Lake County Illuminates the Night Through the Holiday Season 2023

By: Stephanie Wylie 11/08/2023

Welcome to a world aglow with festive splendor! In this blog post, we'll embark on a luminous journey through Lake County's most enchanting light events, from the magical tree lighting ceremonies illuminating town squares with a warm, golden glow to the mesmerizing lightscapes that transform gardens into captivating wonderlands.

Buckle up for a delightful ride through holiday drive-thru lights extravaganzas, where miles of twinkling lights create a dazzling path to explore - some even being from the comfort of your car.





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Fox Lake, IL (@foxlakeil)

Continue scrolling as we uncover the most spectacular light displays, spreading holiday cheer and illuminating the nights with the spirit of the season. Get captivated, inspired and filled with the festive magic that only twinkling lights can bring. Let the luminous festivities begin!



Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden (Nov. 1-Jan. 7)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Chicago Botanic Garden (@chicagobotanic)

Prepare to be spellbound this festive season as the Chicago Botanic Garden undergoes a magical transformation for Lightscape. Glencoe Garden will burst into life with a dazzling array of lights, transforming the familiar scenery into captivating realms of vibrant hues and enchantment. The beloved Winter Cathedral, a cherished icon, will once again mesmerize visitors with its otherworldly brilliance. But that's not all – Lightscape extends its enchantment to Evening Island this year, promising an entirely new and enthralling experience. Evening Island will be graced by the mesmerizing light patterns of UK artist Ithaca's Sea of Light, synchronized to music and crafted from intriguing light balls. Additionally, French artist TILT's Nightlights adorn a section of the path, elegant 19-foot-tall lampshade-shaped lights that turn the space into a magical realm. Immerse yourself in the captivating lights and festive atmosphere of Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden, igniting your holiday spirit and creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

Friday-Sunday, November 10-January 7; 4:30-11 p.m. Admission: $1-$34 per ticket (parking not included). Children ages two and under are free. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe.

Time Warp Express Christmas Adventure at Volo Museum in Volo (Nov. 10- Dec. 23)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Volo Museum (@volomuseum)

Get ready for a Christmas adventure like no other as the Volo Museum presents the "Time Warp Express Christmas Adventure"!  Enjoy an immersive experience that combines festive cheer with a dash of mystery. The holiday joy takes an unexpected turn when Santa finds himself trapped in a time vortex! Experience the excitement as you become part of this thrilling narrative, where Santa's elves are on a mission to rescue him. Hop aboard the heated trolley and join Santa's frantic elves on a journey through time and space. Be prepared for interactive storytelling that will captivate audiences of all ages. As you travel through the enchanting scenes, witness mesmerizing displays that bring the Christmas story to life. Each twist and turn of the adventure is accompanied by surprises and festive wonders. The adventure reaches its climax with a surprising finale that will leave you filled with the spirit of Christmas. Revel in the joyous conclusion of this heartwarming tale. Don't miss out on the Time Warp Express Christmas Adventure – a perfect way to kick off the holiday season with family and friends. Make it a magical night out filled with laughter, wonder, and festive spirit.

Friday's and Saturday's, Nov., 10-Dec.,26; 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Volo Museum, 27582 West Volo Village Rd., Volo.

Santa's Rock N' Lights at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (Nov. 17-Dec. 31)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Santa's Rock N Lights (@santasrocknlights)

Welcome to Santa's Rocking Lights at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, where you can celebrate the season's magic in the grandest way possible! The tradition comes to life at Santa's Rocking Lights in a symphony of lights and music. Over one mile of lights dances and sways, perfectly harmoniously with your favorite holiday tunes.

The event boasts a variety of displays, each adorned with color-changing light technology that paints the night sky with a vibrant, ever-changing canvas. View a variety of #D light sculptures featuring dinosaurs, reindeer, polar bears and more. Prepare to be mesmerized by 1000 feet of dancing light tunnels, where colors blend and merge, creating a breathtaking spectacle. Marvel at our larger-than-life 3D light sculptures that bring to life the magic of the season, featuring beloved creatures like dinosaurs and polar bears, reminding us of the wonders of the natural world.

