Best Holiday Lights in Chicago

By Elizabeth Czapski | Staff Writer

Millennium Park

The first official lighting of the Millennium Park tree took place on Nov. 16, and the tree will remain lit until Jan. 6. This year’s tree is a 60-foot Norway Spruce from Elmhurst, according to the city’s website, and is the city’s 105th City of Chicago Christmas Tree. Enjoy the tree’s colorful lights, then visit Millennium Park for more winter magic or Maggie Daley Park for ice skating.

Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue’s lights will stay on throughout the holiday season. Take a stroll down and do some window shopping while enjoying the festive decorations on the trees and buildings along Michigan Avenue.

The Walnut Room and windows at Macy’s

Macy’s famous Walnut Room was the first-ever restaurant opened in a department store. The seventh-floor establishment hosts a famous holiday tradition: The 45-foot Great Tree displayed in the center of the room. Visit just to see the tree, or go to the restaurant for the Holiday Great Tree Buffet, offered all day through Jan. 6. Check out Macy’s colorful holiday window displays, which create magical scenes of winter wonderlands and the North Pole, before going up to the restaurant. Visit Macy’s at 111 N. State St.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo make up some of the city’s most spectacular lights displays and you can visit the animals while marveling at the colorful lights all around the zoo. Strolling through the zoo would make for a great date night or be fun for the whole family! Zoo admission is always free. Visit through Jan. 6, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., at 2001 N. Clark St.

Museum of Science & Industry

The museum’s Christmas Around the World Exhibit features over 50 trees representing global holiday traditions. Each tree is uniquely decorated with ornaments that reflect a different country’s customs. In the center stands the grand tree, four stories tall and bathed in a stunning display of lights. Visit between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is included with museum admission, children 11 and under $12.95, adults $21.95, Museum of Science & Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.

Allstate CTA Holiday Train & Bus

Chicago’s public transportation system is not immune to the spirit of the holidays. The traditional holiday train, decorated with holiday lights and candy canes, began running Nov. 23.This year, the CTA has added an extra holiday train called the “Elves’ Workshop Train.” The ‘L’ train will be decked out with festive decorations and Santa will make an appearance. A CTA Holiday Bus will also be driving around the city for a trackless transportation experience. This runs through December. See transitchicago.com/holidayfleet for a schedule.

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