Chicago Tree Lightings and Light Fests

Posted: November 09, 2017

This year's holiday events are already getting underway, and the season features many holiday lights events! Many kick off with tree lighting ceremonies, so we've pulled together the best of this holiday 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.

Festival of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 11
The Promenade Bolingbrook, 631 East Boughton Road, Bolingbrook
The Promenade Bolingbrook is all aglow! Join the Festival of Lights featuring our a lighting ceremony complete with a 48-foot-tall tree decorated with more than 250,000 LED lights synchronized to music. Before the tree lighting, families can visit with Santa, enjoy wagon rides, ice sculptures, ornament-making, cookie decorating and more. The tree lighting ceremony starts at 6:15pm and is sponsored by The Village of Bolingbrook. Learn more.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
November 16 - January 7
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.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
November 17-18
Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
On Friday November 17, for its 26th Anniversary celebration, Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court opens 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. Explore an interactive wonderland of holiday-themed activities. Sample treats from crowd favorites Connie’s Pizza, Garrett Popcorn, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company and more. A grand Tree-Lighting Parade down Michigan Avenue marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida steps off at 5:30PM. Then on Saturday from 11am - 4pm, enjoy an interactive wonderland of holiday-themed activities. Learn more.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum 
November 17-January 1
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
From November 17, 2017 through January 1, 2018, 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees will glow in mesmerizing hues of blue, green, purple, and magenta. Along the wooded one-mile path, visitors will discover a series of experiences that encourage them to see trees in a different light. Visitors can see a grove of hemlock trees’ color transform from green to technicolor hues, and catch a glimpse of trees that appear to be gently breathing. Additionally, visitors can hug a tree and watch it respond or enjoy a dazzling show of lights that appear to dance in the trees in time to music. Learn more.

Chicago’s 104th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 17
Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue between Randolph/Monroe, Chicago
Enjoy this holiday tradition, a glittering tree set among Chicago’s sparkling skyline and the iconic art of Millennium Park. The tree lighting ceremony starts at 6pm. Entertainment will include cast members from Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol performing musical selections from the show plus traditional holiday carols. 70 students from the Oakdale Christian Academy Choir will perform inspirational holiday music. And the rising country music trio comprised of sisters Emma and Maddie Slute and Dawson Anderson will perform. Learn more.

Light Up The Holidays Party
November 20
Bourbon Street at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E Main Street, St Charles
Join Pheasant Run Resort for the official lighting of the Christmas Light Spectacular courtesy of iPANiC Escape Rooms. They're going all out this year on decorations courtesy of iPANiC Escape Rooms, and Bourbon Street will be lit up like a Christmas tree, and set to music. This holiday event kicks off Holiday Homecoming week in St. Charles, and families can join in for hot cocoa, cookies, candy canes, and of course a Christmas Light Spectacular. The display will be up through the holiday season Event is free, from 6-8pm. Learn more.

ZooLights
November 24-January 7
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
Join us for the brilliance of this fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. Lights are up during regular zoo hours November 23 - January 7m with special ZooLights Activities taking place November 24–26, December 1–3, 8–23, 26–31 and January 1–7 from 4:30 - 9pm.. Activities include Photos with Santa (through December 23), 3D displays, Warm spiced wine and frosty lager, Delicious holiday snacks, Holiday gift shopping, Live ice-sculpture carving, Carousel, train, ferris wheel, Light Maze and much more. Free admission, fees for some activities. Learn more.

ZooLights Festival and Opening Night
November 24-January 7
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
The official lighting ceremony kicks of the festivities on November 24 at 4:25 p.m., at the stairs next to Wild Things gift shop. This fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebration features luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. Lights are up during regular zoo hours November 23 - January 7, with special ZooLights Activities taking place November 24–26, December 1–3, 8–23, 26–31 and January 1–7 from 4:30 - 9pm.. Activities include Photos with Santa (through December 23), 3D displays, Warm spiced wine and frosty lager, Delicious holiday snacks, Holiday gift shopping, Live ice-sculpture carving, Carousel, train, ferris wheel, Light Maze and much more. Free admission, fees for some activities. Learn more.

Light Up The Park
November 24
MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont
MB Financial Park will kick off its winter programming Friday, November 24th with the opening of the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at MB Financial Park and "Light Up the Park" tree lighting event from 5-7pm, featuring a spectacular display of more than 80,000 lights in the park. FREE ice skating begins at 11 a.m. Guests can also enjoy various holiday festivities throughout the day including photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas carolers, ice carving and free horse-drawn sleigh rides around The Park. Learn more.

Naper Lights
November 24 - December 23
Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St., Naperville
Naperville Sunrise Rotary, in partnership with the Naper Settlement presents the Fifth Annual NaperLights event conveniently located in the Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville. The event is being sponsored to bring holiday cheer and festivities to our community during the holiday season. Naper Settlement will be converted into a holiday lights extravaganza with a combination of holiday displays on Thursdays from 4:30-7pm; Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30-9pm, and Sundays 4:30-6pm. Learn more.

Annual Holiday Illuminated Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 25
Grant Community High School, 285 E Grand Avenue, Fox Lake
The Village of Fox Lake welcomes the winter season with their annual Illuminated Parade and this years theme is "Christmas Around the World." Bring the family and join us in watching the glow of the floats make their way down Grand Avenue and Rollins Road all the way to the Towne Center Plaza. Following the parade guests are encouraged to head down to Millennium Park to warm up with hot cocoa provided by El Puerto Restaurant and watch the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The parade lines up at 4pm and gets moving at 5pm. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is at 6:30pm at Millennium Park, with the lighting at 7pm. Learn more.

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 28
The Park at Wrigley, 3637 N Clark St., Chicago
The Village of Fox Lake welcomes the winter season with their annual Illuminated Parade and this years theme is "Christmas Around the World." Bring the family and join us in watching the glow of the floats make their way down Grand Avenue and Rollins Road all the way to the Towne Center Plaza. Following the parade guests are encouraged to head down to Millennium Park to warm up with hot cocoa provided by El Puerto Restaurant and watch the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The parade lines up at 4pm and gets moving at 5pm. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is at 6:30pm at Millennium Park, with the lighting at 7pm. Learn more

Holiday Lights in Homewood
December 1
Irwin Park, 1900 Ridge Rd., Homewood
The signature Holiday Lights in Homewood on Dec. 1 kicks off when the Martin Ave. Outdoor Market opens at 5 p.m. featuring unique vendors, a live reindeer petting zoo and an ice sculpting demonstration. The Southwest Community Concert Brass Ensemble will play seasonal favorites, and an antique car parade precedes the tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Santa and his friends will arrive on a fire engine to flip the switch for the grand tree lighting. Take photos with Santa and enjoy hot cocoa, a bonfire, and holiday music. From 5-9pm. Learn more.

Holiday Magic
December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and Dec 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 (Reindeer, Big Cats, Bears) and special Zoo Chats. There will be a full schedule of nightly music and entertainment in the pavilions. In addition, the zoo restaurants and food stands will be open with full menus and holiday treats, and gift shops will have hundreds of unique items for those hard-to-shop-for loved ones. Learn more