Weekend Events – November 24-26

This Thanksgiving weekend make some wonderful memories with your family. Enjoy Tree Lighting Ceremonies around NW Suburbs, Fireworks, Visits with Santa, Outdoor Ice Skating and the biggest and most spectacular Tree Lights Exhibits open for the season.



May the blessings of this Thanksgiving fill your heart and home!

I wish you and all your loved ones happy, joyful and peaceful Thanksgiving!



The Village of Arlington Heights installs and decorates an evergreen tree on the Park’s fountain and lights up the streetscape trees. Our Park District craftsmen have created a number of display pieces over the years that carry out a children’s toy theme.

Tree Lighting Ceremony starts at 5:00 pm.

FREE TROLLEY RIDES FROM 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The trolley is free and will be at North School Park. The trolley will make frequent trips to the Historical Museum where they will have different games for children to play. The trolley will also travel to Harmony Park in the downtown area where an ice sculpture will be. Riders can hop on the trolley at any of the designated stops to return to North School Park.

MB Financial Park will kick off its winter programming Friday, November 24th with the opening of the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at MB Financial Park and “Light Up the Park” tree lighting event, featuring a spectacular display of more than 80,000 lights in the park.

FREE ice skating begins at 11 a.m. Guests can also enjoy various holiday festivities throughout the day including photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas carolers, ice carving and free horse-drawn sleigh rides around The Park.

The ice rink at MB Financial Park closes for the evening at 11 p.m. MB Financial Park restaurants will be open for lunch and dinner throughout the day.

Tree Lighting Ceremony with Santa ride in on a fire truck and everyone will enjoy Christmas carols, entertainment, and refreshments.

The 2017 ceremony will feature a holiday performance by Gary Lewis & the Playboys!

At 5:30 pm following the performance, a special guest will join Mayor Johnson in throwing the switch to light up the holiday tree and turn on over 250,000 lights around the Municipal Complex, Elk Grove Public Library, Elk Grove Park District Pavilion, and on the Village’s Holiday Tree.

A special fireworks display will follow the tree lighting, announcing the entrance of Santa and his elves. Hot chocolate, coffee and cookies will be provided.

Santa in Elk Grove

The Festival of Lights Parade is the traditional start to the holiday season, as Santa Claus comes to town! The evening is filled with lights, music, pageantry, and little holiday magic! 2017 Theme: “A Candy Cane Christmas”.

Get comfortable, have some popcorn and enjoy the matinee. Children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Drop-in. Registration is not required.



This program is designed for all ages who want to experience the holiday spirit. The musical group Kevin Farris and the Infinite Possibilities will kick off the event from 1-2. Santa will appear with the Rose Queen at 2 PM. Refreshments will be served. No registration necessary!

Visit Santa, and animals, make a craft or two and enjoy refreshments. Fee: $5/family donation, $3 for printed photo with Santa.

Kick off your holidays with this puppet presentation of Shoemaker and the Elves and The Night Before Christmas.

On Saturdays at 11:00am join for Storytime, with activities to follow. Free Event



Magic is in the air at the Village of Bensenville annual Holiday Magic and Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Festivities include holiday music, reindeer, face painting, holiday movies at the Bensenville Theater, commemorative ornaments, kettle corn, hot chocolate, treats and much more. Santa arrives on the Yuletide Express at 3:00 pm.



  • SOUTH BARRINGTON, THE ARBORETUM – Arboretum on Ice – November 11, 2017 – January 15, 2018. Skate on our 7,200 square foot real ice rink with your friends and family. Admission: $12 with skate rental or $8 without skate rental, $8 for children under 3.  Website
  • CHICAGO, MILLENNIUM PARK – Ice Skating Experience one of the city’s finest winter traditions from November 17, 2017 – March 4, 2018 (weather permitting). Check the website for daily hours of operation. Admission is FREE with free skating lessons Friday through Sunday, one hour before the rink opens. Skate rentals available for $12.
  • ROSEMONT – Ice Skating at MB Financial Park, November 24, 2017 – February 2018

It’s winter fun for the whole family! Ice Skating is a FREE event. Skate rentals are available for $8. Tickets are sold on site at the box office.  Cash & credit cards accepted. Website

  • CHICAGO, The Maggie Daley Park – Skating ribbonNovember 17, 2017 – first week of March (weather permitting).  Free admission, skate rentals $12 ($14 on the weekend), locker rental $2. Website

maggie daley ice ribbon

Photo credit: Martha Williams



  • BASS PRO SHOPS – Santa’s WonderlandNovember 11, 2017 – December 24, 2017.

Santa’s Arrival and Preview Event on Saturday, November 11 at 5:00 pm.

Free photo with Santa, $5 Christmas card package, free wooden picture frame, free crafts, free activity tables, laser or foam toy arcade, Lincoln Logs building area, remote control trucks and more. Visit website for schedule and more details.

  • MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY – Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light  opens November 18, 2017- January 7, 2018.

It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. On the weekends, you can also enjoy live holiday performances. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof. Website

Photo credit: msichicago.org

  • THE MORTON ARBORETUM, LISLE – Illumination: Tree LightsNovember 17, 2017 – January 1, 2018

Illumination is an award-winning, one-mile outdoor walking tour on a paved path winding through 50 acres of The Morton Arboretum’s celebrated tree collections. Seating, warming/concession tents, and fire pits are available along the route. So are countless photo opportunities. It’s an ideal way to experience the winter woods brought to life with innovative lights, projections, and music.

This year, we’re introducing the Illu-medallion. Groundbreaking technology lets you be part of the interactive light display when you purchase a glowing, wearable Illu-medallion that reacts to the spectacular sights and sounds along your journey. Website

Photo credit: mortonarb.org

  • CHICAGO – ChristkindlmarketNovember 17 – December 24, 2017

The Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. At the market, stop by the Information Counter at the Americaneagle Grand Timber Haus and pick up a Christkindlmarket Passport – inside are activities, coloring pages, and a special at-market contest for children. Advent Calendar, Scavenger Hunt and more.  Admission is FREE! Website


  • LINCOLN PARK ZOO – ZooLightsNovember 24–26; December 1–3, 8–23, 26–31; January 1-7, 2018

Winter wonderland with lights, Santa visits, ice carving, train adventures, holiday crafts and more, 4:30-9:00 pm. Website

  • COSLEY ZOO, WHEATON – Festival of lightsNovember 24- December 30, 2017, 3:00-9:00 pm.

Cosley Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with 20,000 twinkling lights creating spectacular displays, an amazing selection of Christmas trees for you to purchase, hot chocolate, and holiday gifts.  Zoo Admission is free during the Festival of Lights and Tree Sales. Donations are greatly appreciated.

  • Cosley Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
  • Cosley Zoo is open 9A-Noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

The zoo is open 9 am-9 pm daily; lights come on at 3 pm. Website

  • CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN – Wonderland Express, November 24, 2017 – January 7, 2018

This is one of the Chicago area’s top holiday “must-sees,” and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience.  Website


Also check our guide to:

Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farms near Chicago

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