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Chicago’s Light Festivals

As the days get shorter, so the nights get longer, which can only mean one thing in wintry Chicago: festive illuminations galore! Here are some of the city’s sparkliest light festivals.

The 28-mile drive out of Chicago is worth every minute once you step foot in the magical Morton Arboretum, a vast ‘outdoor museum and living tree laboratory’. From November through December, the experience is made all the more magical by Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum. Kids and grown-ups alike will marvel at the colourful light-splashed walkways, symphonic soundtrack and interactive projections that spotlight the beauty of trees in winter, as well as amazing treelike sculptures that diffuse intricate light patterns and trees that respond if you hug or sing to them! Warm up afters with a hot drink and s’mores by the open fire.

Ever wondered what the zoo animals get up to at night? Well now you can find out at ZooLights, a carnival of family-oriented holiday celebrations held at the city’s beloved Lincoln Park Zoo. Basking in the glow of 2.5 million lights, chilly thrills range from ice-skating and ice-carving demos, to street food, hot beverages and craft brews. You can even start your gift shopping at the artisan holiday market.

You know Christmas is around the corner when the Magnificent Mile sparks up like a glow worm convention. And while you might have missed this year’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, it’s still worth a gander to see Chicago’s most iconic avenue in full razzle-dazzle.  

Originally produced by LUXE for PenCities.

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