If you’re looking for some holiday light displays and maybe even some additional wintertime activities, there are plenty of places throughout Chicago and the suburbs you can hit.
Offerings for all types of budgets and all levels of interactivity are available as well. Here are some ideas:
Festival of Lights and Tree Sale: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 30 at Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton. Thousands of twinkling lights, plus Christmas trees, wreaths, greenery, hot chocolate and holiday gifts for sale. Lights turn on at 3 p.m. Free admission, donations are appreciated. cosleyzoo.org.
Light Up the Lake: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The interactive holiday experience incorporates light sculptures, a lighted birch tree maze, stomp light activity, ice skating, a holiday train, visits with Santa and a free ride on the Centennial Wheel. Adults: $27, kids 3-12: $17. navypier.org/light-up-the-lake.
Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic: 3 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 18 and Monday through Saturday, Dec. 26-31, at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St. Now in its 41st year, the lights festival features more than 2 million twinkling LEDs, illuminated animal sculptures, a tunnel of lights, a skating rink ($7 per person), a drop-off for letters to Santa and more. Reservations are required for South Gate entry; reservations are not required for North Gate entry. Adults: $24.95; kids 3-11: $17.95; seniors: $19.95; parking: $13.40. czs.org/HolidayMagic-2.
Amaze Light Festival: 4 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 8 (except Dec. 25), at Odyssey Fun World, 19111 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park. An all-immersive storybook experience with five themed worlds of light displays, activities, holiday music and dynamic live performances. Adult: $36, kids: $30; VIP adult: $86; VIP child: $80. amazelightfestival.com.
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Illumination, Tree Lights: 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 7 (except Dec. 24-25) at Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. Explore six new displays of light, sound and color along the 1-mile walking path, including a special Human+Nature display and an experience featuring 150 colorful lanterns. Stop by the firepits to roast marshmallows or purchase snacks and beverages at the concession tents. Members: $11-$22; nonmembers: $16-$27. mortonarb.org.
Lightscape: 4:30 to 11 p.m. various dates through Jan. 8 at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Experience nature in winter along a new walking path featuring light, fire, color and music in such displays as the re-imagined fire garden and Winter Cathedral. Timed tickets cost $30 for members, $32 for adult nonmembers; $14/$16 for kids; free for kids 2 and younger. Tickets purchased the day of the event cost $2 more. (847) 835-6801 or chicagobotanic.org/lightscape.
Sparkle Light Festival: 4:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and other times/dates through Jan. 1 at Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont, Immersive displays of millions of holiday lights and outdoor holiday activities, including train rides, winter tubing, themed mazes, letters to Santa and more. The two-story Alpine Slide is an extra $22 for unlimited rides. A special menu of festive food and beverages will be available. Adults: $25; kids 2-12: $20. (847) 636-5450 or sparklerosemont.com.
Winter Lights: 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 8 at Central Park, Jorie Boulevard and Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. A free half-mile illuminated walk along paved pathways. Purchase cookies, candy canes and hot cocoa in the Cocoa Cabin in the Central Park West building from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 29, except Dec. 22. The path will be closed during inclement weather. obparks.org/winterlights.
Aurora Festival of Lights: 5 to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 25, at Philips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drivea. The one-mile drive-through holiday light display features jumping reindeer, ice skating bears, Old Man Winter, howling wolves, Santa’s toy factory, fields of gigantic snowflakes and more. Free; donations will be taken at the end. Register for an entry ticket at aurora-il.org/FestivalofLights.
Kohlights: 5 to 7 p.m. daily through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26-29 at Kohl Children’s Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. An interactive holiday light display designed for children featuring a series of exhibits like the Twinkle Train, Prism Promenade and the Shadow Play Snowbank, where children learn and have fun. $20-$25, members receive $5 off. Time slots sell out so check for availability. www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org.
Magical Christmas Drive-Thru Experience: 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 24-25) at Santa’s Village, 601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee. See more than 3 million lights synchronized to holiday music during this drive-through show. New this year at the end of the show is the 300-foot tube slide, entertainment, hot chocolate, concessions and photo ops. Tickets must be reserved online. $35; $25 for existing season pass holders. (847) 426-6751 or santasvillagedundee.com.
Santa’s Rock ‘N’ Lights: 5 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1, at the Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. Be wowed by a mile of lights dancing to music during this drive-through animated lights show. $29.99-$34.99; online ticket purchase is required. santasrocknlights.com.
Willow Hill Lights Show: 5 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1, at Willow Hill Golf Course, 1350 Willow Road, Northbrook. This drive-through show features a 1.6-mile route with more than 1 million lights, three drive-through tunnels and a 30-foot Christmas tree. See the abominable snowman, Rudolph and his reindeer pals, the Twelve Days of Christmas, Frosty and his friends and more. $40 per car. willowhillswintermagic.com.
Nights of Lights: Dusk to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 8 at Adams Park, Main and Wesley streets, Wheaton. See more than 55,000 lights and a new animated light display at the fountain. Free. downtownwheaton.com/nightsoflights.
Shine Light Show: 6-10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1 at Northbrook Court, 1515 Lake-Cook Road, Northbrook, and Wintrust Field, 1999 S. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg, Drive-through light shows feature a wonderland of more than 1 million lights synchronized to holiday music. $32.99-$42.99; fast pass add-on is an extra $20. One ticket per vehicle; online purchase is required. shinelightshow.com.
Home for the Holidays Lighted Christmas Trail: 7-10 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at Shiloh Park, 25th Street & Emmaus Ave, Zion. A drive-through trail will be highlighted showcasing over 50 Christmas light displays with 100,000 lights. www.cityofzion.com.