5 Chicago Holiday Light Displays You Don’t Want to Miss

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The holiday season is the most joyful time of year when family and friends gather for great food, gifts, and good company. If you’ll be in Chicago during the holidays this year, you won’t want to miss the city’s seasonal lights and decorations. After all, they’re some of the best in the country!

For a little inspiration, we’re sharing five of our favorite lights displays around Chicago. Start planning your holiday planning today!

1. Illumination at The Morton Arboretum

4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532
November 18, 2016 – January 2, 2017

The Morton Arboretum’s Illumination holiday display is a one-of-a-kind holiday event perfect for visitors of all ages. Now in its fourth year, Illumination is a walk through a winter wonderland. Ooh and ahh over Meadow Lake, complete with floating LED fixtures that offer a dazzling lights display, and admire the dancing lights to the tune of The Nutcracker Suite as you stroll through Symphony Woods. This is one event that has become a holiday tradition for many.

2. Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo

8400 W 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513
Saturdays and Sundays throughout December
Monday, December 26 – Saturday, December 31

As Chicagoland’s largest and longest running lights festival, Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo features more than 1 million lights, a 41-foot talking Christmas tree, a train display, and ice carvers. Don’t miss the Polar Lights show: the lights respond the touch, allowing you to create your own twinkling masterpiece. Holiday Magic is the perfect outing for families.

3. Butch McGuire’s

20 W Division Street, Chicago, IL 60610
Week before Thanksgiving through mid-January

For more than 50 years, the holidays at Butch McGuire’s have been a tradition for many Chicago families. Today, the Gold Coast Irish pub’s traditions are more alive than ever. The pub transforms during the holidays, with elaborate, ceiling-shrouding lights, mobiles, figurines, and more.

The Chicago institution claims to be America’s original singles bar. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 10,000 couples have met here. It’s always busy at Butch McGuire’s, but during the holidays it becomes a madhouse, as people pack in for a meal under a canopy of perfectly gaudy Christmas lights and decor. If you’re OK waiting a while for a table, you’re in for a uniquely Chicago experience.

4. Millennium Park Christmas Tree

Near Michigan Avenue & Washington Street

If you’re a Chicagoan, you can’t miss the tree in Millennium Park. It seems this holiday tradition gets better every year. This year’s Christmas tree is a 69-foot Norway spruce from Wauconda, Ill., and is decked out with 48,375 colored lights. While you’re there, skate at the McCormick Tribune ice rink and singing a few Christmas carols by the iconic Cloud Gate.

5. Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest

Navy Pier
600 E Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
December 2, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Chicago’s Navy Pier is a destination year-round; especially during the holidays. The Pier’s Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest brings nearly 6 weeks of holiday fun and festivities. Now in its 16th year, WonderFest is 170,000 square feet of rides, slides, and the Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating rink. If there’s one thing that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit, this is definitely it.

OML Worldwide: Your Transportation Provider for Holiday Lights in Chicago

Many of Chicago’s lights displays also happen to be among the most popular in the country, leading to huge crowds and a lack of parking. Parking far away and trekking through the bitter Chicago cold isn’t the most enjoyable way to kick off a day or night of holiday fun with family and friends. Booking luxury car service, complete with a professional chauffeur who will drop you off at the door, is the best way to travel during your lights tour.

Contact OML Worldwide to start planning your holiday outing today!

*Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in November 2015. However, it has since been updated to reflect the most current information.

Image Credit: jkraft5 via Big Stock Photo

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.