Tag Archive for: winter

winter in chicago

8 Things To Do With Kids In Chicagoland This Winter!

This list of things to do in Chicago, IL will keep you and the kids busy and cabin-fever free this Winter!

winter in chicago

Winter is tough with kids. I’m sure some of you die hards will disagree, but for me it takes so much more effort to get out of the house: coats, gloves, hats, taking off coats for carseats, defrosting the car. And the list goes on. But I’ve put together a list of kid-friendly things to do around Chicagoland area that will make all the effort worth it! Good luck! 🙂


8 Things to do with Kids in Chicago, IL this Winter:


1. Visit an outdoor ice rink!


      • Rosemont Skating In The Park
        • Admission to the ice rink is free, with skate rentals available on-site for $8. It’s fun for the whole family!
        • “Parkway Bank Park entertainment district is thrilled to kick off the holiday season with the return of its Chicago Wolves Ice Rink. The park’s great lawn will be transformed into an NHL-sized, outdoor skating rink where visitors can skate under breathtaking lights for a magical experience this winter.”
        • Open through end of February 2022
      • Millenium Park Ice Rink
        • Open until March 6th
        • Online reservation required
        • “DCASE will present free skating lessons (reservations required) from 8–9am on most Saturdays and Sundays from November 20 through March 6, 2022, teaching beginner and intermediate ice skating and hockey skills. Free lessons are made possible by the McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.”
      • Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon
        • Reservations encouraged and ticket price is cheaper if booked online vs walk up
      • Winterland at Gallagher Way
        • “Gallagher Way invites visitors to The Rink at Gallagher Way November 19 through February 20, 2022, weather permitting. The Rink welcomes all skill levels to skate on their own, participate in skating lessons, learn to curl and ride ice bumper cars, a new attraction this year.
        • Admission is free for skaters 12 years and younger; $6 for skaters 13 years and older. Guests may bring their own skates or rent skates on-site for $12. Skate aids are available for $10 per hour. Bags can be checked for $2.”
      • McKinley Ice Rink
        • 2210 W. Pershing Rd, Chicago
        • Pre-registration is required for all programs, including open skate sessions. Reservations will be released on a rolling basis at noon on Mondays, for the sessions that run two weeks later.
      • The Peninsula Sky Rink
        • “Located above Chicago’s bustling Michigan Avenue, The Terrace is the ideal setting for the hotel’s seasonal skating rink. Surrounded by Chicago’s skyscrapers and twinkling lights, the rink is tucked into a winter wonderland featuring festive music and snowflake lighting. Enjoy a selection of hot beverages and snacks available at the Chalet.”
      • Wentworth Ice Rink
        • 5625 S. Mobile Ave
        • Pre-registration is required for all programs, including open skate sessions. Reservations will be released on a rolling basis at noon on Mondays, for the sessions that run two weeks later.
      • The Winter Wonderland Ice Rink in Orland Park
        • 15600 West Avenue & Fun Dr.
        • Skate Rentals are $3
        • Check the website for bonfire and warming house hours!
      • Warren Park Blackhawks Ice Rink
        • 6601 N. Western Ave
        • Pre-registration required for all programs including open skate.

*Many other local parks and towns will have natural rinks where you bring your own skates and there is no one monitoring or maintaining the rink. Just watch the weather to determine when the ice will be frozen!


2.  Keep the holiday spirit going by making a reservation at a holiday, pop – up, restaurant experience


    • Snag reservation at Santa Baby
      • A multi-room, multi-level, christmas experience open through January!
      • It’s not just for adults! Kids and parents alike will enjoy this Christmas experience!
      • All seating is considered outdoor seating – regulations allow us to offer a tented patio (with heaters!) and indoor dining tables next to open air windows. Dress for the weather and the season!
      • 21+ only after 8 PM, open through January 9th
    • JoJo’s Shake Bar Winter Wonderland
      • “Chicago’s go-to spot for all things savory & sweet, welcomes the holiday season with JoJo’s Winter Wonderland. JoJo’s has filled the heated tent with a 17ft Christmas Tree, a 1954 Red Ford Truck, Giant Presents & 2 Igloo Domes to satisfy your perfect holiday photo needs! This incredible food & beverage experience will feature JoJo’s over the top holiday treats including Santa’s Milk & Cookie Flight, Biggie Hot Chocolates & The Winter Wonderland Shake, a Peppermint Shake topped with a Christmas Tree Cookie, Snowman DoDo & Marshmallow Present!”
      • Open through January 17th!

