See our list of the best places in Chicagoland to view Christmas tree lights this holiday season!

Updated for 2022! The 2022 holiday season is here and there is more to do this year for the holidays since before the pandemic. Festivals including Krampus fests and Christkindlmarkets can be found throughout the Chicago area as well as shows and other festivities. Families are also making their plans to get together for the holidays.

Each holiday season, there is a wide variety of Christmas light displays throughout the Chicago area including the city and suburbs. Many of these light displays are up until the new year which gives you plenty of time to arrange visits with your family and take in multiple displays. Visiting Christmas light displays is a fun activity, and you can view the displays on foot and or from your vehicle in cold weather.

When people think of Christmas trees and other holiday decorations, holly trees and pines are typically the first that come to mind.  The dark green leaves and bright red drupes of holly trees are found on wreaths and other decorations while pine trees are commonly used as Christmas trees.  However, the holiday light displays found throughout the Chicago area do not limit themselves to just these types of trees.  Trees of all types are lit up this time of year with bright, colorful holiday lights to celebrate the season.  All throughout Chicagoland, residents can view impressive light displays in cities, parks, and even in their own neighborhoods.

Taking in Christmas tree light displays is a favorite holiday season past time for many.  Some events may charge a fee to enter but there are also plenty of opportunities to see Christmas tree lights without spending a dime.  In this guide, we will highlight the best places where you can see Christmas tree light displays throughout the city of Chicago and the suburbs.  Visiting these impressive light displays is a safe family activity for this holiday season.

If you want to make sure your trees receive the proper care that they need to survive the winter, call our experts at Hendricksen Tree Care.  We provide complete tree services including tree trimming to get your trees prepared for the winter.

Aurora’s Festival of Lights

The first holiday light display is the Aurora Festival of Lights that takes place in Philips Park in Aurora, IL.  The Aurora Festival of Lights is a giant display sprawled out through the entire park that includes lights shaped like reindeer, elves, and stockings as well as lights on the trees. This display is free to attend, and it is open from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas day from 5 pm to 9 pm every day of the week.

Lehnertz Avenue Christmas Display

The Lehnertz Avenue Christmas Display is a neighborhood display that is also in Aurora, IL.  Each year, the residents of Lehnertz Avenue put out lights and displays that depict the birth of Jesus Christ as well as lit up Peanuts characters.  Visitors drive through the neighborhood to take in the lights and displays that illuminate the entire street.  The drive down Lehnertz Ave concludes at a life-size, brightly lit up Nativity scene. This display is free to attend, and people can visit from 5 pm to 10:30 pm from December 12 through January 7.  The hours are 5 pm to midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Festival of Lights Winter Walk

The Festival of Lights Winter Walk in Bolingbrook is behind the Town Center and features many light displays around the pond.  There are also several events happening throughout the season at the Winter Walk including Bonfire & S’mores, Hot Chocolate with Santa, and Senior Nights.  This event is free to attend and open December 3 through January 8 from dusk until 10:00 pm.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo is a big holiday light display spread out across the entire zoo.  This display includes ice sculptures, a 41-foot talking Christmas tree, and more than a million lights. Visitors can see the light display at the Brookfield Zoo every Wednesday through Sunday December 1-4, 7-11, and 14-18, and Monday through Saturday December 26-31 from 3 until 9 pm.  It is free for members to attend, but non-members must buy tickets.

Christmas Tree in Millennium Park

Each year, a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree is decorated with several thousand Christmas lights in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.  This tall tree really stands out against the Chicago skyline as its backdrop and it is right around the corner from other popular holiday activities such as the Christkindlmarket that happens in Daly Plaza.  Visitors can see the Christmas tree from mid-November until January 9 and there is no cost to walk through Millennium Park.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light displays are annual displays at the Museum of Science and Industry that have been a tradition since 1942.  The main Christmas tree of this display is four stories tall and there are more than 50 smaller Christmas trees and displays that surround the main tree.  Each tree is decorated to represent holiday traditions from other cultures and countries. Visitors can see these displays in the museum from mid-November through January 8 and the price is included in the museum entrance fee.

The Magnificent Mile


View the Christmas lights on display this year at Chicago’s Magnificent Mile!

Each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Magnificent Mile transforms into a mile-long holiday light display that consists of Christmas trees and more than a million lights.  Visitors can walk up and down the Mag Mile, taking in the festive light display while visiting the famous shops and restaurants.  While shopping on the Magnificent Mile can cost you, it is free to walk the strip and view the holiday light displays.

