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Garden of the Gods - Southern Illinois

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Nov 2, 2017

Celebrate the Holiday Season in Illinois with Lights Festivals, Parades and Shopping

CHICAGO –  ‘Tis the season to spread holiday cheer with friends and family near and far. Celebrate old traditions and make new memories with these festive holiday events across Illinois.

Holiday Lights Festivals

  • Illumination at the Morton Arboretum, Lisle: This magical experience transforms you into a winter wonderland surrounded by innovative lights and music,November 17 through January 1.
  • Night of the Luminaria, Galena: Stroll through downtown Galena as more than 5,000 candle-lit luminaries line the streets, December 9.
  • Lincoln Park ZooLights, Chicago: Bring the entire family for a fun night of holiday activities and sparkling light displays at the zoo, late November through January 7.
  • Christmas Wonderland Holiday Light Display, Alton: Drive through Rock Springs Park to view more than 2 million lights, including cascading waterfalls then visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest,November 24-December 27.

Holiday Parades

  • BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade, Chicago: Watch Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse light one million lights along North Michigan Avenue, November 18.
  • Stroll on State Parade, Rockford: Celebrate Stroll on State’s 5th anniversary at The Merry & Bright Holiday Parade with festive floats, music and characters, November 25.
  • Parade of Lights, Downtown Champaign: Celebrate the season with Santa Claus during the “Miracle on Neil Street” parade then watch the annual Christmas tree lighting, November 25. 

Holiday Markets

  • Christkindlmarket, Chicago, Naperville, The Park at Wrigley: Celebrate German and European holiday traditions with food, drinks, shopping and entertainment at the magical Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, starting November 17 and The Park at Wrigley & Naperville, November 24 through Christmas.
  • Native American Holiday Market, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site: Visit the 14th annual Native American Holiday Market and shop from 30 different American Indian artists, craft persons and vendors, November 25-27.
  • ChristKindl Market, Quincy:  Inspired by German tradition, this open air market includes unique shopping and music in downtown Quincy's historic Washington Theater, Dec. 1-3
  • Julmarknad, Bishop Hill, Prepare for the holidays by attending Julmarknad, or Christmas Market, in Bishop Hill. The attractions include Swedish folk characters, traditional Swedish holiday decorations, and Christmas gifts for sale, November 24- 26 and December 2-3.

Click here to learn more about these can’t miss holiday events:

  • 130th Annual Santa Claus Parade, Peoria, November 24
  • Wonderland Express, Chicago Botanic Garden, November 24-January 7
  • Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest, Chicago Navy Pier, December 1-January 7
  • Christmas Lights Trolley Tour, Oglesby, Utica, December 16-23
  • Way of Lights, Belleville, November 17-December 31

To plan your holiday visit go to


The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents. 

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