 3. Head to the drive in!


    • Chitown Movies
      • We had a blast at this drive in movie theatre in Pilsen this summer. Turn the heat on and the headlights off for a fun movie experience this winter!
      • Food delivery ordered from your phone & delivered straight to your car!
    • Rock Island Public House Drive In
      • The movie selections are not always younger children friendly, however, parents need a date night even in a pandemic!
      • Enjoy free screenings every Fri – Sun on a first come, first serve basis.
      • Food and drinks available for purchase!
      • You’ll love the unique movie selections!

4. Enjoy a winter themed dessert!



  • Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
    • Due to the size of our shop we’ll be requiring all guests (12 years and older) to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of visit to dine indoors. Proof can come in the form of a vaccination card, a photo of your card, or any government issued digital pass. Our Pie Garden will be open for outdoor dining & we’ll continue taking carryout orders at our counter or online!

    • Only Logan Square location currently open
  • Firecakes Donuts
    • Seasonal donuts include: Eggnog and Orange Cranberry Old Fashioned
    • No one will judge you if you make it a Donut Ice Cream Sandwich either. Consider it a prescription for 2020/21/22
  • First Slice Pie Cafe
    • Did you know that Food & Wine voted First Slice as one of America’s BEST apple pies?!
    • In addition, First Slice served more than 37,000 meals in 2007, and currently serves close to 4,000 meals each month to Chicago’s hungry, every month.
  • Floriole
    • Open Thurs – Sun
    • Dying to try the Bûche de Noël !
  • Beatrix 
    • The Oh My! Caramel Pie will have your mouth watering and you ordering seconds.
  • Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe
    • “Blue Sky does more than create sweet and savory pastries made with the freshest, highest quality ingredients. As a nonprofit organization, we also raise the edible consciousness of our community by providing transitional employment to homeless and at-risk youth.”
    • Pumpkin pecan scone with a side of social justice please!
  • BomboBar
    • You are just going to drool over BomboBar’s fall menu! If the salted caramel hot chocolate and caramel apple cider wasn’t enough already, there’s the pumpkin pie marshmallow and apple caramel gelato to sweep you off your feet.
  • Brown Sugar Bakery
    • The most famous and tastiest caramel cake in Chicago! Don’t sleep on this amazing bakery.
  • Do-Rite Donuts
    • I’ll take my pumpkin spice in donut form thank you very much. With a Michigan apple fritter on the side. :p
  • DMK Burger Bar
    • Skip the campfire and head straight to DMK for a toasted marshmallow shake. Hard day parenting? Make it a boozy shake! 😉
  • Goddess And The Baker
    • Treat yourself to a Peppermint Mocha before exploring the rest of their delicious menu!
  • Hoosier Mama Pie Company
    • Make sure to order an apple sour cranberry pie, you won’t regret it!
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
    • Known for the unique ice cream flavors you can be guaranteed for some wintry picks here!
    • White chocolate peppermint anyone?
  • Jo-Jo’s Shake Bar
    • Until February 1st, JoJo’s outdoor patio is converted into an adorable winter wonderland! Enjoy winter themed shakes and biggie hot chocolates, as well as their normal menu!
    • The igloos are are available on a first come, first serve basis!
  • Katherine Anne Confections
    • Upgrade from your regular old chocolate with a creamy cup of Katherine Anne’s drinking chocolate!
    • The salted caramel will definitely be the right flavor for the season
  • Kilwins
    • There are multiple locations around Chicagoland but the Hyde Park location is African American owned and operated, so we like to support them whenever we can!
    • You will find yourself drooling over the caramel apples and chocolate confections but my absolute favorite flavor of ice cream from Kilwins is their Perfect Apple Pie flavor. I look forward to this returning to their menu every year!
  • Mindy’s Bakery
    • The famous Mindy Segal will be selling to go hot chocolate on the weekends! Preorder during the week for Sat & Sun pickups
    • Forget winter, I would drink this delectable cocoa in the heat of the summer if I could!
  • Molly’s Cupcakes
    • The winter cupcake flavors are back in season and I am here for it!
    • Don’t miss out on the German chocolate cake & Tiramisu for January!
  • Pie, Pie My Darling
    • 100% Vegan sweets baked from scratch!
    • Whole cakes, cup-cakes, and cake slices can be pre-ordered for pickup at our shop under the “cake menu/order cakes” section and the “saturday treat pre-orders” section in the main menu on the front page of the website!
    • E-mail to inquire about ordering a whole cake!
  • Pretty Cool Ice Cream
    • Special pops, pints, and more made in festive flavors for the winter holiday season.. (Cookies For Santa, Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwich, Candycane Crunch, Cornflake Wreath, Caramel Eggnog)
    • (The key lime pie flavor is my favorite no matter what the season!)
  • Sweet Mandy B’s
    • The chocolate peppermint cupcake is a personal favorite of mine!
  • XO Marshmallow
    • The World’s FIRST Marshmallow Café is right here in Chicago!
    • Their s’mores menu is fantastic! Plus, hot chocolate, marshmallow latte, pumpkin spice marshmallows, and more!
  • Xurro
    • The yummiest Churros with a creative spin!
    •  The Peppermint Christmas milkshake is the reason for the season.


