Holiday Family Fun at Oakbrook Center

Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook is an outdoor shopping center that has over 150 shops and plenty of dining options, but for the winter holidays they’ve added some extra family fun with a glass house for Santa filled with decorations, an interactive activity, and a digital countdown to Christmas, and an outdoor ice skating rink.

Location: Oakbrook Center, 100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook

Phone: 630-573-0700

Website: Oakbrook Center

Social media:

Reservations: Reservations are available but not required to see Santa. Book online to save time in line!


Oakbrook Center hours

  • Monday-Friday from 10:00 am-9:00 pm through December 7
  • Saturday, December 2 from 9:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Sunday, December 3 from 10:00 am-7:00 pm
  • Friday & Saturday, December 8-9 from 9:00 am-9:00 pm
  • Sunday, December 10 from 10:00 am-8:00 pm
  • Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-10:00 pm through December 15
  • Saturday, December 16 from 8:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Sunday, December 17 from 8:00 am-8:00 pm
  • Daily from 8:00 am-10:00 pm from December 18 through December 23
  • Open 8:00 am-6:00 pm on Christmas Eve

Santa hours –

  • Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am-8:00 pm
  • Sunday from Noon-6:00 pm
  • Special hours December 15-23 from 9:00 am-9:00 pm
  • December 24 from 9:00 am-6:00 pm.

Ice Skating open until February 28, 2018 with hours –

  • Monday-Saturday from 10:00 am-9:00 pm
  • Sunday from 11:00 am-6:00 pm

Cost: There is no cost to visit Santa, but photo packages are available for purchase. Ice skating is $9 for adults, $7 for children 12 and younger, and $5 for skate rental.

We paid: Our experience was complimentary.


Our Experience

I am generally a big whiny baby when it comes to cold weather, but I still love to bundle up sometimes and do some outdoor shopping and other “Christmasy” activities. It just feels more festive outside with pink cheeks and hot cocoa.

We visited Oakbrook Center a couple weeks ago and we were all anxious to start some holiday activities. Of course, Oakbrook Center is decorated for the season to put visitors in the holiday spirit.

We had plans to visit Santa and try out some ice skating, but we decided to start with the big guy.

Santa’s glass pavilion is located just across from the Starbucks near Sears. You open the glass door and find yourself in a Christmas wonderland. There are trees, lights, wrapped gifts, and even giant nutcrackers. It’s really a sight to see!

Santa’s Naughty and Nice list is the first stop and it’s a chance for kids to see if they made the nice list. You can register for this beforehand (I strongly recommend that you do – it’ll make fun a much more fun experience), or parents can register when they arrive. Registering allows you to enter you child’s name, favorite color, pet, favorite sport, favorite subject, and the gift(s) they’d like. You can also enter the level of niceness. When kids check the book at Santa’s pavilion, they’ll see if they’re on the nice list and receive some encouragement to stay there.

There’s plenty to look at as you travel along the path to Santa, including a Christmas countdown to help raise the excitement levels. The kids were a bit distracted by our surroundings and didn’t even notice Santa was waiting for us until we told them.

Santa was very friendly and spent several minutes talking to the boys and making them smile. We had an opportunity to get several photos taken of the boys with Santa, but this is one of my favorites.

We also did some photos with the whole family.

And added some props!

When we were done taking photos and saying our goodbyes to Santa, we each received a special gift – a special pair of holographic holiday glasses. They look like cardboard 3D glasses, but when you put them on they transform lights (like lights on the Christmas tree) into beautiful snowflakes, Santa’s face, or candy canes. They are so cool and the kids couldn’t get enough of them. We’re saving them for all of our holiday outings!

We also got to see all our photos and choose one to be printed out for the photo package. We chose one with Santa and the boys, but we also got a code that would give us access to all the photos online, and we could order more photos or download photos for our own use. Awesome! I think they’ll make some great Christmas cards. And speaking of Christmas cards, we also received a coupon for $25 off on Tiny Prints holiday cards.

After Santa it was time for some ice skating. Some of us had skated once or twice before, but none of us can skate well at all so we were a bit nervous!

The ice skating rink is outdoors, near the Land of Nod. We rented our skates and there is a tented area with seating and tables to change into ice skates. This is Campbell struggling to walk on ice skates for the first time on the foam floor.

Is there anything cuter than itty bitty ice skates?? I think not.

Once we got on the ice we were all a bit wobbly and had to cling to the walls for a bit.

Eventually, we all ventured out and gave it a try. It wasn’t too bad. In fact, Dexter especially loved it. I think he’s definitely going to be ice skating a lot more in the future!

Campbell preferred to hold hands with us for a little extra support, but he had a blast too, and kept asking to skate more, long after John and I were exhausted.

Look – we’re all upright! I was actually surprised how little we fell. There were definitely some spills and some almost falls, but we all managed to be upright most of the time and no one suffered from really wet jeans, thankfully.

I expected us to spend five minutes on the ice before ducking out, but we were probably there for more than half an hour. If we had more experience skating (and not as much soreness from our lack of experience) I’m sure we would have been there even longer. Dexter would have happily spent the entire day there if we let him.

Afterwards we decided to warm up with some food and there are plenty of places to eat at Oakbrook Center. They have a new dining area, The District, with 14,000 square feet of restaurants and indoor dining space. DMK Burger Bar, freshii, and Stan’s Donuts & Coffee are just a few of the delicious options. In the end, we opted for one of our old favorites, Stir Crazy, a large restaurant on the outer edges of the Oakbrook Center.

Thank you to the Oakbrook Center for inviting us our and I hope you get a chance to visit and enjoy some holiday family fun at Oakbrook Center too!

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