20+ BEST Places to See Christmas Holiday Lights in Chicago & Suburbs

Looking for where to see holiday and Christmas lights in and near Chicago? There are many places in Chicago and the suburbs to see Christmas and holiday lights. (And if you are looking for more festive things to do for the holidays, here are the best things to do in Chicago during Christmas).

There are also drive-thru holiday light shows for families and others that prefer to see holiday lights from the warmth and comfort of their vehicle.

NOTE: Some holiday light shows require advance online reservations and tickets are already available. Don’t wait to book – some popular light displays (including Lightscape and Illumination) sell out quickly!

Christmas and Holiday Lights in Chicago

Below are the best places to see holiday lights in Chicago.

City of Chicago Christmas Tree

City of Chicago Christmas Tree

The 110th City of Chicago Christmas Tree is a 45-foot Colorado Blue Spruce.

When: The Christmas Tree will be lit up from November 17, 2023 through January 7, 2024. The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 17, 2023.

Where: Millennium Park near the intersection of Michigan Avenue & Washington Street.

Cost: FREE.

Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier

Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier is the largest indoor and outdoor holiday experience in Chicago with dazzling outdoor lakefront light displays. Other experiences include outdoor ice skating with a backdrop of Lake Michigan, axe throwing, toasty firepits, holiday workshops, local artisan markets, live music every weekend from local performers and award-winning fireworks on Saturday nights.
Where: Festival Hall at Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

When: November 24 to December 31, 2023.

Cost: Prices vary. Includes both free and ticketed activities.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo


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ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ at Lincoln Park Zoo is a cheerful, family-friendly holiday event in the heart of the city. Zoolights features hundreds of luminous LED displays and seasonal experiences, all under the glow of millions of lights. Tickets are available for purchase.

When: November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024.

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL

Cost: $7–$10. Free on Mondays.

Drive-Thru Holiday Light Shows in Chicago

Light Of Christmas at Guaranteed Rate Field

Light Of Christmas is a new drive-through holiday lights show located at Guaranteed Rate Field (home of the Chicago White Sox). The display features an impressive 1 million lights meticulously programmed to change colors and flicker in harmony with the accompanying songs. The immersive experience includes traversing tunnels and walls made entirely of lights, creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors can tune their radios to 87.9 for a synchronized soundtrack of holiday tunes and upbeat melodies.

Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, 3326 S Wentworth Ave, Parking Lot A, Chicago, IL 60616

When: November 20, 2023 – January 3, 2024

Hours: Open daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: Ticket prices start at $24.99 per vehicle and vary based on time/day and the week/holidays. Tickets are available online here.

Christmas and Holiday Lights Near Chicago

Here are the best places to see Christmas and holiday lights in the suburbs of Chicago.

Illuminated Light Trail at Lightscape

Sparkling tunnel of light at Lightscape Chicago Botanic Garden
Lightscape is an after-dark, illuminated trail with thousands of twinkling lights at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Tickets are on sale. Book in advance – popular dates and times go fast!!

When:  November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024 (select dates).

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022 (24 miles north of downtown Chicago)

Cost: Tickets for nonmembers start at $30 for adults and $17 for kids 3-12. Children under 3 are free. See https://www.chicagobotanic.org/lightscape for full prices and to purchase tickets.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum is a one-of-a-kind, interactive spectacle of color, light, and sound that has been delighting audiences since 2013. Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound. You will be awed and delighted to see returning favorites and surprising new sights, including a special Human+Nature display and an experience featuring 150 colorful lanterns. Journey along a one-mile, paved walking path amid festive music and lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Along the route, warm up by a crackling fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Illumination will highlight the many gifts of trees: natural beauty, increased feelings of peace and calm, homes for wildlife, and the air we breathe. Tickets are available for purchase.

When: November 18, 2023 – January 6, 2024 (select days)

Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532 (28 miles west of downtown Chicago)

Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic

Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic is Chicagoland’s largest and longest-running lights festival featuring over two million twinkling LED lights.

Where: Brookfield Zoo, North Gate Main Entrance: 8400 31st Street (1st Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, IL 60513; South Gate Main Entrance: 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513 (14 miles west of downtown Chicago)

When: November 24-26, 30 and December 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, 26-31, 2023.

Cost: Varies. In 2023, for NORTH GATE ENTRY, Holiday Magic advance tickets are not required; however, if you are not a member of Brookfield Zoo, you may choose to purchase these in advance below. You do not need NORTH GATE ENTRY reservations as a member. Advance reservations ARE REQUIRED FOR SOUTH GATE ENTRY, and parking fees will be charged when you make your reservation. Holiday Magic admission is free for members of Brookfield Zoo.

Sparkle Light Festival

During Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field in Rosemont will be transformed into five illuminated villages with millions of sparkling lights, custom 3D holiday features, ice tube slide, free train rides and festive food and beverages. Sparkle Light Festival also offers interactive children’s activities, letters to Santa and more. Tickets are on sale online now.

When: November 17 – December 31, 2023

Where: Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Avenue, Rosemont, Illinois 60018 (16 miles northwest of downtown Chicago)

Cost: General admission tickets are $24 Adults (13 & Up) and $18 Child (2-12). Alpine slides are an additional $22 per person for unlimited rides.