5. Book a staycation!



    • The Ridge at Lake Geneva
      • Hop over the border and enjoy the beautiful hotel, grounds, and pool.
      • While you are there make sure to book an igloo for dining, and visit the Ice Castles when they open mid January!
    • The Langham Chicago
      • “Choose from a variety of room offers sure to suit your family’s needs. The Langham Chicago Family Staycations provide daily breakfast options, private access to The Langham, Chicago’s indoor swimming pool, a Cinema Suite experience, delectable in-room dining, and complimentary access to the Kids Suite.”
    • Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee
      • Snowland goes until January 5th: “As the temperature drops, escape to the warmth of Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge. If you love snow and classic holiday family fun, you’ll find plenty of it at our warm and cozy lodge. Find all the wonders of a Great Wolf getaway with the comfort of our heated indoor activities and 84-degree water park. It’s the best time of the year to discover the magic of Great Wolf Lodge.”
      • Day Passes are now available.
      • Past January 5th there is still plenty to do. Not only can you splash around in an indoor tropical environment but there are always character appearances, story time, arts and crafts, etc.
    • Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark at Grand Geneva
      • “Swim during the day, or play all night. With so many getaway packages to choose from, the fun has just begun at Timber Ridge in Lake Geneva, WI. While the kids play, parents save with our overnight, day, group and other packages aplenty. From our Timber-rific deal days for the best rates to special packages built for Grandparents spoiling their grandkids, the options are endless!”
    • The Peninsula Chicago
      • “The perfect family getaway awaits with our Camp Peninsula package. Children will enjoy exclusive experiences crafted just for them including special amenities plus fun and cultural activities for kids to explore the best of Chicago.”
    • Loews Hotel Chicago
      • “Loews Chicago Hotel invites guests to get “Snowed Inn.” Whether escaping cabin fever at home or needing to warm up after a cold day enjoying Chicago in winter, Snowed Inn provides everything your family needs to stay cozy during the winter months. The package includes hot cocoa and cookies, an in-room movie, self-parking and a tent and campfire set for the kids to enjoy during their stay. The package also includes 20% off on food and beverage!”
    • Swissotel
      • “Our dedicated Kid’s room offers young guests all the toys and entertainment they could want. With a separate room next door, so mom and dad can have some time out. Book a Kid’s Room for 50% of the price of the parents’ room and enjoy a relaxing family stay.”
    • Fair Oaks Farms Hotel
      • “Immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind experience at Fairfield Inn & Suites Fair Oaks Farms. Our hotel is located within an agritourism destination just off Interstate 65 in beautiful Fair Oaks, Indiana, between Chicago and Indianapolis. Designed as a beautiful contemporary barn, the hotel is filled with custom art and design accents celebrating the American countryside. We’re also directly connected to The Farmhouse Restaurant, Pub & Conference Center and Fair Oaks Farms Adventures.”