Lincoln Park Zoo Zoolights

For the past 25 years, the Lincoln Park Zoo has put on the Zoolights festival featuring holiday light displays throughout the zoo.  This event features around 2.5 million lights and other holiday festivities such as holiday crafts and Santa Claus. Zoolights runs from 4:30 pm to 10 pm November 19 through January 1, but is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.  Tickets are $5 and admission is free on Mondays.

Light Up the Lake

Light Up the Lake is an impressive indoor Christmas light display at Navy Pier.  Visitors can enjoy the 42-foot-tall Christmas tree along with thousands of lights in the 170,000 square foot indoor space protected from the harsh winter weather.  In addition to the Christmas tree and light displays, Light Up the Lake includes an indoor skating rink, Ferris wheel, live snow globe, and other attractions.  This festival runs from November 25 through January 7 and those visiting must buy tickets for the event.

Illumination – Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum


Come visit the Morton Arboretum this year for their special Illumination light display

The Morton Arboretum covers more than 50 acres in Lisle, IL and during the Christmas season, the trees of the arboretum are lit up for its Illumination festival.  This a different kind of Christmas light display as the trees themselves are not decorated with holiday lights.  Rather, interactive lighting effects are used to illuminate the trees as visitors walk down the path.  The lights highlight the beauty of the trees and holiday music accentuates the display. This event runs from November 19 through January 2 and visitors must buy a ticket to attend.

Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field in Rosemont

The Sparkle Light Festival is a holiday light display and festival taking place at Impact Field in Rosemont.  This large, immersive display features over one million holiday lights in five themed-based illuminated villages with timed light shows.  Guests can also enjoy train rides, mazes, and a winter tubing slide as well as food and drinks.  This display runs from November 18 through January 1 and visitors can buy tickets for entry to the festival and premium ticket packages with add-on experiences.

Amaze Light Festival in Tinley Park

The Amaze Light Festival is being held at Odyssey Fun World in Tinley Park.  This festival features large displays with a million twinkling lights, themed worlds to explore, stage dancers and singers, music, food and drinks, and more.  Visitors can also check out the Amaze holiday market and kids will love Zing’s Toyporium where they can make their own toys.  The Amaze Light Festival runs on select dates between November 18 and January 8 from 4 until 10 pm.  Visitors must buy tickets.

Chicago Botanic Garden Lightscape in Glencoe

Lightscape is a holiday light display at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe that features thousands of twinkling lights, music, and a fire garden.  The display also includes the iconic Winter Cathedral.  This event runs from November 11 through January 8 from 4:30 to 11 pm.  Visitors must buy tickets.

Kohlights at Kohl Children’s Museum

Kohlights is an immersive holiday light display at the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview.  The interactive light display allows children to change the light and colors of the display using glow stick learning wands so they can explore different hues and patterns.  The event is running at the museum November 26-28 and December 3-5, 10-12, 17-23, and 26-29.  Visitors must buy museum tickets to enter, members get a $5 discount.

Festival of Lights at Cosley Zoo

The Festival of Lights at Cosley Zoo in Wheaton features displays with more than 20,000 lights and lighted animal figures.  The zoo also has a sale during the festival that includes Christmas trees, wreaths, and greenery.  This festival runs from November 25 through December 30 from 3 to 9 pm.  The zoo is closed on Christmas Day and open from 9 am to 12 pm on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  It is free to get into the zoo, but donations are appreciated.

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park in Lombard

The holiday lights display in Lilacia Park is put on by the Lombard Park District.  The display includes light shows, trees decorated with holiday lights, a gingerbread house, and complimentary hot cocoa and cookies for kids who visit Santa on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.  You can visit the light display December 3 through January 1 from 4:30 to 8 pm, every day of the week.  It is free to attend, and donations of unused and unwrapped toys are accepted.

Let it Shine Lights Show

The Let it Shine Lights Show is a drive thru light display at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg and Northbrook Court in Northbrook.  These displays feature more than a million LED lights, and the light shows are synchronized to holiday songs.  You can visit either location from November 18 through January 1 from 6 to 10 pm.  Visitors must buy one ticket per vehicle.

Winter Tree Care Services from Hendricksen Tree Care Throughout Chicagoland

If you love to see Christmas light displays with your family, check out the events listed above to see the most impressive tree displays that the Chicago area has to offer.  There are several light displays that happen in some of the most popular areas in Chicago and many of these events are totally free to visit.  Regardless of which combination of events you choose to attend, you will be treated to some of the most impressive Christmas tree lights and light displays throughout the Chicago area.

It is important to remember that your trees may be in need of maintenance before the winter weather fully sets in.  Certain fertilizer treatments and winter tree pruning can help your trees better survive the harsh Chicago winter season.  Make sure you call our professional arborists at Hendricksen Tree Care to give your trees a final inspection and the care they need to survive the cold weather and grow back strong in the spring.

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