Kohlights: A Mesmertastic Holiday Lightacular

Kohlights: A Mesmertastic Holiday Lightacular is now an indoor/outdoor holiday lights experience at the Kohl Children’s Museum that is especially aimed at younger children. It’s more than just a walk through -using glow stick learning wands, children can control and change the lights, so it’s a different lightacular experience every time. Tickets are now on sale. All tickets include holiday train ride, access to all experiential holiday light activities, character meet-and-greet, and access to all indoor Museum exhibits as well.

When: Nov 24 – 26, Dec 1 – 2, Dec 8 – 9, and 15 – 16, 2023

Cost: $37 per person for all attendees over 12 months of age. $22 for members. Infants under 12 months of age are free and do not require tickets.

Where: 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview, IL 60026 (22 miles northwest from downtown Chicago)

Winter Lights at Central Park – Oak Brook Park District

Winter Lights at Central Park is a free 1/2 mile walk through the beautifully lit Central Park. The walking path will be a one-way, looped circle with dancing trees, inspirational signs, colorful rainbow arches, cascading snowflakes, and musical hearts and various photo opportunities throughout the scenic walk. Path will be closed during inclement weather. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

When: November 23, 2023 – January 7, 2024, every evening from 4:30-9:30 PM.

Where: Central Park, 1510 Forest Gate Rd, Oak Brook, IL 60523 (20 miles west of downtown Chicago).

Cost: FREE (donations are accepted).

Naper Lights

Naper Lights is a free light display presented by the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise featuring 150,000 lights and a growing collection of giant lighted holiday figures including skating polar bears, penguins sliding on an igloo, skaters, snow men, carolers, gifts, baubles, and dancing trees. While they last, the popular holographic viewing glasses will be available for kids from Rotary volunteers on weekends. Fridays and Saturday evenings (weather permitting) grab a holiday photo with Santa alongside the Great Tree.

Lights on Water Street trees and the Foyo plaza will be synced to music with an enhanced sound system which will project music across the DuPage River, making a drive-through experience for those wishing to stay in their cars as they enjoy Downtown Naperville.

When: 4 PM – 10 PM from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

Where: Downtown Naperville, along Water Street and overlooking the south side of the Riverwalk (31 miles west of downtown Chicago). Visitors can access the display from the Webster Street covered bridge, Main Street and Webster Street.

Cost: FREE (donations are accepted).

Holiday Lights in Lilicia Park

Holiday Lights in Lilicia Park is Lombard Park District’s annual holiday lights display in Lilacia Park. Charming holiday displays illuminate the park during the evening with magical light shows, tree decorations, a gingerbread house and more. On select times during the weekend, families can enjoy free visits with Santa, a magical elf hunt and other events.

When: 4:30 – 10:00 pm daily from December 2, 2023 – January 1, 2024 (Saturday, December 2, 2023 will be the annual Jingle Bell Jubilee event and the lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30 pm.)

Where: Lilacia Park, 150 S Park Ave, Lombard, IL 60148 (23 miles west of downtown Chicago).

Cost: FREE. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation.

Drive-Thru Holiday Light Shows Near Chicago

There are also several drive-thru light shows in the Chicago area happening this year.

Willow Hill Lights

Willow Hill Lights is a drive-through holiday lights show back for its third year with bigger and better displays. This family holiday event features a 1.6 mile route with over one million lights, three drive through tunnels and a 30 foot Christmas tree. Come see the abdominal snowman and Rudolph and his reindeer pals as well as many other holiday favorites such as the Twelve Days of Christmas and Frosty and his friends. One price per car.

Where: 1350 Willow Road, Northbrook, IL 60062 (23 miles from downtown Chicago). Entrance is on Willow Road near Route 43 (Waukegan Road) in between I-94 and I-294).

When: November 17, 2023 – January 6, 2024 (closed during inclement weather)

Hours: Open daily from 5-10pm. Tickets are available by one-hour increment time slots.

Cost: $40 per standard vehicle. Call for bus or limo prices – no RV’s or trailers. Tickets are available online here.

Santa’s Rock N Lights

Santa’s Rock N Lights is Chicago area’s longest running drive thru light show. Experience hundreds-of-thousands of lights dancing to music and themed worlds of light including larger than life 3D polar bears, larger than life 3D dinosaurs and over 700 feet of tunnels. Online ticket purchase required.

Where: Lake County Fair Grounds (Enter in from Midlothian Road Entrance), 1060 E Peterson Rd, Grayslake, IL 60030 (45 miles northwest of downtown Chicago)

When: Open most days November 17- December 31, 2023. Times vary by day.

Cost: Prices vary from $29.99 to $36.99 for one vehicle with up to 6 people. $6.99 extra per person over 6 people. Here is the website for more information and to purchase tickets in advance.

Six Flags Holiday in the Park Lights Drive-Thru Experience

World of Illumination: Arctic Adventure Drive-Thru Experience is a magical holiday drive-through light experience in the parking lot of Six Flags Great America. Join the host, Beti the Yeti, to venture through the parking lot light display, aglow with whimsical lights and winter characters. On select nights, step into the park after your drive-through experience to enjoy Carousel Lights & Market, where you can find delightful holiday treats, photo ops, and décor in Carousel Plaza and Orleans Place. Online reservations are required.

Where: 1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee, IL 60031 (44 miles north of downtown Chicago)

When: Select nights November 17 – December 31, 2023.

Cost: Tickets start as low as $39.99 per car. Guests must have a valid form of admission to Arctic Adventure to enter Carousel Lights & Market. Six Flags Season Passes and Legacy Memberships will not be accepted as forms of admission.

What are your favorite holiday light shows and displays in the Chicago area?


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