Let the magic of Santa's Rocking Lights brighten your holidays and fill your hearts with the season's warmth. Don't miss the chance to be part of this luminous celebration, where tradition meets innovation and the spirit of Christmas shines brighter than ever! 

November 17-December 31; 5-9 p.m. Admission starts at $29.99 per vehicle. Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center, 1060 E. Peterson Rd., Grayslake.

World of Illumination: Arctic Adventure at Six Flags Great America (Nov. 17-Dec. 31)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Six Flags Great America (@sfgreat_america)

Get ready to embark on a magical journey through a dazzling winter wonderland at Six Flags Great America! World of Illumination presents Arctic Adventure, a mesmerizing drive-through audiovisual experience. Follow the cheerful host, Beti the Yeti, as you wind through the whimsical lights and delightful winter characters. On select days, the Gurnee staple will open its doors to the public with the renowned Columbia Carousel dressed in its holiday best. Six Flags Great America complements the experience with its Carousel Lights and Markets. This event runs solely on certain weekends; visitors can delight in holiday treats, photo ops, riding the aforementioned attraction and marvel at the Carousel Plaza and Orleans Place décor. Please note that a valid admission ticket to Arctic Adventure for entry into Carousel Lights & Market. Six Flags Season Passes and Legacy Memberships will not be accepted as admission. Don't miss this chance to create cherished memories with your loved ones amidst the enchanting lights and holiday cheer!

November 17-December 31; 6-10 p.m. Admission starts at $39.99 per car. Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Pkwy., Gurnee.

Kringle's Christmas Village in Antioch (Nov. 23-Dec. 31)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Visit Lake County, Illinois (@visitlakecounty)

Step into a world aglow with festive enchantment at Kringle's Christmas Village inside Piggly Wiggly's Plaza in downtown Antioch. Located in the same venue is the spirited atmosphere of Dickens' Holiday Village.  As dusk descends, explore the wondrous illuminated shadowboxes reminiscent of the nostalgic charm found in the iconic holiday windows of Chicago's Marshall Fields. These captivating art displays, evoking a sense of yuletide nostalgia, grace the town throughout the holiday season, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the timeless allure of the holidays. 

Open Daily, November 23-December 31; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission: Free. Downtown Antioch at Piggly Wiggly Plaza, 460 Orchard St., Antioch.

Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge Illinois in Gurnee (Nov. 24-Jan. 8)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Great Wolf Lodge (@greatwolflodge)

Get ready to be enchanted by the winter wonderland at Great Wolf Lodge Illinois! The lGurnee odge transforms into a magical Snowland, welcoming families to celebrate the holiday season in true Northwoods style. As you step into the Grand Lobby, you'll be greeted by daily snow showers, adding a touch of magic to your stay. Meet Santa Claus, dive into seasonally themed crafts and indulge in holiday stories and songs. Immerse yourself in the enchanting tale of the night before Snowland, a delightful storytime experience for the whole family. Stretch and relax with Yoga Tails sessions tailored for children, combining fun and fitness in one enjoyable activity. Wear your dancing shoes and join the Frosty Fest Family Dance Party fun. Enjoy other events such as snowland bingo, trivia, craft kit to go and more! During the Hanukkah season, from Sunday, December 18 to Monday, December 26, join the lodge in the daily lighting of the Menorah candle (excluding Friday) located in the Grand Lobby, celebrating the Festival of Lights. Embrace the holiday spirit and create cherished memories with your family at Snowland, where the magic of winter comes to life!

November 24-January 8. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, 1700 Nations Dr., Gurnee.

