Christmas and Holiday Festivals, Parades and Celebrations in Chicago’s Western Suburbs

Monday, Nov 20th, 2017 by

The holidays are upon us! Here’s a day-by-day guide to holiday fun in communities all over Chicago’s western suburbs. If you’re looking to see a performance of “The Nutcracker,” check out our guide here, all about Breakfast with Santa opportunities here and events for children with special needs here. We’ll soon be posting more guides to great Christmas light displays, holiday movies and more, so stay tuned! Finally, please do check the links provided carefully to doublecheck times, dates and admission prices.

 

Daily or Weekly Events

 

AURORA LIGHTS The Holiday Festival of Lights takes place every year in Aurora’s Phillips Park and this year runs November 24 through December 26. This is an outdoor, drive-through light display, one of the largest in the Chicago area. It is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Aurora and the city of Aurora. Admission is free, but donations for charity are accepted at the end of the drive. The lights are on from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

 

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS Starting Nov. 24, Cosley Zoo in Wheaton will light more than 20,000 lights every day at 3 p.m. and they’ll stay on until the zoo closes at 9 p.m. You can visit with the animals, purchase a cup of hot chocolate, and also purchase trees and wreaths. On the Saturdays of Nov. 25, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can also visit with Santa for a $5 per family donation at Santa’s Craft Corner. Admission to the zoo is free during the festival but donations are always appreciated.

 

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT MOOSEHEART Every night starting November 24 until December 31 Mooseheart has an impressive drive-thru lighting display. It features more than 80 holiday characters, figures, mythical creatures, and architectural lighting over a two-mile course. The lights are on display nightly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost is $10 per car, 3D viewing glasses are available for $1 each. Proceeds benefit Mooseheart Child City & School. To enter the lights display, use the entrance on Route 31, just about two miles north of I-88. Santa will be available for visits December 8-10 and December 15-17 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

 

HOLIDAY MAGIC AT BROOKFIELD ZOO The zoo stays open late and the festivities start at 4 p.m. with Chicagoland’s largest lights festival at Brookfield Zoo on Saturdays and Sundays in December, plus Dec. 26 through Dec. 31. During the Holiday Magic event the Wild Encounters exhibit will have free admission, but the parakeet aviary will be closed. There will a variety of lights and activities and even some opportunities for photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus on select days. For a more detailed list of events and dates, visit the czs.org website.

 

NAPER LIGHTS & CHRISTKINDLMARKET Every Thursday through Sunday, from Nov. 24 through Dec. 23, you can stroll the museum grounds at Naper Settlement for “Naper Lights.” (Hours are 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.) The display features a number of large holiday themed figures, lighted trees, free hot chocolate on Fridays and Saturdays, and occasional holiday music. This event is free, but donations are appreciated. Find more info and suggested parking locations on the Naper Lights page. Also, Naper Settlement will be hosting a suburban version of Chicago’s beloved Christkindlmarket. It will be open Thursdays through Sundays from Nov. 24 through Dec. 18, with some extra days closer to Christmas. Find more info here. Admission to the market is free.

 

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2017 Events Divided by Day

 

November 24, 2017

 

HOLIDAY HOMECOMING The St. Charles Holiday Homecoming weekend begins Friday, Nov. 24, with a visit with Santa and the Lighting of the Lights on 1st Street Plaza at 5 p.m. There will be Merry Carols and an appearance by Santa as Mayor Ray Rogina flips the switch to turn on the lights. For more information visit downtownstcharles.org

 

LIGHTED HOLIDAY PARADE Downtown Wheaton will be having a tree lighting ceremony and festive parade starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24. For more information, visit downtownwheaton.com. Free carriage rides, visits with Santa and other holiday celebrations will be offered on select December Saturdays in in downtown Wheaton. Find more info here.

 

 

November 25, 2017

 

HOLIDAY HOMECOMING The St. Charles Holiday Homecoming continues on Saturday, Nov. 25, with a free showing of “Home Alone” at the Arcada at 10 a.m. Santa will be available for visits at Santa’s House at 1st Street Plaza from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and there will be free horse drawn sleigh rides downtown starting at 1 a.m. The event finishes with the Holiday Electric Parade at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street from Sixth Street to Fourth Avenue. For more information visit downtownstcharles.org

 

CHRISTMAS STROLL The Village of Elburn annual Christmas Stroll is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 25, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Details are still being published but in the past, it has featured hayrides, free samples from local merchants, hot chocolate, s’mores, visits with Santa and a holiday light show. Find more info on the Christmas Stroll’s Facebook page  or event page.

