Light It Up

Spots that will put some twinkle in your holidays:

Lincolnwood Towers

Stroll the span of 20 blocks, along the square made up of Central, Cicero, Pratt and Devon Avenues. Though the neighborhood’s decorations are not sponsored by anyone, its residents take joy in participating in its holiday beautification. From the three-story Christmas tree and reindeer to Santa Claus and entire houses draped with colorful lights, the Lincolnwood Towers in December make for an unforgettable evening.

Stevens Park

At the corner of Higgins and Scott, this park is sure to deliver your holiday light fix. The park is transformed in to a one-and-a-half-block Christmas village, full of some of the most extraordinary decorations, including giant nutcrackers and Christmas figures, candy canes and lights of every color.

Rosemont Community Park

Turn back east on Higgins and drive three blocks to Willow Creek Drive; turn south on Willow Creek Drive for 1 1/2 blocks and continue until you come to Rosemont Community Park, which is decorated similarly to Stevens.

Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Your favorite free zoo offers ice carving demonstrations, visits with Santa, warm drinks, cool crafts and more than two million beautiful lights—5-9 p.m., November 25 to 27, December 2 to 4, 9 to 11, and nightly from December 16 to January 1 (with the exception of December 24 and 25).

Chestnut, Ashland, Greenwood and Elmwood

These streets, running east-west in between Green Bay and Sheridan Roads, are known for their luminaries on Christmas Eve.

Also? The house at 1200 Cleveland Street in Wilmette is fast becoming legend on the North Shore.

Holiday Light Show at the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
Vernon Hills

Enjoy the lights from your well-heated car. The Village of Vernon Hills in cooperation with the Cuneo Museum and gardens holds their annual drive-thru Holiday Light Show every night (with the exception of December 24 and 25) from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for this event is $5 per car Monday through Thursday and $10 per car Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Energy-efficient LED bulbs—a mere 750,000 of them—illuminate the large deciduous trees, the signature 40-foot spruce in the Esplanade, clusters of Christmas trees in containers, and much more at this impressive display of holiday lights. You’ll also see sparkling yew hedges and seven red-and-white, lit Cornelian cherry dogwood trees lighting the way to the Wonderland Express exhibit.


State Street (between Lake and Van Buren), Chicago

These ever-changing lights fade from white to yellow, red to purple, and are synchronized to traditional Christmas music. When visiting, be sure to stop by the ABC TV window at the corner of Lake and State to broadcast your holiday cheer!

Brookfield Zoo

Don’t miss the Holiday Magic Lights Festival with over a million lights, animated displays, a laser light show and the Holly Jolly Theater with performers and local choirs. The fest is open 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays with regular parking and admission fees.

Edgebrook and Sauganash


Enjoy six blocks of homes decked out in lights, giant Santas, Disney characters, Christmas trees and other animated creations.