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The Best Holiday Light Displays In Chicago, Because The City Looks Magical

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With the onset of December comes many favorite holidays, and we all know how amazing holidays are with kids. Kids add a new layer of light and fun to everything, but there's an added aspect of fun around the wintery magic of December. Obviously, there's a lot to manage with holidays — wish lists, visiting family, and the endless shopping that accompanies holiday parties, gift-giving, holiday meals, and baking. But, you still don't want to miss out on the winter wonderland fun, and holiday events in your area. Knowing the best holiday light displays in Chicago, for example, can make sure you enjoy the whimsy of the holidays, while wow-ing your littles with magnificent lights.

Most of these attractions seem suitable for the whole family, but you're really the one that knows your kid best. If your little one is prone to overstimulation, or is sensitive to lights and sound, do your research before you go or make sure there's an alternative nearby to escape to. Kids are a constant surprise, and sometimes can process things in a very different way than us — something you find awesome, they might find incredibly overwhelming. Talking to your littles about what you're going to see beforehand can help them know what to expect. And of course, don't feel guilty about just taking a drive or stroll through your own neighborhood or town center. There's plenty to be seen there, too.

1Illumination At The Morton Arboretum

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The Morton Arboretum is a public garden and outdoor museum, and its illumination display is an amazing, mile-long walking tour of the Arboretum's incredible tree collection. The paved path (perfect for strollers) spans over 50 acres, and also offers fire pits, concessions, and warming tents along the way for toddler (and adult) breaks. The display features plenty of lights, projections, and music, and is sure to become a holiday tradition.

2Holiday Magic At The Brookfield Zoo

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Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo is Chicagoland's largest and longest-running lights festival, and includes over a million lights, a 40-foot tree, a holiday train display, and ice carvers (not to mention zoo animals). Zoos are always a win with little kids, and adding in holiday lights and activities will definitely not disappoint.

3Christmas Around The World At The Museum Of Science And Industry

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The Museum of Science and Industry boasts a 45-foot tall tree decked out with over 30,000 lights in the center of their rotunda. Surrounding it, are 50 smaller trees all decorated by volunteers from various Chicago communities to showcase different cultures and holiday traditions. It's not only a stunning sight, but also helps to invite conversation within your family as to how people celebrate in different parts of the country and world.

4Magnificent Mile Lights

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The awesome shopping district on Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Oak Street goes all out for the holidays — over 250 trees down the boulevard are lit up with over a million lights by the street's hotels and shops.

5ZooLights At Lincoln Park Zoo

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The city's own zoo puts on an incredible light display for the holidays. It features over two million lights, but that's not all. During your visit, your family can partake in holiday arts and crafts, enjoy some sweet treats, meet Santa, take a holiday train ride through the snowy birch forest, and go ice skating. It makes checking things off of your holiday bucket list a breeze.

6Roscoe Village Holiday Decorations

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If you're wanting to stroll through some local decorated streets, this north-side neighborhood is the one to visit. Each year, the neighborhood holds a decorating contest for area homes and shops that can't be missed.

7Wonderland Express At Chicago Botanic Garden

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The Chicago Botanic Garden, located north of the city, offers a stunning outdoor light display of over 750,000 lights on trees and shrubs all leading to a magnificent festive fir in the Garden's Esplande. Warm up indoors, and marvel at the Wonderland Express exhibition — a brilliant model railroad featuring plant-made replicas of local landmarks, like The Bean, Wrigley Field, and Solider Field.

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