating the holiday season now!

Events are listed by start date.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
November 14 - January 5
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. On the weekends, you can also enjoy live holiday performances. 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.

Festival of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 16
The Promenade Bolingbrook, 631 East Boughton Road, Bolingbrook
Visit with Santa and enjoy fun holiday activities before we light our tree! Activities include: Cookie Decorating, Ornament making, Costume Character meet & greet, Balloon artists and Face Painting, Making a Holiday Card for a Veteran, Petting Zoo, Horse and Wagon rides. At 6:15pm, the Tree Lighting ceremony will begin. The Light Show will immediate follow the ceremony. Learn more.

Chicago’s 106th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 22
Millennium Park's Wrigley Square, Michigan Ave. & Randolph St., Chicago
The program will feature Grammy® Award-winning artist Jonathan Butler and Cielito Lindo, a modern Latino Mariachi made up of the 9-member Lucero family. Performing the traditional music of Mexico. Plus rag doll Eleanor and the elves from Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish - The Musical will show off their wrapping and "rapping.” The musical performances will be followed by a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Learn more.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
November 22-23
The festivities are from 4-8pm Friday and 11am - 4pm Saturday. On Friday, the Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Avenue) opens the evening before the parade with more than a dozen family-friendly activities from Chicago favorites and popular brands—plus live music and a visit with Santa Claus. Saturday, explore an interactive wonderland of holiday-themed activities at Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court including a Kids Zone and Santa Claus. Learn more.

November 22 - January 5
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
This immersive experience along a mile-long path will allow visitors to explore all of their senses, with moments of bold colors, festive fragrance, and whimsical sounds. To build upon the enjoyment of exploring color, imagination and sound, attendees will have the opportunity to toast marshmallows over a fire, sip hot chocolate or cider, get their eggnog fix and more at stations throughout the enchanting trail. All ages. 4:30 – 10 p.m. with last entry at 8 p.m. Tickets required. Learn more.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
November 23-January 5
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
See trees in a different light at Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. You'll be surrounded by color as you walk a one-mile paved path amid interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Enjoy seasonal music, marvel at ever-changing, interactive lighting designs, and warm up by a crackling fire with a cozy drink or roast marshmallows for s’mores. Open most dates November 23, 2019–January 5, check web sites for holidays when the events is not open. Tickets are available for specific times, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Learn more.

Naper Lights
November 26 - December 27
Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St., Naperville
Naperville Sunrise Rotary, in partnership with the Water Street Downtown Naperville, Marquette and Ryan Hill Group presents the 7th Annual Naper Lights event conveniently located in Downtown Naperville on Water Street and along Naperville’s beautiful Riverwalk. Water Street will be converted into a winter wonderland with a combination of holiday displays and music. There is no charge for visitors to Naper Lights. Learn more.

Light Up The Park
November 29
MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont
Parkway Bank Park will kick off its winter programming Friday, November 29th with the opening of the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at Parkway Bank Park and “Light Up The Park” tree lighting event, featuring a spectacular display of more than 80,000 lights in the park. Free activities include Ice Skating on the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink, Strolling Carolers, Sleigh Rides, Santa & Mrs. Claus. Skates rentals available. Learn more.

November 29-January 5
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
Taking place most dates between November 29 - January 5. Join Lincoln Park Zoo in celebrating 25 years of ZooLights. This one-of-a-kind, festive holiday experience offers a free, merry, family-oriented celebration of joy right in the heart of the city. ZooLights features hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activites, all under the glow of 2.5 million lights. We ensure that it will be the hap, hap, happiest season since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye. Learn more.

Festival of Lights
November 29-December 30
Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave., Wheaton
Cosley Zoo has more than 2,400 trees in four varieties ranging from 3’ to 12’! Wreaths, greens, and garland are also available for purchase. All proceeds from this event benefit Cosley Zoo. The Festival of Lights and Tree Sales begin the day after Thanksgiving (11/29/19) and continue through December 30. Learn more.

Holiday Magic
November 30-December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, and Thursday-Tuesday, December 26-31
Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
Holiday Magic is Chicagoland’s largest and longest running lights festival with 1 million twinkling LED lights, plus a 41-ft talking tree, a train display, carolers, ice carvers and more. Many indoor exhibits will be open, plus families can join in Singing to the Animals. There will be a full schedule of nightly music and entertainment in the pavilions. Learn more.

Holiday Lights in Homewood
December 6
Martin Avenue between Chestnut Road and Kroner Avenue, Homewood
Musical trolleys will travel to unique stores, boutiques, and restaurants. Costumed characters and carolers spread holiday cheer, and Santa will flip the switch for the annual tree lighting ceremony. Follow a parade of brightly, decorated antique cars to Hickory Road and watch live ice sculpting demos, take photos with Santa, hot cocoa, bonfire, and holiday music. Learn more.