Chicago becomes a winter wonderland during the month of December. There are decorations everywhere, and almost every storefront is made up of beautiful displays. Even the streets seem to sparkle. If you want to know where to see the best Christmas light displays around River North, we’ve found them.
The Magnificent Mile is famous year-round for its shopping, but it’s especially charming during the holidays. Its annual lights festival kicks off the holiday season the weekend before Thanksgiving and continues to brighten up downtown Chicago through the new year. Every tree is strung with lights, and the mile-long thoroughfare is anchored by trees at both the Wrigley Building and Pioneer Plaza. On the other end of the boulevard is another tree at the historic Water Tower, and inside the tony 900 North Michigan Shops is one of the most beautiful and grand trees in the area.
South of the Chicago River is Millennium Park and the official Chicago Christmas tree. With its location just north of the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink and the city’s signature sculpture, Cloud Gate, you’ll find loads of winter fun. This year’s tree was donated by a family in Grayslake, and it’s decorated with thousands of colorful lights.
If you prefer your Christmas trees indoors, head to Navy Pier and their annual Winter Wonderfest. There are nearly 500 trees decorated with 25,000 ornaments. In addition to exploring the inside forest, you can also play ride bumper cars, go ice skating, and decorate cookies. If you’re feeling active, you can climb the walls and go ice skating.
No holiday lights roundup is complete without a mention of Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo. After the sun sets, the zoo lights up with millions of lights. There are hot chocolate and warm spiced wine, ice carving, and musical lights shows. You can even do some gift shopping while you’re there. This year, there’s also a Light Maze, which really makes the season bright.
You don’t have to go far from River North to find the best Christmas light displays in Chicago. Have you visited these festive sights? Please let us know on Twitter and Facebook.