Where to see holiday light shows in the Chicago suburbs

  • The AMAZE Light Festival illuminates Impact Field in Rosemont.

    The AMAZE Light Festival illuminates Impact Field in Rosemont. Courtesy of Matt Zuro

Posted12/9/2021 11:42 AM

Feeling a little blue with it getting dark earlier? Here's one solution: Holiday light shows across the suburbs are lighting up the night almost every day of the week throughout December.

But, many have proved so popular that they're already selling out. So, check the website or call ahead to make sure tickets are still available.


Festival of Lights

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Thursday, Dec. 30, at Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton. See thousands of twinkling lights, plus a selection of Christmas trees, wreaths, greenery, hot chocolate and holiday gifts are available for purchase. Lights turn on at 3 p.m. Open from 9 a.m. to noon on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Closed on Christmas and New Year's Day. Free admission; donations are appreciated. cosleyzoo.org.

Holiday Magic

2:45-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 9-12, and Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 15-19, and Sunday through Friday, Dec. 26-31, at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Note: Tickets for nonmembers are sold out on Dec. 11-12 and 18-19, with availability low on other days. More than two million twinkling LED lights, a 600-foot Tunnel of Lights, skating rink, photo ops and more. Secure admission and parking tickets in advance of arriving at the zoo. czs.org/HolidayMagic.

Light Up the Lake

3-9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Sunday, Dec. 19, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. An indoor, temperature-controlled experience featuring large-scale light sculpture displays showcasing more than 600,000 twinkling lights, a regulation-size Alpine ice rink, holiday beer garden, train rides, Santa's Village, gift market and other family-friendly events. The event will close at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve and 8 p.m. New Year's Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day. Tickets are $26 for adults, $21 for kids 3-12, and free for kids 3 and younger. navypier.org/.


4-10 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. Includes a holiday lights experience on the Main Mall and a light show on the South Lawn. New this year: sensory-friendly visit times and an 18-foot holiday tree. $5; free on Mondays and Tuesdays. lpzoo.org.

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A cluster of large disco balls are the centerpiece of Woodland Wonder at the Morton Arboretum's Illumination: Tree Lights in Lisle.
  A cluster of large disco balls are the centerpiece of Woodland Wonder at the Morton Arboretum's Illumination: Tree Lights in Lisle. - John Starks | Staff Photographer
Illumination: Tree Lights

Sold out Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 9-12; tickets available from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Dec. 14-16; sold out Dec. 17-26; tickets available from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 27-Jan. 2, at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. The ninth annual spectacle of color, light and sound returns on a 1-mile walking trail with five new features, including the Human+Nature sculpture Hallow lit up at night. Tickets are $7-$19 for members and $13-$24 for nonmembers. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. mortonarb.org/.

Let It Shine Lightshow

4:30-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 9 at Northbrook Court, 1515 Lake-Cook Road, Northbrook; Fox Valley Mall, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora; and Wintrust Field, 1999 S. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. A drive-through wonderland of light displays synchronized to holiday classics. Online ticket purchase required. $29.99 per vehicle weekdays, $39.99 weekends and holidays, $20 add-on for Fast Pass. shinelightshow.com.

Willow Hill's Winter Magic Drive-Thru Christmas Lights Event

4:30-10:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at Willow Hill Golf Course, 1350 Willow Road, Northbrook. Features more than one million lights adorning displays of characters, Christmas trees, drive-through light tunnels and more. $40. Buy tickets at willowhillswintermagic.com/.

Winter Lights

4:30-9:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 9 at Central Park, Jorie Boulevard and Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. A free, half-mile, illuminated walk along paved pathways. Closed during inclement weather. The Cocoa Cabin will be selling cookies, candy canes, hot cocoa, coffee and tea in the Central Park West building from 5-9 p.m. Thursdays, Dec. 9, 16 and 30 and Jan. 6. obparks.org/winterlights.


Big Timber Brilliance

5-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 9-12, and Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 15-19, and Tuesday, Dec. 21, through Jan. 2 (closed on Dec. 24-25 and 31) at Camp Big Timber, 37W955 Big Timber Road, Elgin. See more than 100,000 animated lights synchronized to music while walking the one-mile illuminated trail. $20 for adults, $14-$15 for kids 3-12. Buy tickets in advance at bigtimberbrilliance.org/.

Holiday Lights at Mooseheart

5-9 p.m. daily through Dec. 31 at Mooseheart, off Route 31, south of Batavia. Features an 1.8-mile holiday light display through campus. Mail a letter to Santa via a Tommy Moose Mailbox at the exit of the show. Suggested donation of $20 per car to benefit Mooseheart. moosecharities.org.

Holiday in the Park Lights

Holiday Lights Drive-Thru: 5-9 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 15-17, 31, and Jan. 1-2 and 6-9. Holiday in the Park Lights: 4-9 p.m. Dec. 11-12, 18-23 and 26-30, at Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. Enjoy light shows, live entertainment, seasonal snacks and holiday shopping. For tickets and details, see sixflags.com/greatamerica.

Magical Christmas Drive-Thru Experience

5-9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays and 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 19 at Santa's Village, 601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee. Drive through the amusement park and enjoy more than two million lights synchronized to music, displays, holiday motifs, live animals and Santa. Tickets are $25 per vehicle at the gate, $20 online. SantasVillageDundee.com.

Amaze Light Festival

6-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9; 4-7 and 7-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10; sold out Saturday, Dec. 11; 7-10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12; also various times daily from Wednesday, Dec. 15, through Thursday, Dec. 23; closed Dec. 24-25; and various times Dec. 26-Jan. 2 at Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont. Outdoor holiday activities for all ages, including an immersive display of more than one million holiday lights, Santa's Workshop, costumed characters, holiday food and beverages, toboggan rides, thrill hill tubing, train rides, holiday market, an immersive storybook experience and more. $23 for adults, $18 for kids 2-12. amazerosemont.com.

Reindeer Road

6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 9-12, and Wednesday, Dec. 15, through Saturday, Dec. 25, in the parking lot of Highpoint Church, 1805 Highpoint Drive, Naperville. A five-minute drive filled with displays and accompanying holiday music featuring a 40-foot Rudolph with a blinking red nose. Free hot chocolate and candy canes. Souvenir winter hats and LED light bulb necklaces will be sold to benefit The Alive Center and KidsMatter. $10 per vehicle. reindeerroad.com.

Christmas Tree Lane

Daily through Friday, Dec. 31, at Depot Park, 90 E. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake. The gazebo and trees in Depot Park will be decked out with lights and decorations. downtowncl.org.

Holiday Lights Festival

5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, and 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at Village Park, 900 W. Romeo Road, Romeoville. Holiday lights, photos with Santa, ice sculpting, Magical Express Train, holiday crafts and storytime, DIY reindeer food, reindeer, costumed characters and more. romeoville.org.

Santa's Rock 'N' Lights

5-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5-8:30 p.m. Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays through Jan. 2 at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. The drive-through animated light show features more than 100,000 animated lights dancing to holiday music. $24.99-$34.99 per vehicle. santasrocknlights.com.

Winterlights at Fabyan Japanese Garden

5-7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 17 at Fabyan Japanese Garden, 1925 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva. Stroll through an evening light display. $5; free for kids younger than 5. PPFV.org/winterlights.

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