Holiday light shows add sparkle to the season

  • The Big Timber Brilliance light show debuts Friday, Nov. 26, in Elgin.

    The Big Timber Brilliance light show debuts Friday, Nov. 26, in Elgin. Courtesy of Big Timber Brilliance

Updated 12/6/2021 9:18 AM

Let it Shine Lightshow

4:30-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 9 at Northbrook Court, 1515 Lake-Cook Road, Northbrook; Fox Valley Mall, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora; and Wintrust Field, 1999 S. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. A drive-through wonderland of light displays synchronized to holiday classics. Online ticket purchase required. $29.99 per vehicle weekdays, $39.99 weekends and holidays, $20 add-on for Fast Pass.


The Let It Shine drive-through light show is now open at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.
The Let It Shine drive-through light show is now open at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora. - Courtesy of Let It Shine

4:30-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Last entry at 9 p.m. The after-dark illuminated trail will include an all-new path filled with artistic installations. Adults: $24-$28; kids 3-12: $12-$15; free for kids 3 and younger. (847) 835-5440 or


4-10 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. Includes a holiday lights experience on the Main Mall and a light show on the South Lawn. New this year: Sensory-friendly visit times and an 18-foot holiday tree. $5; free on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Santa's Rock 'N' Lights

5-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5-8:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays through Jan. 2 at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. The drive-through animated light show returns with more than 100,000 animated lights dancing to holiday music. $19.99-$34.99 per vehicle.

Amaze Light Festival

Various hours through Jan. 2 at Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont. Outdoor holiday activities for all ages, including an immersive display of more than one million holiday lights, Santa's Workshop (complete with lit see saws and giant light brights), costumed characters, holiday food and beverages, toboggan rides, thrill hill tubing, train rides, holiday market, an immersive storybook experience and more. $23 for adults, $18 for kids 2-12.

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Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum returns as a 1-mile walking trail this year.
Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum returns as a 1-mile walking trail this year. - Courtesy of Morton Arboretum
Illumination: Tree Lights

4:30-8:30 p.m. various days through Jan. 2 at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. The ninth annual spectacle of color, light and sound returns on a 1-mile walking trail with five new features, including the Human+Nature sculpture Hallow lit up at night. Tickets are $7-$19 for members and $13-$24 for nonmembers. Advance ticket purchase is recommended as dates sell out. Concessions will be available.

Willow Hill's Winter Magic, A drive-through Christmas Lights Experience

4:30-10:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 at Willow Hill Golf Course, 1350 Willow Road, Northbrook. Features over one million lights adorning displays of characters, Christmas trees, drive-through light tunnels and more. $45-$50. Reserve tickets at

Winter Lights

4:30-9:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 9 at Central Park, Jorie Boulevard and Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. A free half-mile illuminated walk along paved pathways. Closed during inclement weather. The Cocoa Cabin will be selling cookies, candy canes, hot cocoa, coffee and tea in the Central Park West building from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 26-28 and Thursdays, Dec. 2 through Jan. 6, except Dec. 23.

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. The zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights, a selection of Christmas trees, wreaths and greenery, hot chocolate and holiday gifts. Lights turn on at 3 p.m. Open from 9 a.m. to noon on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Closed on Christmas and New Year's Day. Free admission; donations appreciated.


Holiday Magic

3-9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 8-12 and 15-19, and Sunday through Friday, Dec. 26-31, at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. More than two million twinkling LED lights, a 600-foot Tunnel of Lights, skating rink, photo ops and more. Secure admission and parking tickets in advance of arriving at the zoo.

Light Up the Lake

3-9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 26 through Dec. 19; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. An indoor, temperature-controlled experience featuring large-scale light-sculpture displays showcasing more than 600,000 twinkling lights, a regulation-size Alpine ice rink, holiday beer garden, train rides, Santa's Village, gift market and other family-friendly events. The event will close at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day. Tickets are $26 for adults, $21 for kids 3-12, and free for kids 3 and younger.

Big Timber Brilliance

5-9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays now through Jan. 2 at Camp Big Timber, 37W955 Big Timber Road, Elgin. See more than 100,000 animated lights synchronized to music while walking the one-mile illuminated trail. $20 for adults, $14-$15 for kids 3-12. Buy tickets in advance at

Christmas Tree Lane

Nightly through Friday, Dec. 31, at Depot Park, 90 E. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake. The gazebo and trees in Depot Park will be decked out with lights and decorations.

Holiday in the Park Lights

Select dates now through Dec. 30 at Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. Enjoy light shows, live entertainment, seasonal snacks and holiday shopping. For times and tickets, see


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