I love the holidays. I love lights. I love December. I made it my mission when I lived in San Francisco to find the best light shows and neighborhoods to go to in December. And, that was pre kids!
Now that I am in Chicago-land, and have kids, I seem to have found less time to scout it all out. But, after 4 years here, I think I have finally narrowed down some old standbys we will go to every year to bring us that holiday cheer.
Let it Shine at Northbrook Mall. Everyone needs a good drive through light show. I remember a really long boring one, no music that we went to growing up. I never understood it. But these new lightshows set to music where you drive IN the lights, fantastic. And, my favorite one around here is at the Northbrook mall. Tip: Go early in the season, get an earlier show, and choose a weekday.
Kohl’s Children’s Museum Lights. Listen, it is no Botanic Garden show, but it is not meant to be. It is a full interactive light show dedicated to kids. They can play with lights changing colors, figuring out shadow play, and ride a train. We loved it, the kids loved it. It was NOT crowded. They did an amazing job of spacing the entry times so well. And, the museum was closed inside, but the cafe was open for some hot cocoa if you arrive early.
Chicago Botanic Garden Lightscapes. I can’t lie, I love this. But man do you have to plan ahead to get tickets. Tips I have for you, sign up for their newsletters, post ISOs on FB groups and next door, Call the morning of (sometimes people give up tickets and let them know). Or, just go during regular hours, the lights are still pretty cool looking during the day in the rest of the garden.
Neighborhoods. We are lucky to have a house relatively close to us that does an AWESOME lightshow to music on their house. Christmas on Cleveland. Tips: Go right after sunset and be patient to let cars move.
Pit and tap. Ok it is not a lightshow, but it is a holiday pop up deluxe. Lights, tinsel, decorations. No reservations, come early and have your order ready as soon as you sit down.