The Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Chicago

Sightseeing is so last century. It’s time for lightseeing! That’s right, it’s the portmanteau that’s sweeping the nation… or at least, it’s sweeping our hometown. Chicago gleams in December, pulsing with the electricity of the season, and we’re highlighting (pause for pun to land) the best spots in town to bask in those bulbs!

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

It’s a jungle out here! Brave the wilds of this winter wonderland and check out the shimmering spectacle that has been captivating Chicago for a quarter of a century. The family-friendly fun is FREE (and alliterative) and boasts over 2.5 million individual lights in its dazzling array of festiveness. Don’t believe us? Count them for yourself! And while you’re busy doing that, we’ll continue on our merry way to the next Chicago area hotspot…

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum

Pave a path to perfection as you stroll this one-mile wonderland and watch as the trees respond to your movements! That’s right, these are interactive displays that invite treehuggers from across Illinois. We’re not just being playful; you are actually invited to hug the trees! And when you’re all tuckered out from your woodland embraces, fuel up with hot chocolate, musical acts, and more lights, light, lights!

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

Do those other options sound too outdoorsy? In other words: way cold? Fear not, because you can warm up to the indoor illumination of this cozy event! In addition to the stunning array of visual stimuli, there are a plethora of activities to entertain the whole family, including ice skating, indoor slides, and other amusement park attractions. Happy holidays indeed!

BrewLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

We bookend our list with the LPZ because it’s just so fun, so festive, and so Chicago! This annual event showcases a refreshing selection of craft beers, which you can sip while staring at the stars! Part pub crawl, part holiday outing, all fun. Cheers supreme!

Lincoln Park Brewlights

No matter where you wander this wondrous winter, you can always find warmth back here at home. We’ll leave the (holiday) lights on for you! 

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