2015 Chicago Holiday Guide: Christmas Lights & Displays

Posted by Leo Clark. on Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 at 6:18pm.

Chicago Holiday Light Festivals & Christmas Light Displays

Nothing says brightens up the holiday season like festive holiday lights—literally. Starting around Thanksgiving time, cities all over the U.S. host any number of festivals, parades, and events that usually revolve around lighting up a Christmas Tree or putting on a festive light show to ring in the new holiday season, and here in Chicago, we take it to a whole new level.

As many of you know, this weekend is the annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which of course is one of the Windy City’s most anticipated holiday events of the year, but along with that, there’s also plenty of places to check out some holiday lights and Christmas decorations, starting with these most-visited locations:

The Mag Mile Lights Festival - November 21

Although we just mentioned it, here’s a few more details. A parade that runs from Wacker Drive to Oak Street, there’s nothing more festive than Chicago’s very own Mag Mile Lights Fest. In addition to floats, music, a fireworks show, more than one million lights will light up the street’s 200 trees, making for quite the holiday spectacle.

Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony - November 24

If you can’t make it to the Mag Mile Lights Fest, swing downtown on the 24th for the city’s 102nd tree lighting ceremony, which will debut in its new Millennium Park location this year. Festivities begin at 5:30 with the lighting ceremony happening around 6 p.m.

CTA Holiday Train - December 2015

A favorite among Chicago city-dwellers, catch Santa atop his sleigh on the famous CTA holiday train, which runs all through December. Holiday music plays throughout the cars, and the train is fully decked out with decorations, garland-wrapped poles, and you guess it—lots and lots of lights!

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo - November 27 - January 3

A celebration that’s centered on holiday lights, check out the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual transformation into the ultimate winter wonderland. Entering its 21st year, this free event features more than 2 million lights, huge animal light designs, and plenty of holiday craft vendors and activities that are fun for the whole family!

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