6. Eat in an igloo or cute dining hut!



    • Giannis Cafe
      • Locations in Kildeer & Palatine
      • Call to make a reservation in their igloo village
      • “We are a family owned and operated, Full service Italian Restaurant. For over 17 years we have been serving some of the freshest seafood, pasta and other Italian entrees in the Chicagoland area.”
    • Osteria Via Stato
      • 620 N State St, Chicago
      • “Enjoy your dinner with us in a cozy, heated, patio greenhouse inspired by the Italian Alps! Stay distanced comfortably and in true “Apres” style. Greenhouse reservations accommodate 2-4 people and have a 1 hour and 45 minute dining time.”
    • The Glen Club
      • Glenview
      • Family friendly with a fun children’s menu and spectacular views
      • “Come dine in one of our Igloo domes. Each individually heated and ventilated igloo dome accommodates up to 8 guests for up to 2 hours.”
    • Gia Mia
      • Igloo dining at the St.Charles and Geneva locations
    • Easy Street Pizza & Beer Garden
      • Cabins available at the Portage Park and Irving Park locations
      • These adorable Christmas cabins are sure to please!
    • GuildHall
      • Adorable greenhouses that can accommodate up to 6 guests!
    • Devereaux Rooftop
      • “Enjoy your own heated chalet. Each fits 2-4 people and maintains a temperature 30 degrees warmer than the temperature outside. Your private chalet is lit by candle and firelight with a (feaux) fur throw, making you wonder if that’s the skyline or snow-capped mountains you see out your window. Choose from one of our chalet packages. Each package is for 90 minutes on Friday or Saturday and 120 minutes Sunday – Thursday.”
    • Fiamme
      • Naperville
      • Make a glasshouse reservation for up to 4 people through Open Table
    • Solemn Oath Brewery
      • “Our brewery features a 4200+ SF outdoor beer garden with our freshest beers and seltzers. Dome and A-Frame deposits will be applied to the bill during your visit, and will not be refunded for cancellations made less than 24 hours in advance of a reservation.”
      • Can fit up to 8 people
      • BYOF (bring your own food!)
    • The Assembly American Bar & Cafe
      • Hoffman Estates
      • Call 847-843-3993 and reserve a dining hut for an adorable and safe dining experience!
      • The dining huts hold 4-6 people max and can only be reserved for 90 min.
    • The Drake Hotel 
      • Oakbrook
      • “Select from eight private and fully enclosed igloos, all with a unique theme. Each igloo has a small heater for your comfort, but we suggest bundling up if it’s cold. Guest capacity varies per Igloo and can seat a minimum of 4 guests and up to 8 guests.”
    • Bien Trucha
      • Geneva
      • “Is there anything more fun than enjoying our tacos and drinks in your own outdoor pod under the sun, stars, or falling snow?!!
      • “Pods will be available for 1.5 hr. increments and will have no minimum at lunch and a minimum of $50 Sun-Thu and $125 Sat & Sun for dinner.”
      • Ask about kid menu options in person
    • Livia Italian Eatery
      • Geneva
      • To reserve the igloo tents at the Geneva location, you must call 630-402-6444
    • The Hen House of Wheaton
      • Wheaton
      • “We have heated Igloos and a heated tent, Igloos are by reservation only, call (630)480-0611.” (No reservations on weekends, first come first serve only)
      • Hours: 7 AM – 2:30 PM
    • Wine Thief
      • Frankfort
      • Bring the family for a snow globe visit! Hot cocoa bombs, kid food, and games!
      • No food and beverage minimum on bookings between 11 AM – 2:30 PM
    • Digs on Canal
      • Lemont
      • “Each igloo has a heater and is ventilated. Time slots are set at 90 minutes, allowing our staff to clean and sanitize the igloos prior to the next reservation.
      • We do require a deposit when you make your reservation. The deposit will be used for your food and beverage choices while you are dining in the igloo (90 minute maximum, +taxes and fees).”
    • Hacienda Real
      • Yorkville
      • Please inquire about reservations for the heated, outdoor, igloos by calling the restaurant directly at (630) 882 9541
    • Hometown Coffee & Juice
      • Glencoe
      • Hometown Houses are available to privately rent for a fee with advance reservations. .
      • Houses are heated and can accommodate up to 6 guests at a time. Each house is cleaned, disinfected and sanitized between reservations and well ventilated.
    • Freedom Brothers Pizzeria & Alehouse
      • Plainfield
      • “Come and join Freedom Brothers for a private and unique one-of-a-kind dining experience in our climate controlled Igloo Domes, located on our patio. We have created an amazing ambiance displayed inside an Igloo Dome, with seating up to 9 people. To reserve your Igloo Dome experience, please select date and time, submit $100(+taxes and fees) non-refundable reservation DEPOSIT. Your deposit will go towards food and beverages ordered and entitles you to enjoy a 90 minute maximum dining experience for you and your guests.”
    • Hackney’s on Harms
      • Glenview
      • The heated and spacious domes are designed to fit 2-8 people
      • Reservations are required for the domes
    • Enzo & Lucia
      • Dome dining experience must be booked directly by calling 847-478-8825
      • Long Grove
    • Rebel Kitchen + Bar
      • Lombard
      • Minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 8
      • Reservations by Phone 630.317.7939