 

 

November 26, 2017

 

CELEBRATION OF LIGHTS FESTIVAL Batavia is holding its annual Celebration of Lights Festival on Sunday, Nov. 26, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be hayrides, roasted chestnuts, Santa, a tree lighting ceremony, storytime, craft market chance to make old-fashioned Christmas ornaments and more. For more information and a full schedule of events, please click here.

 

December 1, 2017

 

CHRISTMAS WALK Geneva’s annual Christmas walk begins Friday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. with the arrival of Santa Lucia – a Swedish symbol of the season – by horse-drawn carriage. Santa will help light the Great Tree on the Courthouse lawn next, then you can wander downtown to enjoy roasting chestnuts, strolling carolers, “live mannequins,” a living nativity, freshly-made candy canes and hot cider. (A House Tour, which is aimed at adults and costs $35 per person, takes place on Dec. 1 and 2.) You can find a detailed schedule of the events here.

 

CHRISTMAS WALK The village of Oswego hosts an annual Christmas Walk on Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m throughout the downtown area. There will be a silent, lighted fire truck parade, a visit with Santa, food vendors, rides on the Holiday Train and an official tree lighting ceremony. Find more info on the village’s website.

 

December 2, 2017

 

LITTLE FRIENDS HOLIDAY PARADE OF LIGHTS The Little Friends Holiday Parade of Lights will be in downtown Naperville on Saturday, Dec. 2, launching from Jackson Avenue. The parade begins at 7 p.m. and afterwards Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to visit with kids inside the Santa House at Jackson and Webster. For more information, click here.

 

HOLIDAY IN THE GROVE There will be a Holiday festival in Sugar Grove on Saturday, Dec. 2, starting with a ceremonial tree lighting event at 7:45 a.m. There are a variety of events throughout the day with chances to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus and there will also be a craft fair. For a full list of events, click here.

 

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS This two-day event at the Museums at Lisle Station Park has a variety of events like meeting Santa and live reindeer, crafts, hay rides, ice carving, a parade, and more. Saturday the events run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a full schedule of events, visit here.

 

TALON AND CLAUS The Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn will be hosting a  “Talons and Claus” open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. You can have your picture taken with Santa and his wildlife friends for $10 a photo. There will also be a variety of other free activities and animals to see. For more information visit dupageforest.org or call 630-942-6200

 

CANTIGNY HOLIDAY FESTIVAL Families and children of all ages are invited to Cantigny Park for the “Celebrate the Season” holiday festival on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. The park will be decorated for the holidays, and an assortment of activities and offerings are planned to kick off the season in style. There will be sleigh rides, live reindeer, carolers, a holiday craft, face painting, story time with Mrs. Claus, and Santa. This is a free event but there will be a $5 parking fee and there may be additional fees for some events. For more information, visit cantigny.org

 

WINTER WONDERLAND Downtown Elgin will be celebrating with its annual Winter Wonderland on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be decorated store front windows, roasting of chestnuts, decorating cookies and holiday music.  Plus, you can stop by Elgin Police Department Open House, write Holiday Letters to Soldiers, relax on the carriage ride and more, leading up to the tree lighting ceremony. This is a free event. You’ll find more info here.

 

WEST CHICAGO FROSTY FEST As part of its “Frosty Fest” celebration, West Chicago’s downtown feature a procession down Main Street, a grand tree lighting, horse-drawn trolley, live reindeer, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will also be musical performances, holiday crafts and more. The event takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. Find more info here.

 

December 3, 2017

 

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS This two-day event at the Museums at Lisle Station Park has a variety of events like meeting Santa and live reindeer, crafts, hay rides, ice carving, a parade, and more. Saturday the events run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a full schedule of events, visit here.

 

NORTH AURORA’S EVERGREEN HOLIDAYS North Aurora is holding this annual, free event on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Riverfront Park just west of village hall. There will be 30 decorated trees from local sponsors, children’s activities, hot chocolate, treats, and more. For more information email NOARDA at info@noarda.org or visit the Facebook event page.

 

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE The Messenger Public Library in North Aurora is holding an annual holiday open house on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a strolling festive singers, Santa visits, refreshments, a holiday craft and the chance to sign up for the North Aurora Mother’s Club Giving Tree. This is a free event, call 630-896-0240 with any questions or visit here.

 

MONTGOMERY TREE LIGHTING: Montgomery’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. in front of Village Hall. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in fire trucks with sirens blazing. There will be musical performances inside Village Hall, plus free hot cocoa and cookies, and a Festival of Trees, too. Find more info here.