Shiloh House Christmas in Zion (Nov. 25- Dec. 16)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Visit Lake County, Illinois (@visitlakecounty)

Enjoy the season at Shiloh House's Christmas! The historic Shiloh House opens its doors for self-guided tours, inviting you to experience the magic of Christmas in a beautiful mansion adorned with festive decorations. Santa himself will be making special appearances on November 25th, December 2nd, 9th, and 16th, ready to lend an ear to your youngsters' holiday wishes. Explore the stunning mansion decked out in holiday splendor. Every corner tells a tale of yuletide joy, making it a perfect backdrop for your family's holiday photos. Feel the warmth of the season as you stroll through the festively adorned rooms.Whether you're a local resident or visiting the area, make sure to mark your calendar for this delightful holiday experience. Shiloh House's Christmas in Zion is a wonderful way to kick off the festive season with your loved ones. Experience the joy, wonder, and timeless beauty of Christmas at Shiloh House!

Saturday, Nov., 25-Dec.,16; 3-5 p.m. Shiloh House,1300 Shiloh Blvd., Zion.

Antioch's Drive-Up Musical Light Show (Dec. 1-25)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Visit Lake County, Illinois (@visitlakecounty)

The Germann family invites you to witness a spectacular light show that captures the true essence of the winter holidays. This holiday season, Gurnee becomes a beacon of festive cheer, all thanks to the Germann family's incredible light display. Using cutting-edge technology and a touch of creativity, they transform their home into a winter wonderland, captivating visitors of all ages. Prepare to be mesmerized by a symphony of lights dancing in harmony with the holiday spirit. The Germann family's light display is not just a random assortment of twinkling bulbs; it's a carefully choreographed performance that will leave you in awe. Every corner of their property is adorned with vibrant lights, creating a magical atmosphere that's perfect for the season.

What makes this light display even more remarkable is the Germann family's dedication to their community. Since 2009, they have been collecting food donations to benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Their generosity has led to the collection of thousands of food items, making a significant impact on those in need. Don't miss this opportunity to be a part of the holiday magic! Mark your calendars, bring your holiday spirit and immerse yourself in the joyous ambiance of Gurnee's most delightful holiday tradition! For more information, visit

December 1-January 1. The Germann Family Hoilday Light Display, 4968 Prarie Oak Rd., Gurnee.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Gurnee (Dec. 3)





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Marriott Lincolnshire Resort (@lshiremarriott)

Get ready to be dazzled as the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Gurnee ! This beloved Lake County tradition promises an evening of holiday magic for the whole family. Immerse yourself in the magic of live performances by acclaimed country music stars Tenille Townes and BRELAND. Their melodic tunes will set the perfect holiday ambiance. Look forward to a special visit from Santa Claus himself! Witness the joy on children's faces as they share their holiday wishes with the jolly old man in red. Join in for a mesmerizing evening filled with twinkling lights, live music, and the warmth of holiday spirit.

December 3; 5-7:30 p.m.; Train arrives at 5:10 p.m. and departs at 5:40 p.m. Viking Park, 4374 Old Grand Ave., Gurnee.

City and Village Tree Lightings and Other Illuminated Spots





View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Explore Waukegan (@explorewaukegan)

For more ways to view how Lake County illuminates the night through the holiday season, continue here.  

Related Content
Asian and Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses in Lake County
posted: 05/22/2024
Lake County is a cultural melting pot and this vibrant mix is reflected in the diversity of its businesses. Foodies seek...
Life's a Beach: Guide to Lake County Beaches 2024
posted: 05/17/2024
Summer is just around the corner! Lake County boasts over 200 lakes and extensive Lake Michigan shoreline, offering a variety...
Memorial Day Weekend in Lake County 2024
posted: 05/13/2024
Embrace the sunshine, light up your sparklers and remember those who died protecting our freedoms in the U.S. Memor...
Top 5 Locations To Stargaze in Lake County
posted: 05/06/2024
"There's a starman waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us, but he thinks he'd blow our minds.&quo...
Special Offers
Calendar of Events
Lake County Libation Trail
Free Visitors Guide
Tour Itineraries
Print Page
Road Trips Video