It’s about to start feeling a lot like the holidays across the Chicago area.

From tree lightings to light displays, more than a dozen holiday events in the city and suburbs kick off this weekend.

From Aurora to Lincoln Park and beyond, here’s a look at some of the events and activities that will kick off for the 2023 holiday season Friday and Saturday.

Christkindlmarket — Chicago, Wrigleyville, Aurora

The Chicago, Wrigleyville and Aurora Christkindlmarkets are all set to open for the season on Nov. 17. Traditional foods like bratwurst, hot spiced wine and roasted nuts will be available, alongside a variety of handmade Christmas décor for your home. 

The Aurora Christkindlmarket will have lantern parades on both Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m.

The events will include lantern pick-ups on stage, a welcome and reading of the story of St. Martin, a parade and a goodie bag distribution. Tickets can be purchased in advance here. 

A full schedule of events at each market, as well as hours, dates, and locations, can be found here.

Randolph Street Holiday Market — Chicago, West Loop

Randolph Street’s final market of the season takes place this weekend, Nov. 18 and 19.

The market features 200 vintage and antiques dealers, fashion designers and makers and more, a release said. The market will also feature food, music and cocktails, the release said.

Located at Plumber’s Hall, at 1341 Randolph Street., the market is open Nov. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are required and start at $12.

ZooLights — Chicago, Lincoln Park

ZooLights will return to Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo with its dazzling LED light displays, carolers and more beginning on Friday, Nov. 17. Enjoy a variety of live music events scheduled throughout this year’s chilly season and purchase holiday refreshments while exploring the zoo’s attractions. Tickets can be found here.

Chicago’s 2023 Christmas Tree lighting — Millennium Park

Chicago’s 110th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is also set for Nov. 17, when visitors gather every year in Millennium Park to kick off the holiday season. The lighting ceremony, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., is celebrated with a schedule of events including multiple viewing areas with screens and local musical artists, with a fireworks show following the tree lighting. 

If you can attend in-person, you’ll be able to watch the ceremony live here.

Ice Skating — Chicago, Multiple Locations

Several ice skating rinks open for the season beginning this weekend, including the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon in Chicago, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, Chicago’s Sky Rink at The Peninsula.

More information about each can be found here.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival — Chicago

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is back Saturday to kick off the holiday season. Marvel at the one million lights to be illuminated by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The parade features 385 marching band members, 40 floats, three giant helium balloons, celebrity performances and Santa Claus making their way down North Michigan Avenue. 

More information can be found here.

Santa at 900 North Michigan Shops — Chicago

Santa returns to the Magnificent Mile at 900 North Michigan Shops beginning Nov. 18 through Dec. 24. Visits with Santa will be available on Level 3. Reservations are required.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights at the Museum of Science and Industry — Chicago

Holiday displays among a forest of over 50 trees are just part of this year’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights at the Museum of Science and Industry.

In addition to the scenic sights, the museum’s four-story Grand Tree highlights the exhibit that celebrates the diversity of holiday traditions around the globe.

Snap photos of the Museum of Science and Industry’s four-story Grand Tree and explore a forest of over 50 trees and holiday displays opening Saturday, Nov. 18. This seasonal exhibit celebrates the diversity of holiday traditions around the globe. 

Entry to the holiday exhibit is included in a general admission ticket to the museum.

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum — Lisle

Traverse the Arboretum’s 50 acres of trees illuminated with dazzling colors starting Saturday, Nov. 18. The Arboretum will new immersive installations and features in addition to the returning fan favorites this year. 

Visitors can also enjoy s’mores, a bonfire and concession tents with more snacks.

More information can be found here.

World of Illumination: Arctic Adventure — Gurnee

See the Six Flags Great America landscape transform in this drive-thru experience that features millions of lights. Starting on Nov. 17, guests can venture through lights displays in the parking lot led by Beti the Yeti.

The park will also offer a Carousel Lights and Market on select nights where visitors can take more pictures or purchase snacks and decorations.

Arctic Adventure tickets can be purchased here.

Sparkle Light Festival — Rosemont

Rosemont’s Sparkle Light Festival returns to Impact Field beginning Friday, Nov. 17.

This year’s Sparkle Light Festival features five illuminated villages for families to explore, along with an ice skating rink, a “Holly Trolly” train, snow tubing, food and drink and more.

General admission tickets begin at $24 for adults. More information on tickets, dates and hours and can be found here.

Aurora Winter Lights Festival — Aurora

The Aurora Winter Lights Festival on Nov. 17 features a parade, a Christmas tree lightning ceremony, fireworks and more. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., at 23 E. Downer Place.

More information can be found here.

Light up the Park  Rosemont

Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park opens Saturday, Nov. 18 with the return of its Chicago Wolves Ice Rink. Mrs. Claus, horse-drawn sleigh rides, carolers, ice sculpting and more will also be on site.

-By NBC Chicago Staff.



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