WHERE TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN CHICAGO IN 2023
Looking for the perfect night out in the Windy City this winter? From a private dinner at Skydeck to a night of Christmas lights in Chicago, there are plenty of reasons to brave the cold. Where are the Christmas lights in Chicago that you shouldn’t miss this year? You’ve got plenty of options—in fact, you might just have trouble seeing them all. Explore our top four downtown Chicago Christmas light displays below, and let us know which ones you’re going to check out!
ZOOLIGHTS AT LINCOLN PARK ZOO
The long-running ZooLights installation at Lincoln Park Zoo returns in 2023 with one of the best displays of Christmas lights Chicago has to offer. At the event, you’ll even get to enjoy adults-only mulled wine and family-friendly hot chocolate.
The 29th edition of ZooLights will feature “ethereal and interactive” displays, as well as an all-new themed show on the zoo’s south lawn. Fan favorites like the Light Maze and the Ferris Wheel make a triumphant return—and that means this year’s ZooLights is one that you won’t want to miss!
- Times: 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM (Monday – Thursday), 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays + Nov. 22 and Dec. 31)
- Dates: November 17th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024
- Admission: $7, or $10 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays + Nov. 22 and Dec. 31
LIGHTSCAPE AT CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN
No matter what kind of night out you’re looking for, there’s definitely a downtown Chicago Christmas lights display that you’ll love. Where are the Christmas lights in Chicago for those who appreciate the arts? At the Chicago Botanic Garden Lightscape, take in light installations by local and international artists as you walk the path through the garden’s grounds.
- Times: 4:30 PM to 11:00 PM
- Dates: November 10th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024 (Not available for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas)
- Admission: $26 standard/$28 weekend for adults, $14 standard/$15 weekend for children
MAGNIFICENT MILE LIGHTS FESTIVAL
More than 1,000,000 lights will illuminate Chicago’s iconic Magnificent Mile over this holiday season. The lights will be up over the next few months, but November 18th is the big day for those who want to see the Christmas tree lighting in Chicago. On that day, the lights on Chicago’s massive official Christmas Tree will turn on at 6:00 PM.
Also on the 18th, the family-friendly Lights Festival Lane will run from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. A parade will follow at 5:30, and the Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular will cap off the evening. That last display starts at 7:00.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
Looking for a more educational experience that will raise everyone’s spirits? We can’t speak highly enough of the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual holiday exhibition. This year’s display, entitled “Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light,” will explore holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. The exhibition centers around the Museum’s “floor-to-dome” Grand Tree, with fifty more trees spread out around it. Each tree illuminates a different culture’s Christmas or light-related holiday traditions.
The exhibition will run from mid-November to early January, but the exact dates have not been determined at the time of writing.
BOOK YOUR EVENT AT CHICAGO’S MOST MEMORABLE VENUE
So, where are the best Christmas lights in Chicago? Now that you know that events happen all across the city, you might not want to choose. Visiting the loop for this year’s Christmas tree lighting in Chicago? From 103 floors up, you can see all the Christmas lights Chicago has to offer — all at once! Reach out to find out why the Skydeck is among Chicago’s most distinct event venues, and start planning your private event today.