 

December 8, 2017

 

CELEBRATE THE SEASON The Geneva Public Library will hold its annual Celebrate the Season event on Friday, Dec. 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring crafts, refreshments, a singalong and visit from Santa. The event is free.

 

HOLIDAY EXPRESS AT BLACKBERRY FARM The Holiday Express will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, at Blackberry Farm, which will be decorated for the season with twinkling lights. There will will also be the chance to enjoy stories, decorations, a reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is $5 a person and concessions will be available to purchase. Unlike normal days at Blackberry Farm, you will only be able to ride the train once. Also, some of the normal attractions will be closed for the season, there will not be carousel or pony rides. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

 

 

 

December 9, 2017

 

HOLIDAY EXPRESS AT BLACKBERRY FARM The Holiday Express will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9-10 at Blackberry Farm, which will be decorated for the season with twinkling lights. There will be the chance to enjoy stories, decorations, a reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is $5 a person and concessions will be available to purchase. Unlike normal days at Blackberry Farm, you will only be able to ride the train once. Also, some of the normal attractions will be closed for the season, there will not be carousel or pony rides. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

 

CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM There will be a Victorian Christmas celebration inside the farmhouse at Kline Creek Farm on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be an old-fashioned Santa and a chance to take your picture in a sleigh. Stop by a warming fire for caroling and hot apple cider. This event is free, for more information call 630-876-5900 or click here.

 

A.D.O.P.T. PET SHELTER’S HOLIDAY COOKIE WALK The A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter in Naperville will be holding a cookie walk on Saturday, Dec. 9, with all sales benefiting the cats and dogs of the shelter. While you are there you can have a tour, hang out with the animals, and enjoy a hot beverage. For more information visit the Facebook event page.

 

CANDLE LIGHT EVENT Visitors can experience the annual Candle Light Event at the Durant House Museum from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 10. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for kids. There will be volunteers dressed in period costumes who will explain about 19th century holiday traditions, from cooking to music. Guided tours of the home will be offered as well. Find more info here.

 

December 10, 2017

 

CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM There will be a Victorian Christmas celebration inside the farmhouse at Kline Creek Farm on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be an old-fashioned Santa and a chance to take your picture in a sleigh. Stop by a warming fire for caroling and hot apple cider. This event is free, for more information call 630-876-5900 or click here.

 

CANDLE LIGHT EVENT Visitors can experience the annual Candle Light Event at the Durant House Museum from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 10. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for kids. There will be volunteers dressed in period costumes who will explain about 19th century holiday traditions, from cooking to music. Guided tours of the home will be offered as well. Find more info here.

 

HOLIDAY EXPRESS AT BLACKBERRY FARM The Holiday Express will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9-10 at Blackberry Farm, which will be decorated for the season with twinkling lights. There will be the chance to enjoy stories, decorations, a reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is $5 a person and concessions will be available to purchase. Unlike normal days at Blackberry Farm, you will only be able to ride the train once. Also, some of the normal attractions will be closed for the season, there will not be carousel or pony rides. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

 

 

December 15, 2017

 

HOLIDAY EXPRESS AT BLACKBERRY FARM The Holiday Express will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, at Blackberry Farm, which will be decorated for the season with twinkling lights. There will be the chance to enjoy stories, decorations, a reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is $5 a person and concessions will be available to purchase. Unlike normal days at Blackberry Farm, you will only be able to ride the train once. Also, some of the normal attractions will be closed for the season, there will not be carousel or pony rides. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

 

 

December 16, 2017

 

HOLIDAY EXPRESS AT BLACKBERRY FARM The Holiday Express will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 16-17 at Blackberry Farm, which will be decorated for the season with twinkling lights. There will be the chance to enjoy stories, decorations, a reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is $5 a person and concessions will be available to purchase. Unlike normal days at Blackberry Farm, you will only be able to ride the train once. Also, some of the normal attractions will be closed for the season, there will not be carousel or pony rides. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

 

December 17, 2017

 

HOLIDAY EXPRESS AT BLACKBERRY FARM The Holiday Express will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 16-17 at Blackberry Farm, which will be decorated for the season with twinkling lights. There will be the chance to enjoy stories, decorations, a reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is $5 a person and concessions will be available to purchase. Unlike normal days at Blackberry Farm, you will only be able to ride the train once. Also, some of the normal attractions will be closed for the season, there will not be carousel or pony rides. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

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