Chicago's Best Tree Lightings and Fests

Posted: November 08, 2018

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.

Festival of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 10
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, Hat and Mitten Drive for Operation Christmas,Petting Zoo, Horse and Wagon rides and Live Entertainment. The tree lighting ceremony starts at 6:15pm. Learn more.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
November 15 - January 6
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.

Chicago’s 104th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 16
Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue between Randolph/Monroe, Chicago
Enjoy the family fun, featuring hosted by Miguel Cervantes, who can now be seen as Alexander Hamilton in the Hamilton Chicago Company currently playing Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre. Special performances include actress, singer and songwriter Cozi Zuehlsdorff, cast members from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas., musicians from the Grant Park Music Festival...and a special appearance by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Learn more.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
November 16-17
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival returns in 2018 with a full lineup of activities, starting on 4:00PM on Friday, November 16 and then again at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 17. Free, family fun culminates in the grand Tree-Lighting Parade down North Michigan Avenue with grand marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World® Resorts Florida. Learn more.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
November 17-January 1
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. Tickets are available for specific times, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Learn more.

November 23-January 6
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
You are cordially invited to help us flip the switch! At 4:25 p.m., join in on the official lighting ceremony at the stairs to Wild Things gift shop to kick off the festivities. On select dates from November 23 - January 6, 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. 4:30-9 p.m. Learn more.

Light Up The Park
November 23
MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont
Parkway Bank Park will kick off its winter programming Friday, November 23rd 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 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 23 - December 23
Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St., Naperville
Naperville Sunrise Rotary, in partnership with the Naper Settlement presents the Sixth 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. There is no charge for visitors to NaperLights. Learn more.

Christmas Light Spectacular On Bourbon Street
November 24
Bourbon Street at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E Main Street, St Charles
We're going all out on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbon Street will be lit up like a Christmas tree... and set to music. This computerized light show includes over 20,000 pixel lights! Every minute of the show takes five hours to program and our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms put in over 1,000 hours last year! Light show runs on the half hour daily 4-9:30pm through December 25th. Event is free, 7pm-9pm. Learn more.

Annual Holiday Illuminated Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 26
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 Magic
December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and Wednesday-Monday, 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.

Holiday Lights in Homewood
December 7
Martin Avenue between Chestnut Road and Kroner Avenue, Homewood
Musical trolleys travel to unique stores, boutiques, and restaurants filled with gifts and recipes you won't find in any mall. Throughout the downtown, costumed characters and carolers spread holiday cheer. Watch Santa flip the switch for the annual tree lighting ceremony. From 5-9pm. Learn more