One of the best ways to kick off the holiday season is by attending a big, festive celebration.

With tree lightings, parades, fireworks and special guest appearances abound, there are a variety of tree lighting ceremonies to attend this week. Here are a number in Chicago and the suburbs you can attend.

Hoffman Estates Friendship Tree Lighting Ceremony – Saturday, Nov. 18

Watch the Hoffman Estates Friendship Tree Lighting Ceremony on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 18. There will be a fireworks display to kick off the season and a performance by the musical group the Choral-Aires. Santa is even scheduled to arrive in fashion by riding a firetruck into the venue.

The event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at Hoffman Estates Village Hall, 1900 Hassell Rd.

Museum of Science and Industry – Saturday, Nov. 18

Kick off the holiday season with Chance the Rapper at the Museum of Science and Industry. Starting at 11 a.m. on Nov. 18, Grammy-award-winning musician and founder of SocialWorks Chance the Rapper will kick off the “Christmas Around the World” and “Holidays of Light” exhibits.

He will also announce the return of SocialWorks’ annual “A Night at the Museum” event. He will be joined by Santa Larry, the first Black Santa that was hired at the Mall of America, and the museum’s Vice President of Education and Chief Learning and Community Partnerships Officer Jessica Chavez.

There will also be a meet-and-greet with a Chicago Cubs player, courtesy of Coca-Cola and various life performances and activities throughout the exhibit. 

Palatine Holiday Tree Lighting – Saturday, Nov. 18

Celebrate the holiday season with Santa at Palatine’s tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 18. In addition, members of the Palatine Children’s Chorus will display their talents.

The ceremony is planned from 4:45-5:45 p.m. at Towne Square Park, 150 W. Palatine Road.

Rosemont Light Up the Park – Saturday, Nov. 18

Skate like a professional to kick off the holiday season at the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink on Saturday at Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park. 

To celebrate, Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens will officially illuminate the park at 5:30 p.m. Visitors can also explore the nearby Sparkle Light Festival at nearby Impact Field. There will also be Santa and Mrs. Claus visits, horse-drawn sleigh rides, carolers and ice sculpting. 

The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bensenville’s Holiday Magic & Tree Lighting – Sunday, Nov. 19

Bensenville’s Holiday Magic and Tree Lighting Ceremony will commence at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19. After a holiday car parade, visitors can take photos with Santa, visit the petting zoo, ride on a horse-drawn carriage and even grab a sweet treat at a smores station.

Lights Around Wheeling – Sunday, Nov. 19

Enjoy warm drinks, cookies, carolers and a visit from Santa to welcome the holidays on Sunday, Nov. 19 in Wheeling. The event will get underway at 4:30 p.m. at Friendship Park, on the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road.

Mount Prospect Tree Lighting – Wednesday, Nov. 22

Mount Prospect will usher in the holidays on Wednesday, Nov. 22 with its tree lighting. Spectators will be able to see a performance by the Prospect High School Madrigals and have the chance to visit the Christkindlmarket.

The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at Meyn-Busse Park, 21 S. Emerson St.

Lake Forest Tree Lighting Holiday Celebration – Friday, Nov. 24

Join the historic 39th Annual Lake Forest Tree Lighting Holiday Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24 to enjoy live music, performances, kids’ activities and refreshments. The event will feature a “Home Alone” movie screening, a visit from Santa, orchestral and choral ensembles and a dance performance.

The celebration is planned for 3 p.m. at 264 Market Square Ct.

Ottawa Festival of Lights and Tree Lighting – Friday, Nov. 24

Ottawa’s Annual Festival of Lights Parade will illuminate the city’s downtown starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24. There will be a dazzling procession of floats, music and other attractions. The parade will kick off at the corner of LaSalle Street and Jackson Street.

After the parade, visit Jordan Block to watch performances by Friendly City Sound and Shepherd Choir. Santa will even pay a visit and the Jordan Block Christmas Tree will be lit. 

Guests can also visit the Chris Kringle Market located in Jordan Block and Washington Park until 8 p.m. 



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