Light It Up: Spots That Will Put Some Twinkle in Your Holidays

Who’s got the best holiday lights? On the North Shore, decking the house is almost an Olympic competition.


Here are the places to watch, and add your favorite in the comments section, or send a picture to [email protected].

Photo: Christmas trees at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincolnwood Towers, Lincolnwood

20 square blocks of decorations with Pratt Avenue on the north, Devon Avenue on the south, Central Avenue on the east, and Cicero Avenue on the west. Dozens of residents participate individually in this neighborhood decoration, which is not sponsored or organized by the community. It just happens. Decorations include outdoor Christmas trees, reindeer, elves, Santa Clauses, lighted bushes and many different wreaths. Whole houses are draped with lights, outlined and colored. There’s also a three-story Christmas tree.

Stevens Park, Rosemont

Drive west on Devon to Higgins Road and continue 1 block west under the tollway where you’ll see Stevens Park at the corner of Higgins and Scott. The park is chock full of extraordinary decorations; 1 1/2 blocks full of giant nutcrackers and giant Christmas figures, candy canes, lights and colors—a Christmas village.

Rosemont Community Park, Rosemont

Turn back east on Higgins 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.

The home of Jeri and Richard Traub, 915 Oakwood Ave., Wilmette.

“It is always decorated to the nines and kids love to drive by to see everything from blow up Santa to lights on the roof. It looks like a giant gingerbread house,” says MIB staffer Heather Blackwell.

The Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Zoo Lights is open nightly (closed Dec. 24 and 25), 5 – 9 p.m., and, like the Zoo in general, it’s free. Activities include photos with Santa in the Kovler Lion House, a musical light show on the South Lawn, sipping hot chocolate, spiced wine and beer, and kids’ crafts.

Chestnut, Ashland, Greenwood, and Elmwood in Wilmette

These streets are known for their luminaries on Christmas Eve.

Holiday Light Show on the grounds of the Cuneo Museum

The Drive Thru Holiday Light Show presented by the Village of Vernon Hills in cooperation with the Cuneo Museum and Gardens is held annually on the magnificent grounds of the Cuneo Museum and Gardens. Hours are every day (except Dec. 24 and 25) 6 – 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

750,000 energy-efficient LED bulbs 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.