Holiday Fun Outdoors

ChristkindlMarket in Chicago and Oak Brook, IL








Christkindl Market in Chicago and Oak Brook


Looks like we’ll have a holiday season with no snow. Oh no! Despite that, there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy the season and our great outdoors.


Through Dec. 23

Naperville Santa House


Riverwalk at Jackson & Webster Ave. Stroll down the Riverwalk and take a special trip to visit Santa.


Dec. 18-23 & Dec. 26-Jan. 3

Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

Chicago: 773-648-5000

Board at John Hancock Plaza and take this lightly narrated 2 ½ hour tour showcasing the twinkling lights of the Magnificent Mile, Macy’s Holiday Windows, the Christkindlmarket, Lincoln Park Zoo and more. Sprinkles cupcake included with the tour. Book online at least 24 hours in advance.


Through Dec. 21

Magical Animated Holiday Light Show

Mount Prospect: 847-259-0500

Randhurst Village, at the corner of Rand and Elmhurst Roads. Celebrate the holiday season with a magical light projection show that will leave the whole family awestruck. The show will be projected onto a portion of the Hampton Hotel building, bringing it to life with a customized 3-D projection featuring elves, icicles, snow and other holiday images, all set to dramatic holiday music.


Through Dec. 24

Christkindlmarket Oakbrook

Oak Brook: 312-494-2175

Nestled among the shops of Oakbrook Center, the Christkindlmarket Oakbrook hosts fine German vendors displaying hand crafted ornaments, nutcrackers, wood carvings, delicious food, sweets and treats all in the traditional wooden huts of a quaint German village.


Sat. & Sun. in Dec. plus Dec. 28-31, begins at 4pm

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo


Zoo is open from 10am-9pm, lights come on at 4pm. Chicago’s largest lights festival with over one millions twinkling LED lights, along with an interactive display, a talking tree, ice carvers, train display and more.


Dec. 21, 10-11am

Candy Cane Hunt

Glen Ellyn: 630-858-2462

Main Street Recreation Center, 501 Hill Ave. For ages 2-8. It’s a candy cane-filled morning, full of indoor crafts, storytelling, and an outdoor candy cane hunt! Please dress for the weather.


Through Dec. 25

Dickens Holiday Village


Downtown Antioch, Lake Street & Rte 83. Step back into the era of Olde England during the Dickens time. This community public art program features dozens of Dickens Characters throughout Antioch’s quaint downtown. Visitors will learn about the Dickens Era as they read plaques at each of the dozens of Dickens scenes. Start at our Dickens Welcome Center for your complimentary Dickens Walking Tour Map.


Dec. 28, 10-11am

Tracks and Trails

St. Charles: 630-444-3190

LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve Creek Bend Nature Center, 37W700 Dean St. Many animals are active in winter, and they leave tell-tale signs of their presence. Come out for a guided hike and look for animal signs. We’ll learn the habits and behaviors of native wildlife by the signs they leave. Free, register in advance.


Through Jan. 3

Wonderland Express

Glencoe: 847-835-5440

Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd. Twinkling LED lights, stunning plant displays, an indoor model train exhibition containing more than 80 miniature replicas of Chicago-area landmarks crafted of all-natural materials, as well as shopping and special events, make Wonderland Express a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition for visitors of all ages and interests.


Dec. 30, 10-11:30am

Winter Wildlife Hike

Elgin: 630-444-3190

Burnidge Forest Preserve, 38W235 Big Timber Rd. On this naturalist-guided hike, we’ll look for signs of wintering wildlife and learn about adaptations for surviving the cold.


Through Jan. 2

Illumination Tree Lights

Lisle: 630-725-2066

Morton Arboretum, 4100 Rt. 53. Walk Illumination’s one-mile path, surrounded by 50 acres of woodlands bathed in theatrical LED lighting in shades of vivid electric blue, hot pink and neon green. Along the way, a series of “experiences”—programmed lighting, video and sound seamlessly integrated into the landscape—encourage visitors to see trees in a different light.