It’s that time of year again to celebrate Christmas in Chicago! Are you wondering what there is to do at Christmas time in Chicago? I’ve got you covered with all the magical Christmas Light Displays throughout the city and suburbs.
There is a wide variety of places to see lights from Museums to Zoos to local neighborhoods and botanical gardens. All are fun ways to celebrate the holidays with your family.
Get inspired by this newly updated Christmas Lights in Chicago list for 2020 and make some fun Holiday memories.
**Things are changing fast with social distancing rules or possible shutdowns so keep checking back for updates.
Christmas in Chicago 2020 – Best Holiday Light Displays
Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lightscape
You probably have visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens in the summer but have you seen all the beautiful holiday lights in the wintertime? It’s not to be missed! For the second year in a row, they are bringing back their popular Lightscape Event.
This year the event has been updated for Covid-19 with mask requirements, one-way trails, social distancing, and other adjustments. You can learn more about the requirements at Botanical Gardens.
When you enter the gardens, your eyes will be filled with twinkling lights throughout the garden paths. Visitors will walk through a mile-long lighted path surrounded by a choir of singing trees, hanging ribbons of lights, lighted tunnels, Marshmellow stations, and more.
There is an additional fee to enter the Lightscape exhibit. If you buy your tickets in advance you save $2 a ticket. Last year this event sold out so I would highly suggest you purchase your ticket in advance. Find ticket information here.
Event Runs from November 13th, 2020 – January 35, 2021
Morton Arboretum – Illumination Tree Lights
This year Morton Arboretum has reimagined their Illumination Tree Lights to a drive-through experience. This makes it a safe and fun way to still experience the beautiful lighted trees on a 2-mile drive.
Guests will spend 30-40 minutes driving through multicolored lights, illuminated trees, and festive music. From the warmth of your car, you’ll enjoy old favorites like Symphony Woods and Woodland Wonder. Your kids will be in awe as you drive through this winter wonderland.
To find ticket information and learn more visit Morton Arboretum.
Event Runs November 20, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Related Article – Easy DIY Christmas Card Display Ideas for Home
Museum of Science & Industry
Every year the Museum of Science and Industry hosts its annual Christmas Around the World Display and Holidays of Light. Over 50 beautiful trees are on display representing different countries throughout the world.
Learn about the history and culture of different countries by exploring how they decorate their holiday trees. Your kids will love seeing all the different types of ornaments and big beautiful displays. On weekends you can enjoy live performances too.
There is no additional fee for this event other than your entrance ticket to the museum. However this year you will need to purchase your tickets in advance as they have reserved time-entry into the museum.
Family members over the age of 2 will need to wear a mask and stay socially distanced. Find more details about restrictions in Science & Industry.
Tip: Learn more tips for your visit in our Museum of Science and Industry Review.
Event Opens November 2020 (more details to come)
Related Article – DIY Dollar Tree Christmas Decorations & Hostess Gifts
Zoo Lights – Christmas Light Displays
What could be more fun than Christmas Lights and Zoo Animals! Both Chicago Zoos offer great Holiday Light Events for your family.
Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
Zoo Lights is celebrating its 26th year at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The entire zoo will be aglow with 2.5 million lights and hundreds of holiday displays.
Kids will love finding all the lite up animal figures and the cool light show set to music. Strolling through the light displays and seeing the animals playing at night what could be more fun?
The best part, the Lincoln Park Zoo is Free. Check out more family tips for the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Event dates not announced yet (check back for more details)
Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic
Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic is Chicagoland’s largest light festival. This is the 39th year for Holiday Magic featuring over 1 million twinkling lights, a 41-foot talking tree, ice carvers, an ice skating rink, carolers, and much more.
Make sure to check the schedule when you get there to see all the different events happening that night. We have found this to be a great holiday tradition for our kids and I think yours will love it too.
Currently only outside animal exhibits are open. Visitors can not go into indoor exhibits. There are also timed entrances to get into the zoo as well as a mask rule while walking around.
Entrance to the event is included in your entrance fee. If you are a member it is free. For more information and updates visit Brookfield Zoo.
Tip: Learn more about the zoo in our Brookfield Zoo Guide for Families and be ready for a fun adventure.
Event runs on November 27, 28, 29 – December 2-6, 9-13, 16-20 and 26-31 2020
Drive Through Christmas Light Displays
Why get out and walk around in the cold when you could view the holiday lights from the warmth of your car? Plus it’s the perfect way to watch lights and social distance. Here are a few great options for drive-through Christmas light displays.
Santa’s Rock N Lights Drive-Thru Light Show
Located at the Lake County Fair Grounds in Grayslake, IL you will find Santa’s Rock N Lights. Drive through this amazing Holiday light display which is almost a mile long.
While driving through you will find nearly 1,000 programable elements and over 100,000 programable lights dancing to music. Watch the display all through the warmth of your car and hear the holiday music on your radio.
It’s a great outing on a cold winter night. Pricing is per car for up to 6 people. Find more about pricing here.
Event Runs – Dates to Come (check back for updates)
Lights on Magnolia
A cool neighborhood in Rolling Meadows, IL has worked together to create a synchronize Christmas Light Display on their homes. It’s hard to show how cool the show is in pictures but you’ll love it.
When you enter this neighborhood, you will see a sign for the radio station playing their synchronized music. Sit in your car and listen to holiday music while watching the fun light show.
There are tons of details on each house that keeps the kids interested and excited. You can even get out and walk on the sidewalks to get a better view.
There is no charge to view this light show but they do ask for a donation of non-perishable food which will go to a local food pantry. There are boxes set up to leave your donation. It’s free entertainment for the family plus you can feel good about helping a local food pantry.
As this is in a residential neighborhood please make sure to not block anyone’s driveway. Here is a link to their website Lights on Magnolia
Event Runs – Dates to come (check back for an update)
Sauganash Holiday Lights
This Northwest side neighborhood of Chicago has been a popular destination to see neighborhood Christmas light since the ’60s. You will find 6 blocks of homes uniquely decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah.
It gets pretty busy and on weekend nights. You may even find traffic jams as cars slowly drive though looking at the beautiful lights. Load up on some cookies and hot chocolate and take the kids on a fun drive through this historic neighborhood.
When using GPS put in the corner of Leroy and Albion in Chicago. It’s off Devon just west of the Edens Expressway.
Dates – There are no specific dates for these light displays as they are all on individual homes.
I hope your family can find a few great places to view Christmas Light Displays this year. Our family has enjoyed spending Christmas in Chicago visiting all of these beautiful light displays and I am sure your family will love them too!
Do you know any other great Christmas Light Displays in Chicago? Please share with us in the comments so we can all visit or let us know how you liked visiting the ones on this list. I love to hear from my readers. Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!!
Visit our Holiday Page to Get more Fun Family Ideas this season.
Want More Fun Family Activities in Chicago?
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