Explore Chicago

The Most Stunning Holiday Events in Chicago

If you’re in the mood to get into the Christmas spirit, Chicago is the place to be.

Holiday displays and events are everywhere in the Windy City and its suburbs. Chicago is home to some of the best holiday displays and events in the country. You can walk down Michigan Avenue and see the giant Christmas tree and all of the holiday decorations at the Christkindlmarket. No matter what you’re into, Chicago has a Holiday event for you.

Five Chicago Holiday Events

"Lightscape" at the Chicago Botanic Garden

The "Lightscape" event at the Chicago Botanic Garden is a must-see for anyone looking for a festive and fun winter activity. This year's event features new light-filled installations and a reimagined fire garden. The Winter Cathedral is always a favorite, with its beautiful and luminous display. There's also plenty of music and fire to enjoy, making it a truly magical experience. Tickets are priced at $32 for adult nonmembers ($30 for members) and $16 for children ($14 for members) if purchased in advance. A Flex Ticket offering is available for $75 and includes parking. "Lightscape" is on view through January 8, 2023. 

"Lightscape" at the Chicago Botanic Garden | WHERE Traveler®
"Lightscape" (Courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden)

Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree 

The Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree will celebrate this holiday season through January 8, 2023. The official city tree, or the City of Chicago’s 109th Christmas Tree, is a 55-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce from the Glisovic family of Morton Grove. It will light up in Millennium Park this year. 

Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree | WHERE Traveler®
Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree (©Max Bender)

A Magical Cirque Christmas

A Magical Cirque Christmas” is a family event that combines spectacular performers, special cirque artists and holiday music to bring a unique evening to all who attend. Led by Lucy Darling, a Magical Hostess, the audience can truly experience the spirit of the season. The venue will land in Chicago from December 6 to December 11 at CIBC Theatre. 

Courtesy “A Magical Cirque Christmas” | WHERE Traveler®
(Courtesy “A Magical Cirque Christmas”)

Millennium Park Ice Rink

The Millennium Park Ice Rink is open yearly from November to March. Both locals and visitors find it a great place to spend their winter months. The rink charges a reasonable fee for skate rentals, or you can bring your own skates. It also provides figure skating, public skating and ice hockey. 

Millennium Park Ice Rink Chicago | WHERE Traveler®
Millennium Park Ice Rink (©Abel Arciniega/Courtesy Choose Chicago)

ZooLights

"ZooLights" will return to Lincoln Park Zoo this month. Through January 1, 2023, locals and visitors alike will have the privilege to enjoy this annual holiday event all over their beloved location and some of the neighborhoods around the zoo. People of all ages will be fascinated by the photo opportunities from Candyland Light Show, Santa’s Workshop, the Tunnel of Love and more. You can also purchase tickets for additional attractions such as Endangered Species Carousel, Lionel Train Adventure, 65-foot Ferris wheel, Light Maze and Light Up the Lawn. 

BrewLights, Presented by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc., is a festive event that celebrates the holidays with specialty beers on December 1, where guests can taste various brews. The Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a jazz show that will be performed at Cafe Brauer on December 11. Tickets are $35 per person and come with a free beverage; showtimes are at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Adults Night Out: Holidaze takes place December 15 and includes a DJ, animal chats, access to the carousel and Ferris wheel, and Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ. Tickets are priced at $15, and the event starts at 6:30 p.m. Zoo Year’s Eve on December 31 is an adults-only event with a DJ, games, giveaways, and special animal enrichment. Tickets are priced at $20, and the event starts at 9 p.m.

"ZooLights" at the Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago | WHERE Traveler®
"ZooLights" (©Phil Parcellano/Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)