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 thorughout the city and suburbs.
There are a wide varitey of places to see lights in the city from Museums to the Zoos to local neighborhoods and amusement parks. All are fun ways to celebrate the holidays with your family. Get inspired by this new updated Christmas Lights in Chicago list for 2019 and make some new Holiday memories.
Christmas in Chicago – 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in 2019
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 winter time? This year they have an all new holiday event called Lightscape.
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. This new exhibit is from London and is making it’s US debut this year at the Gardens. You won’t want to miss it!
There is an additional fee to enter the Lightscape exhibit. If you buy your tickets in advance you save $2 a ticket. I would also suggest you buy your tickets ahead of time to ensure you get the best entrance time. Find ticket information here.
Event Runs from November 22rd – January 5, 2020
Morton Arboretum – Illumination Tree Lights
Every year Morton Arboretum hosts Illumination Tree Lights. Visitors walk a one-mile paved path filled with interactive lighting effects to highlight the many beautiful trees. You can watch multicolored lights dance to symphonic music, view cool artistic tree like sculptures, and let star lights cover you in a grove of trees. A new route has been created this year to allow a more spacious pathway. This is a ticketed event you can find the details and price here.
Event Runs Novemeber 23rd – January 5, 2020
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 preformances too.
There is no additional fee for this event other than your entrance ticket to the museum.
Event runs November 14th – January 5th 2020
Tip: If you go over winter break the museum gets really crowded and the parking lot can fill up. Make sure to arrive early to get the most out of your day. We go every year at this time and even though it’s crowded it’s still a lot of fun for the family. Learn more tips for your visit to Museum of Science and Industry.
Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Great America
In 2018 Six flags started their Holiday in the Park event. After their innaugural year was such a success they have added even more activities to the 2019 event.
You’ll find the park filled with holiday lights and Christmas displays everywhere you turn. There are a few holiday shows with your favorite holiday music in the theater and roaming Christmas Carolers around the park. Kids will love the two outdoor light shows that are timed to go with the music. They will also enjoy the fire pits and s’mores stations set up throughout the park for a snack.
Last year there were only a few rides open but they promise this year to have more rides availabe. However, I would say going this time of year is more for strolling through the light displays then riding the amusement park rides. Learn more about visiting Six Flags Great America with kids.
Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest
Looking for something to do inside on a cold day. Check out Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest. You will find 170,000 square feet of attractions for the kiddos. Wonderfest has rides, giant slides, an indoor ice rink, inflatables, bumper cars, mini golf, fun holiday crafts and so much more. There really is a ton of things to do at Wonderfest for kids. They even have an area for the littlest ones in the family to play.
There is a fee for this fun attraction but you can buy your tickets in advance to save some time. You will find the smallest crowds if you go on weekdays or mornings. They do check bags for security so pack lightly.
We found Wonderfest to be a great indoor option to get into the holiday spirit. Find out more here.
Event runs from December 6th – January 12, 2020 in Festival Hall
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 25th year at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The entire zoo will be a glow 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? Best part, the Lincoln Park Zoo is Free. Check out more family tips for the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Event runs on select dates November 24- January 7th 2020
Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic
Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic is Chicagoland’s largest light festival. This is the 38th year for Holiday Magic featuring over 1 million twinkling lights, a 41-foot talking tree, ice carvers, ice skating rink, carolers and much more.
Animal Exhibits are open till 8pm so if you get cold just pop into an exhibit and visit some of the animals. 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.
Entrance to the event is included in your entrance fee. If you are a member it is free.
Tip: This is a very popular event and it gets crowded. I would suggest getting there earlier in the day, visiting the animals then staying for the lights. If you come once it’s dark there are huge lines to get into the parking lot. If you can even get parking. Read more Brookfield Zoo Tips here and be ready for a fun adventure.
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? 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 is only open on weekends from November 22nd – December 24th
Lights on Magnolia
A cool neighborhood in Rolling Meadows, IL has worked together to create a synchronize Christmas Light Display on their homes. It 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 the holiday music while watch the fun light show. There are tons of details on each house which keeps the kids interested and excited. You can even get and walk on the sidwalks 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
Dates & Times not available yet (pin this article & 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 60’s. You will find 6 blocks of homes uniquely decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah.
It gets prett 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. Their Facebook page is a little out of date Sauganash Holiday Lights but use it to help you find the neighborhood.
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!!
Want More Fun Family Activites in Chicago?
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