7. Go sledding!



    • Dan Ryan Woods (Chicago)
      • S Western Ave & W 87th St
      • Call 773-233-3766 for sledding hill status.
      • This sledding hill has lighting and staff when open Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 7:30pm; Friday-Saturday: 10am – 8:30pm daily when conditions allow
      • There is a separate area just for snowboarders!
    • Caldwell Woods (Chicago)
      • W Devon Ave & N Nagle Ave (hill is on the Devon side)
      • Call 847-647-2240 for sledding hill status.
      • This hill has lighting and indoor bathrooms
    • Soldier Field (Chicago)
      • Don’t count on this 35 ft. sledding hill always being open but when Chicago gets 4-5 inches of snow and the forecast calls for multiple days of freezing temps, the kids will get a kick out of sledding next to the famous football field!
      • Call (312) 235-7000 for sledding hill status.
    • Horner Park (Chicago)
      • 2741 W. Montrose
      • You’ll find a great slope on the corner of Montrose & California
    • Humboldt Park (Chicago)
      • You will find the sledding hills west of the fieldhouse near the lagoon
    • Warren Park (Chicago)
      • 6601N. Western Ave
      • Great sledding hill for younger children since there are stairs on either side of the hill and a nearby warming house. Also plenty of parking!
    • Blackwell Forest Preserve (Warrenville)
      • “On weekends and school holidays December – February when there’s plenty of snow on Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve (usually more than 3 inches) you can take a fun 800-foot ride down the hill. Inner tube rentals are at the base of the hill and are $10 per tube per day. Only District tubes are allowed.”
      • The tubing hill is open 10AM – 4 PM with rentals ending at 3:30 PM
    • Riverwalk Sled Hill at Rotary Hill (Naperville)
      • “There is great sledding right on the Naperville Riverwalk. The hill provides fun for the entire family. Sledders should bring their own inner tubes or plastic sleds. Wooden sleds and metal-runner sleds are not permitted. The hill closes at 9:00 p.m. except on Fridays and Saturdays, when it remains open until 10:00 p.m.”
    • Weigand Riverfront Park (Naperville)
      • “The hill at Weigand Riverfront Park may be used only as a snowboarding hill. Snowboards are restricted on all other Park District hills. Sledding is not allowed at Weigand Riverfront Park. Please note that snowboarders assume full risk and responsibility for determining that all conditions are safe for snowboarding. The snowboarding hill at Weigand Riverfront Park closes at dusk.”
    • Techny Prairie Park and Field (Northbrook)
      • “The popular sled hill remains from the former Meadowhill Park South, along with a warming house, stairs and lights for evening use. The hill measures 28 feet in height.”
    • Century Park (Vernon Hills)
      • Ice Rinks and Sled Hill
        Monday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm.
        *Lights around the rink and hill automatically turn off at 9:00 pm
      • Warming Shelters
        Saturday and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
        *Only available if either the ice rink and/or sled hill are open
      • A limited supply of loaner ice skates are available on weekends from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm when the ice rink is open. They will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Hot drinks and candy are also available for purchase.
    • Caboose Park (Lake Villa)
      • 27908 Fairfield Rd
      • “For your recreational pleasure the toboggan and sled hill at “Caboose Park” will be lit for evening use between the hours of 5:30 and 10:00 p.m., weather and conditions permitting. Easy access can be gained from the Grand Avenue parking lot.”
    • St. James Park / Mt. Trashmore (Evanston)
      • This former landfill holds a massive hill (where sledding is actually off limits) however the surrounding smaller hills are open for sledding!
      • Dodge Ave. & Mulford St.
    • Blair Park Sled Hill
      • 355 W. Washington
      • Lights and open until 9 PM
    • Adler Park
      • Libertyville
      • 1500 N Milwaukee
      • rest rooms, lights, warming shelter
    • Northside Park
      • Wheaton
      • 1300 N. West St
    • Eldridge Park
      • Elmhurst
      • Lighted
      • 363 W. Commonwealth Lane


8. Enjoy an outdoor or indoor adventure!



    • The Ice Castles
      • Lake Geneva, WI
      • Coming in January!
      • “Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction located in four cities across North America. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and much more.”
    • The Forge
      • Lemont
      • “Don’t stay cooped up indoors this winter. Come out and play!  With Forgefire Globe Dining, ice skating, laser tag, winter lights, and climbing towers to explore, the possibilities for outdoor fun are endless.”
    • The Morton Arboretum
      • Last minute tickets available for Illumination through January 8th!
      • Explore this winter wonderland over and over again throughout the winter and don’t miss the amazing Human + Nature exhibit!
        • “Internationally renowned artist Daniel Popper created five 15- to 26-foot-tall sculptures exclusively for the Arboretum featured in various locations across its 1,700 acres, leading guests to areas they may not have explored before. It is his largest exhibition to date anywhere in the world.”
    • Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
      • Rockford
      • All Aglow light show through January 9th
      • “The facility is the third largest conservatory in Illinois, offering an 11,000-square-foot plant exhibition area complete with water features, seating areas, and sculptures, all in a tropical plant setting. The beauty continues outdoors with the Eclipse Lagoon, complete with two fountains and a waterfall, pedestrian bridge, patio areas, and walkway connecting the Conservatory to the Sinnissippi Rose Garden.”
    • Chicago Mural Hop
    • Suburban Mural Hunt in the West and Far West Suburbs


