Christmas in Chicagoland

Christmas is here and there’s lots of great things to do in and around Chicagoland. Thanks to all of you who sent tips, here’s the list:

What: Santa comes to town in Schererville, IN at their Annual Christmas Tree Lighting outside Schererville’s Town Hall, 10 Joliet Street, Schererville. Call 219-322-5412 for further information.
Cost: Free
When: 11/28/08 at 5pm

What: Santa’s Parade in Crown Point, IN (
When: 11/28/08 at 10am.
Cost: Free

Mummy’s Pick – What: St. John’s tree lighting and Santa visit. Each year they have local businesses decorate trees which is really cool. You can also visit Santa, have the kids ride the train around the trees and sip on hot cocoa.
When: Tree lighting is 11/28 at 7pm. From then on it’s only Saturdays and Sundays from 5-7pm until Christmas Eve.
Cost: I think the train may have cost a little, everything else is free.

What: A Christmas Story Comes Home. The 1983 holiday classic, A Christmas Story, is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. Location: Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond, IN. 219-989-7979/800-ALL-LAKE
When: 11/24/08 – 1/11/09. Open Sunday-Wednesday 8am-6pm, Thursday-Saturday 8am-8pm
Cost: Free

What: ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. 312-742-2000. Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a dazzling wonderland with a series of free seasonal festivities.Enter a winter wonderland illuminated by the laughter of children and more than two million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd. This holiday classic has become one of the Windy City’s must-see seasonal events. Watch live ice carving then escape Jack Frost with an exotic trip past crocodiles, pygmy hippos and meerkats at the Regenstein African Journey. Animal exhibits stay open late as guests roam the beautiful grounds to take photos with Santa, prepare family crafts and enjoy the zoo’s incredible animals immersed in an atmosphere unlike any other.
When: 11/28 – 1/4. Not every day. Check schedule
Cost: Free

What: Deep River Waterpark Ice Skating. Deep River Waterpark, 9001 E. U.S. 30 only 4.5 miles east of I-65 on Route 30, Merrillville
When: November 28, 2008 – February 22, 2009, Call for hours.
Admission: Adults $4.00, Age 14 and younger and Seniors 62+ $3.00

What: Symphony in Lights Premieres at The Promenade Bolingbrook
The Promenade Bolingbrook is proud to present your new holiday tradition, Symphony in Lights! The football field-sized display features 250,000 LED lights synchronized to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, choreographed by Carson Williams (known for his home holiday light decorations). Also, each 15-minute show uses the same amount of power needed to light one average-sized home.
When: The display begins on the hour with shows from 6 -9 p.m. The Symphony in Lights will be presented all season though December 31, 2007.
Cost: Free. Check out the website for info.
Thanks, Kathleen!

Mummy’s Pick – What: Macy’s 41st Annual Animated Christmas Windows. Experience an original and truly magical tale in the animated windows on State Street this holiday season, inspired by the magical process behind the creation of the decorations on the Great Tree.
When: Nov 8 through Jan 11
Cost: Free

What: Millennium Park Ice-Skating. Millennium Park, Chicago, IL 60602
When: Nov 19 through Mar 15 (tentative opening) 10 am to 10 pm. For the Thanksgiving holiday on November 27, and on Christmas Day, December 25, the rink will be open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free. Skate rental is $10.

Mummy’s PickWhat: Christkindlmarket, Chicago. Daley Center Plaza, 50 West Washington St.
Visitors from all over the world come to the Christkindlmarket Chicago annually and the numbers continue to grow every year. It is so popular and loved by all that any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without it. It is no longer just a German tradition – it has become a Chicago institution
When: 11/27 – 12/4
Cost: Free

What: Holiday Lights at Hidden Lake Park, Merrillville. 219-769-2111. You drive through all of the lights and decos in the park sponsored by all the business in Merrillville, then on Saturdays they have fireworks.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12/5 – 12/14. Then open every evening from 12/15 – 12/27. 5-8pm Cost: $5.00 per car/mini-van, $10.00 large van, $25.00 a bus/rv.
Thanks, Candi!

What: Washington Park in Michigan City, Indiana, has a Festival of Lights with over a million holiday lights forming welcoming characters. The website is and the telephone number is 1-800-830-5570. It was listed as 1 of the 100 best things to do in the holidays for the whole country
When: from Dec. 6th to Jan. 3, 2009
Cost: Free
Thanks, Elizabeth and Erin!

What: There is a parade in Crete, IL called the Parade of Lights. It is your typical small town parade EXCEPT that its held at night and all the vehicles are decked out in Christmas lights!! Dress warm and bring a thermos of hot cocoa!
When: I believe it is held the first Saturday in December at 6pm.
Cost: Free
Thanks, Tisha!

What: Lake Hills Baptist Church hosts a Journey to Bethlehem. It’s a live nativity.
When: 12/6 – 12/7 5:00pm – 8:00pm and 12/13 – 12/14 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Cost: Free

These were just my faves. There’s more ideas for Chicago here and NWI here.


  1. I don’t know about this year, but in the past the little train ride was free in St. John.

  2. Cottage Grove CRC in South Holland has their Journey Of Joy, a re-enactment of the Christmas story, on Friday, Dec. 12 from 6:30 – 9:30 pm and Saturday, Dec. 13 from 4 to 7 pm at the church at 16556 Cottage Grove Ave. They have yummy homemade cookies to enjoy while you’re waiting to walk through the presentation. Free.

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