Family Living

Chicago Holiday Lights Viewing Guide

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The holiday season is in now full swing, which means that masters of interior and exterior illumination have already been hard at work decking the halls and stringing up lights on any available surface — all roofs, trees, windows, and shrubs must be covered! Here are some great local places to take in spectacular lights and participate in festively fun activities with your little ones. 

Christkindlmarket: Downtown Chicago's wonderfully festive German market featuring warm drinks, holiday sweets, toys, old-world gifts, and live performances throughout the season. Through Dec 24.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo: Over a million LED lights, a 41-ft talking tree, carolers, Santa and Mrs. Claus, photos with animals, and interactive games/light displays. Sat-Sun through Dec.

CTA Holiday Train: 6-car above-ground train that's decked out in holiday lights and decorations on the inside and out. Santa and his reindeer occupy one of the flat-cars, greeting each station. Through Dec 23.

Ice Skating in Millennium Park: Massive outdoor skating rink downtown that's open on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. 

Aurora Festival of Lights: Drive-through tour of an illuminated Phillips Park with holiday trees, elves reindeer, trains, and more. Through Dec 27. 

Lincolnwood: This northwest 'burb is renowned for its residents' dedication to going all out with holiday decorations. (One house has a tree shooting up through the roof). Some other choice neighborhoods that bring it over the holidays, via the Chicago Tribune

Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour: A 2.5-hour tour of Chicago's top holiday attractions and light displays. Through Jan 3.