    • Visit A Museum
      • Museum of Science and Industry
      • Art Institute of Chicago
        • Free days are Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from Jan. 3 – March 17, 2022
        • Still must reserve free admission ticket onlinarte
      • The Field Museum
        • Free days this winter are Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, 2022
        • Online reservations still required
      • Adler Planetarium
      • The Shedd Aquarium
        • Jan 13th – 17th, Feb 7th – 11th, and Feb 14th – 18th
      • The DuSable Museum of African American History
        • Free admission every Wednesday
      • The Museum of Contemporary Art
        • Free admission every Tuesday and children aged 18 and younger are always free!
      • National Museum of Mexican Art
        • Free every day!
      • Garfield Park Conservatory
        • Please make a free reservation online in advance
        • Walk-ups welcome if there is space available
      • Lincoln Park Conservatory
        • “Due to COVID-19, a limited number of pre-registered, timed-access tickets are required to enter the Lincoln Park Conservatory.”
      • Museum of Illusions
        • “Engage in over 80 astonishing and mind-bending exhibits that will shock your senses and puzzle your perceptions. Experience the unbelievable!
      • WNDR Museum
        • Tickets must be purchased in advance
        • “WNDR reimagines the traditional museum experience through interactive, immersive experiences from artist, collectives, and studios locally and globally.”
      • HideSeek
        • “Explore 15 immersive and interactive installations designed to let you feel like a kid again.”
      • Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Chicago
        • Extended through February 14th
        • “Experience art like never before – lose yourself in 500,000 cubic feet of flawless projections animating Vincent van Gogh’s oeuvre. Wander through entrancing, moving images that highlight brushstrokes, detail, and color – truly illuminating the mind of the genius.”
      • Frida Immersive Dream
        • Begins Feb 24th
        • “As you stroll through the Lighthouse Immersive gallery, you will see the Mexico-born artist’s work come to life on a grand scale and discover the people, events, and obstacles that made her the extraordinary woman she was. The mesmerizing, large-scale projections, accompanied by a ravishing musical score, will sweep you up as you encounter Frida as never before.”
    • Play Dates at a children’s museum
    • Visit a play cafe
      • Bumblebee Play Cafe
        • Elgin
      • Peppa Pig World of Play
        • Woodfield Mall Lower Level near the Dining Pavilion
        • “14 themed areas of free-roaming play bring to life the world of Peppa Pig like never before and will spark the imagination of your little piggies. Jump, laugh, play, imagine and giggle!”
      • Bubbles Academy at 900 N. Michigan Ave
        • Visit every day from 12-6 for Daily Drop In Art!
        • No reservations necessary, new projects each week!
      • Little Adventures Cafe
        • Chicago
      • Ball Factory
        • Naperville
        • Mount Prospect
      • Little Beans Cafe
        • Chicago
        • Evanston
      • Kids Art & Cafe
        • Schaumburg
      • Waterlemon
        • La Grange
      • Nelly’s Playground
        • Wood Dale
      • Jumps N’ Jiggles
        • Elk Grove Village
        • “Located indoors at the Jack A. Claes Pavilion, the Carousel and Jumps n’ Jiggles are exciting attractions for kids looking for fun and adventure. The carousel stands 28 feet high, features 18 hand-painted jumping horses and a swan chariot. The Jumps n’ Jiggles big top themed playground features a balancing act of fun that includes a maze of tunnels, a spiral slide and the bouncing yo-yo ball.”
      • Yu Kids Island
        • Woodfield Mall
        • Hawthorne Mall
      • Funtopia
        • Naperville
        • Glenview
      • Purple Monkey Playroom
        • Chicago
        • By appointment only
      • We Orbit
        • Highland Park
      • Playroom Cafe
        • Mount Prospect
        • Naperville
      • Present Place
        • Lakeview
        • River North
      • The Exploritorium
        • Skokie
      • Razzmatazz
        • Chicago
        • “One thing’s for sure, there’s something for everyone! Try your hand in the arcade, while the kids jump around in the Inflatable Playland. Or have something to eat and drink with friends, as you battle each other at Route 66 Bowling! All you need to get started is a rechargeable game card and a sense of adventure…. “
      • Gizmos Fun Factory
        • Orland Park
        • “With over 47,000 square feet of attractions, party rooms, and the latest video games, we’re sure to keep your young adventurers entertained for hours!  Dive in and explore the world of Gizmos, where we’ve cracked the formula for FUN!”

Chicagoland Holiday Light Displays


Welcome to your go to guide for Holiday Light Displays in the Chicagoland area!



