Things to do Dec. 31-Jan. 6: Last days for holiday light shows, fests and more

  • Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum still has some tickets available for Jan. 6-8.

      Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum still has some tickets available for Jan. 6-8. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
Posted12/29/2021 6:00 AM

Festivals

Light Up the Lake: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Sunday, 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 and other family-friendly events. The event will close at 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Tickets are $26 for adults, $21 for kids 3-12, and free for kids 3 and younger. navypier.org.

 

Holiday Bricktacular: Various hours through Monday, Jan. 3, at Legoland Discovery Center Chicago, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. Take a family photo with a life-size Santa's Sleigh, enjoy the attraction's holiday decorations, participate in the Lego present scavenger hunt and more. Included with price of general admission. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/chicago.

Winterland: Daily through Feb. 20 at Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark St., Chicago. Includes the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, ice skating on an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, ice bumper cars and more. gallagherway.com.

Light shows

AMAZE Light Festival: 4-7 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 2, at Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont. The festival offers outdoor holiday activities for all ages, including an immersive display of more than one million holiday lights, 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. amazerosemont.com.

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago runs 4-10 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 2.
ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago runs 4-10 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 2. - Courtesy of Todd Rosenberg Photography, Lincoln Park Zoo
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ZooLights: 4-10 p.m. daily through Sunday, 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. $5. lpzoo.org.

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park: 4:30-10 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 2, in Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave., Lombard. Light shows, tree decorations, a gingerbread house and more. lombardparks.com/holiday-lights.

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. shinelightshow.com.

Willow Hill's Winter Magic, A drive-through Christmas Lights Experience: 4:30-10:30 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 2, at Willow Hill Golf Course, 1350 Willow Road, Northbrook. Features over 1 million lights adorning displays of characters, Christmas trees, drive-through light tunnels and more. $40. Reserve tickets at WillowHillsWinterMagic.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Winter Lights: 4:30-9:30 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 9, at Central Park, Jorie Boulevard and Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. A free half-mile illuminated walk along paved pathways. The path will be closed during inclement weather. Purchase cookies, candy canes, hot cocoa, hot coffee and tea in the Cocoa Cabin in the Central Park West building from 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6. obparks.org/winterlights.

Mooseheart's Holiday Lights Show: 5-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at Mooseheart, off Route 31, south of Batavia. Features a 1.8-mile holiday light display through campus. Suggested donation is $20 per car to benefit Mooseheart. moosecharities.org.

Santa's Rock 'N' Lights: 5-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, and 5-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. The drive-through animated light show returns with nearly 1,000 programmable elements and more than 100,000 animated lights dancing to holiday music. $19.99-$34.99 per vehicle. santasrocknlights.com.

Hanson Barn Christmas Light Show: 6-9 p.m. daily through Friday, Dec. 31, at the Hanson family farm, 5107 Thorne Road, Marengo. Farm buildings have been decked out with more than 45,000 pixel LEDs that have been synced to music, which people can tune into via 92.9 FM. Donations are welcome at hansonbarn.com.

Christmas Tree Lane: 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. downtowncl.org.

Big Timber Brilliance: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, and 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, at Camp Big Timber, 37W955 Big Timber Road, Elgin. See hundreds of thousands of lights across a nearly milelong walking trail, including two signature light tunnels synced to music, and finish by the fire at the cozy lodge. Benefits Three Fires Council BSA providing programming to local youth. $14-$15 for children, $20 for adults, free for kids younger than 3. bigtimberbrilliance.org.

Holiday in the Park Lights: 5-9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, and Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 6-9, at Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. See the lights and light shows from the comfort of your car. Buy tickets at sixflags.com/greatamerica.

Illumination, Tree Lights: 4:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 6-8, (all other dates are sold out) 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 highly recommended as dates sell out. Concessions will be available for purchase. mortonarb.org.

Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove hosts its New Year's Day Alpine Fest on Jan. 1.
Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove hosts its New Year's Day Alpine Fest on Jan. 1. - Courtesy of Buffalo Creek Brewing
Events

New Year's Mini Bash: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at Techny Prairie Activity Center, 180 Anets Drive, Northbrook. Kids 3 and older with an adult can celebrate New Year's Eve and count down to noon. Entertainment from a DJ, games, crafts, prizes, snacks, a balloon drop and a sparkling cider toast. $15 for residents, $19 for nonresidents. nbparks.org.

New Year's Eve Family Party: 8 p.m. to midnight Friday, Dec. 31, at Haunted Trails Entertainment Park & Picnic Groves, 1423 N. Broadway St., Joliet. Ring in the New Year with food, a balloon drop, a toast, a countdown celebration and more. Free. hauntedtrailsfun.com.

New Year's Day Alpine Fest: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, at Buffalo Creek Brewing, 360 Historical Lane, Long Grove. The brewery will offer guests two festive party scenes inside and outside to ring in the New Year. The Alpine Biergarten offers six stocked firepits, patio and barrel table heat lamps, sheepskin seat covers, twinkle lighting and more than two acres of winter wonderland to explore, along with handcrafted beer and outdoor tableside service, a food truck and music from The Unemployed Architects. The Alpine Lodge experience mirrors outside but with the comforts of a European beer lodge, plus a gaming lounge with prizes. buffalocreekbrewing.com.

The New Philharmonic performs its New Year's Eve Concerts at 1:30, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, in the Belushi Performance Hall at the McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn.
The New Philharmonic performs its New Year's Eve Concerts at 1:30, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, in the Belushi Performance Hall at the McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn. - Courtesy of John Cebula
Concerts

New Philharmonic New Year's Eve Concerts: 1:30, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, in the Belushi Performance Hall, McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. New Philharmonic, directed by Kirk Muspratt, with baritone Ted Allen Pickel, perform Viennese classics and more. Premium seating includes a glass of champagne and party favors. $65-$77. (630) 942-4000 oratthemac.org.

New Year's Eve with the BoDeans: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at the Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner St., Des Plaines. Celebrate New Year's Eve with a performance by the BoDeans. (630) 962-7000 or oshows.com.

The String Cheese Incident: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Ring in the New Year with The String Cheese Incident, the band's first New Year's Eve in Chicago in 18 years. $56.75-$150.50. auditoriumtheatre.org.

American English: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. American English returns with another twist on The Beatles with their "A Hard Day's Night" album followed by their "Let It Be" album. Tickets start at $27. rauecenter.org.

New Year's Eve with the Modern Day Romeos: 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at Impact Fuel Room, 481 Peterson Road, Libertyville. Celebrate New Year's Eve with the Modern Day Romeos. Doors open at 9 p.m. For ages 21 and older. Tickets start at $15 with VIP and main floor tickets $125 in advance, $5 more the day of the event. impactfuelroom.com.

On Stage

Steve Cochran's New Year's Eve Comedy Show: 3-5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Say goodbye to 2021 with a comedy show featuring headliner Steve Cochran of Radio 720 WGN and special guests including John DaCosse, Mike Toomey and Tim Benker. Recommended for ages 18 and older. Tickets start at $37. rauecenter.org.

"The Snow Queen": 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, at the Chopin Theatre Mainstage, 1543 W. Division Ave., Chicago. The House introduces a reimagination of Hans Christian Andersen's beloved fable infused with magic, puppetry and music. $20. thehousetheatre.com.

Exhibits

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Jan. 3 at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Explore holiday traditions from around the globe. $21.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids 3-11. msichicago.org/catw.

"Dr. Seuss Experience": Noon to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31; and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 1-2, at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Immersive exhibit lets guests journey through nine different Dr. Seuss books. $23-$30; free for kids younger than 1. experienceseuss.com.

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