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
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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
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.