The holiday season is upon us and with so much uncertainty, many people are planning farther ahead for their

holiday plans and winter fun. Make sure to buy tickets and pre-register as soon as you can

before tickets and time slots sell out!


Let It Shine: Drive Thru Holiday Light Show

  • “Let It Shine is proud to present North Shore’s largest drive thru world of Christmas lights at Northbrook Court! Guests are invited to stay in their cars and immerse themselves in a wonderland of light displays that are synchronized to holiday classics. There’s no denying the holiday cheer as you cruise past dazzling archways, sparkling candy canes, glowing snowmen and more illuminated installations.”
  • Nov 15th – January 9th.
  • 1515 Lake Cook Rd., Northbrook
  • **** One (1) Ticket Per Vehicle ****. Tickets can be purchased online only


Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

  • “Now in our 39th year, get ready to visit Chicagoland’s largest and longest-running lights festival featuring over a million twinkling LED lights!”
  • Friday through Sunday, November 27-29, Wednesday through Sunday, December 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, Saturday through Thursday, December 26-31
  • 3 – 9 PM
  • “New this year, guests of all ages can play the Game of Gnomes. Embark on a fun-filled scavenger hunt in search of 24 whimsical and enchanting themed gnomes, measuring 12 – 20 inches that will be located throughout the park.”


Six Flags Great America: Holiday In The Park Lights!

  • Select days November 27th – December 30th
  • 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee
  • “The third season of Holiday In The Park returns November 27 as a re-imagined experience featuring over 3 million dazzling lights plus entertainment. While our world-class rides will not be open during Holiday In The Park Lights, we’ve planned some exciting holiday experiences you and your family will enjoy.”

    The Holiday In The Park Lights experience will include:

    • Over 3 million sparkling lights
    • Continuous twinkling holiday light displays throughout our property
    • Themed entertainment for open-air viewing
    • Special socially-distanced photo ops
    • Delicious holiday treats and other exciting surprises
  • “Pick up your s’mores kit and get ready to toast some marshmallows at one of our fire pits throughout the park for the merriest and meltiest treat this side of the North Pole!”


Jack Frost Winter Walk Pop-Up & Christmas Tree Farm 

  • Goose Island Chicago. 1467 N. Elston Ave
  • “Jack’s Winter Walk & Christmas Tree Farm Pop-Up is located on over 2 acres of land in the historic Goose Island. Pick a perfect Christmas Tree, grab a memorable Instagrammable moment, or just get out of the house and get some fresh air on a perfect midwinter evening, as you get lost in the largest, and only, evergreen forest in downtown Chicago. In accordance with Chicago’s Department of Health Safety standards wearing a mask is always required, visits are limited to 1.5 hours and there is no food & beverage available for purchase.”


Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum : Sold Out (With the possibility of additional time slots being added each Monday for the upcoming week)

  • “See trees in a different light at a reimagined Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. Designed with your safety in mind, this year’s new driving experience (30–40 minutes long) features an unparalleled spectacle of color, light, and music you won’t experience anywhere else. You will be delighted to see returning favorites reenvisioned, including Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, and Crystal Promenade, and five newly designed sights displayed along a two-mile road among the Arboretum’s magnificent trees. Immerse yourself in a captivating tunnel of lights, an awe-inspiring magical woodland filled with dazzling color and starlike light, and a landscape filled with thousands of lights dancing to a musical soundtrack, all from the warmth of your car. 

    Also new this year, the exhibition will stay open later, until 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and it will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas, in addition to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, as in previous years.”

  • November 20th – January 3rd
  • Ticket prices are per car and must be purchased in advance.


Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden: SOLD OUT


Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

  • “ZooLights will feature hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities, all under the glow of millions of illuminated lights, plus reduced capacity admission to keep your family safe.”
  • November 21st – January 3rd
  • 4 – 10PM
  • Tickets will cost $5 / guest
  • Free Nights
    • November 24 and December 9, 17, 21, and 29
      While admission to ZooLights is paid, there will also by five free nights. These days will offer the same exciting holiday experience and tickets are still required, but they will be complimentary. These tickets will be released the Sunday prior to each date at 4 p.m.

Santas Rock N Lights

  • Grayslake, IL
  • Nov 20th – Jan 3rd
  • “Santa’s Rock N Lights is an animated drive-thru light show. You’re invited to experience the themed worlds of light including dinosaur world, over 700 feet of tunnels and a longer route.”


MSI: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)

  • “It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of 40 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof.

    Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light are open through Sunday, January 3, 2021.”


