8 Places to Visit for Christmas Lights


BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

The 28th Annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival rings in the 2019 holiday season with two days of free, family-friendly activities in Chicago. The celebration culminates in an evening tree-lighting parade along North Michigan Avenue.

On Saturday evening, November 22, Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World® lead the parade and light more than one million tree lights along the route – from Oak Street to the Chicago River.

The Lights Festival concludes with a fantastic firework display over the Chicago River. The parade is broadcast on ABC7 Chicago and aired in more than 90% of the nation during the holiday season, with repeat airings in multiple markets.

All activities are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events and special holiday offers from area businesses, visit TheMagnificentMile.com.

City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting

This year marks the City of Chicago’s 106th anniversary of its Christmas Tree Lighting, taking place at Millennium Park on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. This highly anticipated event draws people of all ages to see the lights adorning the 60-foot evergreen switch on for the season. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the tree lighting at Michigan Avenue and Washington Street officially happening at 6:30 p.m. The evening includes live carolers and special performances.

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

The annual winter festival at Navy Pier is Chicago’s coolest and biggest indoor holiday playground. Winter WonderFest features an ice skating rink, Ferris wheel, carousel, and huge inflatable slides for hours of kid-friendly fun. Massive snowflakes and thousands of icicle lights dangle from the ceiling, with more than 400 evergreens in all their trimmings adding to the holiday glitz. The holiday fest runs from Dec. 6, 2019 through Jan. 12, 2020.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden

This year, the Chicago Botanic Garden will be hosting a magical and immersive holiday experience from Nov. 22, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020. Lightscape is a mile-long path where visitors can admire multi-sensory light installations by artists from around the world. The display will include a towering cathedral of 100,000 lights, colorful tree lights set to music, and an awe-inspiring grand finale.


Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago becomes a bustling Christmas market filled with twinkling lights and holiday magic. The free-admission market — which celebrates 24 years in 2019 — is inspired by the Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany. Browse the stalls to shop for handcrafted holiday gifts (ornaments, knit caps, cuckoo clocks, and more), while enjoying spiced wine, strudel, sausage, and other traditional treats from Nov. 15 – Dec. 24, 2019. http://www.christkindlmarket.com

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

This spectacular holiday lights display transforms Chicago’s free Lincoln Park Zoo into a breathtaking winter wonderland on select dates from Nov. 29 through Jan. 5, 2020. During ZooLights, more than two million twinkling lights illuminate the zoo grounds, including larger-than-life animal designs and light shows set to music. Holiday crafts and activities, and, of course, sweet treats, round out the fun. Be sure to swing by the Helen Brach Primate House for a visit with Santa Claus, take a ride on the Lionel Train Adventure through the snowy birch forest, or go ice skating past ponies and goats at the rink at Farm-in-the-Zoo.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Wander through a magical, light-filled mile during Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum from Nov. 23, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020. Marvel at the stark beauty of trees in winter as they’re illuminated by interactive, ever-changing lighting effects. Plus, enjoy seasonal music, bonfires, s’mores, warm drinks, and more.

ILLUMINATE 900: Tree Lighting Ceremony 2019

Thursday, November 21st be ready for a magical kick-off to the Holidays: Illuminate 900! With a 50ft tall tree holding center court and surrounded by seasonal delights like sugar-cookie decorating, live holiday performances, and take an “Elfie” with The Real Elf, this evening is sure to usher in the holiday spirit! You won’t want to miss the countdown when Santa himself pulls the switch to shine the first holiday lights on The Magnificent Mile!

Stay tuned for a link to reserve your tickets! https://www.shop900.com/event/illuminate-900-tree-lighting-ceremony-2019/

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