Best Holiday Events to Attend in the Chicago Suburbs Around Christmas & Hanukkah

Nov 29, 2022

There’s no shortage of things to do in the Chicago suburbs during the holidays.

From Christmas holiday parades to outdoor light displays — and even a festive pub crawl — there’s so much to do and see in the Chicago suburbs this holiday season. 

November 18-January 8: Amaze Light Festival (Tinley Park)

Get your holidays glowing at the Amaze Light Festival. Each year, Tinley Park hosts dazzling light shows, a holiday market, an all-ages tubing hill, and an Arctic Express train. There are even signature cocktails! Book your ticket for this luminous adventure here

November 25-December 18 (select days): Happy Holiday Railway (Union)

All aboard for holiday fun! This magical 40-minute train ride through the wintry countryside includes treats and hot chocolate, a Christmas lights display, and a gift for kids on the “nice list.” Afterwards, check out the model train displays and hop on a streetcar for a ride on the trolley loop.

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November 25–December 31 (select days): Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield)

Don’t miss Chicagoland’s longest-running light festival. The Brookfield Zoo is aglow with more than two million twinkling LED lights. Walk through a 600-foot-long tunnel with colored lights synchronized to music, spot larger-than-life illuminated animal sculptures, chat up a 41-foot-tall talking tree, and check out hundreds of trees decorated for the holidays. Afterwards, warm up with funnel cakes, pizza, spiced wine, or a mug of hot cocoa. 

November 25-December 31: NaperLights (Naperville) 

Sometimes, the best things in life really are free. The city of Naperville makes the holidays merrier and brighter with a free dazzling downtown light and sound display. Grab a holiday photo with Santa on Friday and Saturday evenings; on December 17 and 18 you can enjoy music from Bach to rock.

November 25-January 2: Holiday Bricktacular (Schaumburg)

Legoland is pretty wonderful any day of the year — but without a doubt, the Holiday Bricktacular is the most wonderful time of the year. Ride Merlin’s Apprentice, see Chicago’s landmarks built out of Lego bricks, take photos with a giant sleigh, snowman and Santa all built out of Legos, search for gingerbread Minifigures, and go on a scavenger hunt to find the Lego presents hidden throughout Legoland.  

November 26-December 24: Holiday Window Decorating Contest (Evanston)

Want to see city sidewalks dressed in holiday style? Evanston’s small business owners are decorating their store windows with a “Celebrate Sustainably” theme for the holidays. Stroll through the streets of this charming North Shore town to check out the windows—and vote for your favorite!

November 26: Villa Grove Tree Lighting Festival (Villa Grove)

The spirit of community runs deep all year long in Villa Grove – but it’s especially strong during the holiday season that kicks off with the Villa Grove Tree Lighting Festival. Browse the bake sale, check out the gingerbread house display, visit with Santa, and take a carriage ride all before the switch is flipped and the town is lit up for the holidays. 

November 19-December 18: Carriage Rides (Long Grove)

Do you have visions of an old-fashioned holiday? The Victorian village of Long Grove has a twinkling covered bridge, cobblestone streets, and historical buildings trimmed with lights. Take a carriage ride through the streets of this quaint village, then stop off for a bite to eat and some shopping. (And if you spend more than $150 in historic downtown Long Grove shops and restaurants while you’re visiting, you’ll get a free gift from the town.)

December 2: Holiday Tree Lighting (Winnetka)

If “Home Alone” is on your list of must-watch holiday movies, swing by Winnetka to see Kevin’s hometown decked out for the holidays. There’ll be local choirs singing carols, free hot chocolate, apple cider, and cookies, and a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and a jolly elf. 

December 3-4: Ballet Legere’s Nutcracker (River Forest)

Kick off the magic of the holiday season with “The Nutcracker.” Clara, Drosselmeyer, the Mouse King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy take to the stage at the Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest for a delightful production of this holiday classic. 

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December 10: Kris Kringle Pub Crawl (Westmont)

Who says kids get to have all the fun? Hop on the Kris Kringle Pub Crawl party bus and raise your glass at five of Westmont’s most fun bars and restaurants. The $18 ticket price includes transportation, food and drink specials, and an event t-shirt.

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December 12: Dreidels and Donuts (Highland Park)

Hanukkah is almost here. Spin the dreidel, make a holiday-themed craft, and feast on sufganiyot (traditional jelly-filled donuts) at this festive, family-friendly event hosted by the Park District of Highland Park. 

How do you pick your hometown? Schedule a meeting with a Suburban Jungle Strategist to tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll help you find the towns that make your “nice” list. 

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