Goebbert’s 2020 Light Show

  • “Starting Friday November 20th, make it a family experience and drive thru while enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas.”
    Tuesday- Thursday & Sunday: 5pm-10pm
    Friday & Saturday: 5pm-11pm
    Monday: closed
    You can purchase your tickets online or at the entrance of the light show.
  • GOEBBERT’S PUMPKIN PATCH & APPLE ORCHARD: 42W813 Reinking Rd, Pingree Grove, IL 60140
  • November 20th – January 3rd


All Aglow: Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

  • November 28th – January 10th
  • 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford
  • “Celebrate the holidays at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens! Come see sparkling holiday lights in the outdoor gardens, and beautiful floral displays inside the warm tropical Conservatory.”


Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights

  • November 27th – December 30th
  • Open 9A-9P daily, with the last entry time at 8:30P; Christmas lights come on at 3PM
  • 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
  • Reserved tickets only, no walk up.
  • Trees, wreaths, greens, and garlands available for purchase


Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park

  • December 5th – January 3rd
  • “Join Lombard Park District’s annual lighting celebration in Lilacia Park! Charming holiday displays light up Lilacia Park with a magical array of animated light shows, decorated trees, a gingerbread house, and much more.”
  • 150 South Park Ave., Lombard



  • “Visitors can access the display from the Webster Street covered bridge, Main Street and Webster Street.  Strollers can enjoy the outdoors with public parking is available in the Water Street and Municipal Center parking decks. Lights on Water Street tress will be synced to music, as will the arch on the Foyo Plaza, making a drive-through experience for individuals preferring to stay in their cars.”
  • November 14th through the holiday season


LaSalle Celebration of Lights

  • “The Celebration of Lights season is finally here! Hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays as well as from 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and the week of the Christmas holiday. The display is free to view but donations are welcomed in order to ensure the display can continue and grow into the future! Come see the brightest Celebration yet at Rotary Park!”
  • November 16th – New Years Day


Mooseheart Holiday Lights

  • “Join us for our 11th Annual Holiday Lights display, opening on Friday, November 27th and running 5:00PM-9:00PM nightly through Thursday, December 31st. Holiday Lights at Mooseheart is one of Chicagoland’s largest light displays! The lighted route is approximately 1.8 miles and has more than 80 lighted displays to view.”
  • 240 W James J Davis Dr, Mooseheart, IL


Aurora Festival of Lights

  • “One of the largest free outdoor drive-through holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, the Aurora Festival of Lights, returns for its 14th year in 2020 with even more dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children.”
  • Phillips Park, Aurora
  • Friday November 27th – December 27th. Monday through Thursday 5-9pm and Friday through Sunday 5-10pm


East Peoria Festival of Lights

  • The East Peoria Festival of Lights is so excited to announce that we are a 2020 contender for Season 8 of The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC TV!!
  • “Welcome to the 36th annual East Peoria Festival of Lights, happening Thursday, November 26, 2020 through Sunday, January 3, 2021! The Parade of Lights will occur on Saturday, November 21. Marking 36 years of holiday cheer, the festival begins with the Parade of Lights and continues through the month of December with the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display.”
  • The drive-through electric park is the Festival of Lights’ signature event! Folepi’s Winter Wonderland features the majority of the Parade of Lights floats and many other lighted displays including:Candy Cane Factory
    Lighted arches and circus animals
    Ski jumper display
    Prehistoric Land
    Space Land
    Western town
    And more!
    The Winter Wonderland entrance is off Springfield Road on Par 3 Lane. Tune your vehicle’s radio to 88.1 FM for holiday music to accompany your drive!


Shelbyville Festival of Lights

  • East North 9th Street, Shelbyville
  • November 20th – December 27th
  • “Come to Shelbyville and take a drive through Forest Park as it is lit up for the Holiday season. These lights are put in place each year by volunteers and new lights and themed areas are also added. Candy Cane lane is to honor loved ones. The Historical Chautauqua Building becomes a huge carousel. Come enjoy the Victorian Village, Santa’s Shop, the North Pole, Bethlehem, and others.  The lights have been changed to the new and brighter LEDs.”


Larsen Christmas Light Show

  • November 28th – December 30th
  • 42W891 Beith Rd, Campton Hills, IL 60119
  • Monday to Thursday: 5-10:00pm; Friday to Sunday: 5-10:00pm


Candy Cane Canyon Trail

  • 371 Canyon Trail, Carol Stream
  • The lights run 4:30 – 10:00 Sunday – Thursday and 4:30 – 11:00 Friday and Saturday, weather permitting through January 1st


Holiday Lights Trolley

  • Book your own private trolley for you and your family / friends. (Up to 16 people)
  • Enjoy a 75 min tour of the best residential lightings displays in Chicago
  • Holiday music, trivia, prizes, and goodie bags included.



Have a happy and safe holiday season!