holiday lights

Chicago Light Shows: These Are the Holiday Displays Opening Across the Area

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The holiday cheer is brighter than ever across the Chicago area this season as light shows and walk-through experiences are set to open over the next several weeks.

After the coronavirus pandemic forced many holiday events to go virtual, plenty of light displays are making a big return for the 2021 season.

Here's where and how to find some:

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Open Friday to Jan. 2
Tickets will be $5 per person Wednesday through Sunday and free on Mondays and Tuesdays. Purchase tickets here.

This year at ZooLights, there will be sensory-friendly visit times, new lighting concepts on the Main Mall and South Lawn, an enhanced Enchanted Forest experience and an 18-foot holiday tree at the new Pepper Family Wildlife Center, the zoo said.

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum

Open Saturday through Jan. 2
Tickets range in price from $16 to $24 with children under age 2 welcome free of charge. Purchase tickets here.

Along the one-mile path, guests can enjoy seasonal music, sit by a fire, roast marshmallows and take a snack or beverage to-go. This year, the light show will also illuminate the unique Human+Nature exhibit taking place at the arboretum.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden

Open through Jan. 2
Tickets range in price from $12 to $28. Children under age 3 can walk through the show free of charge. Purchase tickets here.

The 1.25-mile trail leads guests through pine trees draped with strings of lights, candles lining pathways and a variety of other holiday light formations, creating a warm glow through which to walk.

Amaze Light Festival at Impact Field

Open Friday through Jan. 2.
Tickets range in price from $18 to $85. Purchase tickets here.

The immersive Christmas lights and music display in Rosemont features snow tubing, Santa's Workshop and seven holiday worlds to stroll through: Deck the Halls, Storybook Village, Sparky's Land of Sweets, North Pole, Whimsical Forest, Tree Farm and Arctic Express.

Santa's Rockin Lights at the Lake County Fairgrounds

Opens Saturday
Tickets range from $19.99 - $34.99. Purchase tickets here.

A drive-thru, animated light show with nearly a full mile of more than 100,000 lights set to Christmas music is coming to Grayslake this weekend.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

The grand-tree lighting and parade down North Michigan Avenue starts at 5:30 p.m. and concludes with fireworks over the Chicago River at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

In its 30th year, the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in downtown Chicago begins at 11:00 a.m., with family-friendly holiday activities at 401 North Michigan Avenue until 4 p.m.

Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park Lighting

The Christmas tree lighting will take place take place at 6 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Washington Street, with in-person holiday performances running through 7:45 p.m.

The 2021 Christmas tree, a 51-foot blue spruce from the city’s Logan Square neighborhood, belongs to the Benavides family. It was cut down earlier this month, and will remain on display through Jan. 9.

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