Holiday Lights in the Chicago Area

Bokeh wave - Christmas lights

Christmas will be here sooner than you think, so now is the time to enjoy all the seasonal events Chicago and the surrounding suburbs have to offer. There are displays of holiday lights of all sorts – private homes, public areas, and ticketed events. Know of a great holiday light display I didn’t include? Comment below and I’ll add it to the list.

Holiday Lights


Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights at the Museum of Science & Industry

  • More than 50 decorated trees, displays, indoor snow, 4-story tree, and more.
  • When: On display now-January 4 during museum hours.
  • Where: Museum of Science & Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
  • Cost: $18 for adults, $11 for children ages 3-11 years old. Prices are discounted by $2 when purchased online.

Holiday Lights Tour with Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co

  • 2 1/2 hour tour of Chicago holiday lights with stops at ZooLights and the Christkindlmarket and a free holiday cupcake.
  • When: November 24-26, December 1-3 and 8-23 with tours at 5:30 pm, 6:00 pm, and 6:30 pm.
  • Where: John Hancock Center, 875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago
  • Cost: $29 for adults, $18 for children ages 5-15.

Holiday Windows at Macy’s on State

  • Windows of the Macy’s store on State Street are decorated in the theme “Reasons to Believe”.
  • When: Now-January 8, 2018.
  • Where: Macy’s, 111 North State Street, Chicago
  • Cost: Free

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

  • Indoor winter playground with displays of holiday lights, rides, ice skating, and more.
  • When: December 1-January 7, opening at 10:00 am daily; closing times vary (see website for full schedule). Closed Christmas Day.
  • Where: Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago
  • Cost: General admission prices vary from $19-$28. Junior admission available for $12-$13 for children 36 inches to under 42 inches.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

  • Colorful light displays and holiday activities.
  • When: December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 26-31 from 4:30 pm-9:00 pm.
  • Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago
  • Cost: Free

North Suburbs

Magical Light Show at Randhurst Village

  • Customized 3-D projections set to dramatic holiday music.
  • When: December 9-16 with shows every half hour from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
  • Where: Randhurst Village, 1 Randhurst Village Drive, Downers Grove.
  • Cost: Free

Park Ridge Lights

  • Private home with impressive light display dedicated to Benicio “Benny” Martinez, a Park Ridge teenager who is fighting cancer.
  • When: Now until December 26 on weekdays and Sundays from 5:00-8:30 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00-9:30 pm.
  • Where: 528 Engel Blvd, Park Ridge
  • Cost: Free, but the family is attempting to raise $50,000 in donations to benefit Benny.

Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden

  • Light show, model trains, indoor snow, and more.
  • When: Now-December 22 from 10:00 am-5:00 pm, December 23-January 7 from 10:00 am-7:00 pm. Closed Christmas. Closes at 3:00 pm on December 1, 18, and 24.
  • Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
  • Cost: $11-$13 for adults, $8-$10 for children ages 3-12. Tuesdays are half-price days. Parking is $25 per car.

Northwest Suburbs

Holiday Lights at MB Financial Park

  • Display of 800,000 lights at Frozemont and free ice rink.
  • When: Began November 27.
  • Where: MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont
  • Cost: Free

Larsens Light Show

  • Christmas light display set to music; this is a private home that won ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight in 2013.
  • When: Runs through the holiday season. Hours vary and are announced on Facebook. Show may be cancelled on certain days depending on weather conditions.
  • Where: 42W891 Beith Rd, Campton
  • Cost: Free. Donations are accepted.

West Suburbs

Festival of Lights at Cosley Zoo

  • 20,000 twinkling lights displayed; Christmas trees for sale.
  • When: November 24-December 30; zoo is open 9:00 am-9:00 pm daily, and holiday lights go on at 3:00 pm.
  • Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 North Gary Ave, Wheaton
  • Cost: Free. Donations are appreciated.

Festival of Lights in Aurora

  • One of the largest free outdoor drive-through holiday light displays in Northern Illinois.
  • When: Day after Thanksgiving-day after Christmas; Sunday-Thursday from 5:00-9:00 pm, Friday & Saturday from 5:00-10:00 pm.
  • Where: Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive, Aurora
  • Cost: Free

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park

  • Thousands of lights in displays covering the park and holiday events.
  • When: Now-January 2, 2018 from 4:15-9:00 pm daily.
  • Where: 150 S Park Ave, Lombard
  • Cost: Free

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

  • Over 1 million lights and holiday activities like ice carving demonstrations, 41-foot talking tree, etc.
  • When: December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 26-31 from 4:00 pm-9:00 pm.
  • Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st Street, Brookfield
  • Cost: $19.85 for adults, $14.50 for children. Save $1 each on tickets when you buy them online.

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum 

  • Nightly show of dazzling LED lights that respond to touch and sound.
  • When: November 17, 2017 through January 1, 2018 from 4:30 pm-9:30 pm.
  • Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rt 53, Lisle
  • Cost: $18-$22 for adults, $12-$14 for children 2-17. Reservations strongly encouraged.

Mooseheart Lights

  • Approximately 2 miles long and 80 lighted displays.
  • When: November 24-December 31 daily from 5:00-9:00 pm.
  • Where: Mooseheart, S. Lincolnway (Rt 31), Mooseheart
  • Cost: $10 per vehicle


  • Holiday lights extravaganza; in the Naper Settlement with the Christkindlmarket – Naperville.
  • When: November 24-December 23 on Thursdays-Sundays. Thursdays 4:00-7:00 pm, Friday & Saturdays 4:00-9:00 pm, Sundays 4:00-6:00 pm. Also December 18-20 from 4:00-8:00 pm.
  • Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Weber Street, Naperville
  • Cost: Free. Donations are accepted.

South Suburbs

Symphony in Lights at The Prominade in Bolingbrook 

  • Nightly shows at 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9:00 pm.
  • When: Now through December 31
  • Where: The Prominade, 631 East Boughton Road, Suite 220, Bolingbrook
  • Cost: Free


What’s your favorite display of holiday lights? Comment below!

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