Vernon Hills Holiday Guide in Lake County, IL - Visit Lake County - Official Travel Site

Vernon Hills Holiday Guide

Tis the season to be jolly in Vernon Hills

Deck the halls with malls and folly fa-la-la-la-la in Vernon Hills. The Village of Vernon Hills is decked out in holiday cheer with its lights, world-class shopping options, delectable eateries and more. 

Take it all in, including dazzling trees, lights and great gifts, at 100+ fabulous retail venues at Hawthorn Mall, Mellody Farm and surrounding stores. Exceptional holiday gifts for family and friends await, along with great dining and fun events. Experience all the holly-jolly festivities that Lake County offers from seeing the hearty-laughing "big guy in red," to illuminated celebrations around town, festive holiday arbors and so much more.

"Holiday Your Way" in the Village of Vernon Hills!

Village of Vernon Hills Holiday Events

Win a Private Showing of "A Christmas Story" at Hawthorn Mall

We triple-dog dare you to sign up to Hawthorn Mall's MyPerks and click on the Holiday Perks coupon for a chance to be entered for a private showing of "A Christmas Story." Up to 10 family can members view the 1983 holiday classic film complemented by refreshments. The Holiday Perks program runs through December 8 and the showing is on December 12.

Now - December 8. Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills.
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Festival of Trees at Hawthorn Mall

Who doesn't enjoy a plethora of holiday arbors dressed up in glitz and glammer this time of year. Located in the lower level of Macy's Court, the Vernon Hills mall invites shoppers to vote on their favorite holiday-themed tree. Entrants could win a $500 shopping spree to a favorite Hawthorn retailer. The trees will be illuminated throughout the holiday season. 

Now - November 30; 2-8 p.m. or 2-9 p.m. Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills.
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Photos with Santa at Hawthorn Mall

Visit Santa at Hawthorn Mall. Credit: Prudence Photography

"Of course! Santa. The big man. The head honcho. The connection." Hawthorn Mall has invited Jolly old Kringle to listen to your youngster's laundry lists of toys and games. The Christmas set is themed after the 1983 classic holiday film "A Christmas Story." The man in the red suit will maintain his Hawthorn residency daily through Christmas Eve. Remember to not ask for that Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, because....well..."you'll shoot your eye out kid."

Through December 24. Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills.
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Tree Lighting Event at Mellody Farm

Experience the oohs and the ahhs when the sun goes down and the Christmas plant illuminates the sky. The tree lighting event also features free donuts, hot cocoa and coffee compliments of Stan's Donuts. The Vernon Hills mall encourages attendees to take an "elfie" with the holiday decor, tag Mellody Farm on their social media and have an opportunity to win a gift card. 

Saturday, December 4; 4-6 p.m. Mellody Farm, 851 Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills. 
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Sensory-Friendly Santa Magic at Hawthorn Mall

Experience a quiet time at the mall with Kris Kringle as he hosts this event for children and families with autism and special needs. 

Sunday, December 5; 9:30-10:30 a.m. Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills.
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Santa Paws at Hawthorn Mall 

Merry Christmutts and Yappy Holiday as Santa Paws is coming to town. Have a furry little memory as your doggo, kitty or other family member takes their season's greetings gram. All animals must be caged or leashed to enter. 

Mondays, December 6 & 13. 4-7 p.m. Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills.
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Candy Cane Walk at Century Park 

Century Park in Vernon Hills

"Candy Cane Lane, bring a friend this holiday, bring a friend who loves to play, we'll eat all the candy canes." - Sia. The village's park district hosts the GO Vernon Hills Candy Cane Walk through beautiful Century Park. The walk begins at the boat dock shelter. Visitors are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday hat and participants receive candy canes.

Tuesday, December 7; 3:45-4:30 p.m. Century Park, 1001 Lakeview Pkwy., Vernon Hills.
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Holiday Cookie Workshop in Vernon Hills

Santa's got a bundle of gifts to drop off, and all of that work can bring a hungry belly. Elves ages three to five years-old get to properly "dress" (decorate) these sweet treats for the jolly ol' man. A variety of pre-made cookies will be supplied along with all the frosting, icing and sprikles to be creative. Youngsters will also decorate a box to bring their cookies home in. 

Friday, December 10; 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sullivan Community Center, 635 N. Aspen Dr., Vernon Hills. 
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A Live Performance with Disney Fine Artist Trevor Carlton

Trevor Carlton is something special. The talented artist brings a treat for Disney fans of all ages as his calling card is the cultural icon, Mickey Mouse. Carlton perfected his signature distressed-style by painting a raw canvas to give it the apparence of wood, then using solvents and sandpaper. You'll experience a jaw-dropping performance by this renowned visionary as he live paints, signs, dedicates and embellishes his art during the event. All of the pieces he prepares in front of the audience will be up for sale at the mall's The Gallery of Art and Collectibles (The Disney Gallery), perfect for holiday gifts. 

Saturday, December 18; 2:30-4 p.m. Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills. 
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Polar Express Storytime (Libertyville to Fox Lake on Metra)

Polar Express Storytime in Libertyville

"Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train." The holiday season is here and if you've been working on the railroad, just to pass the time away, you can give a wonderful experience for your ones at the Polar Express Storytime in nearby Libertyville. This fun-filled event sponsored by the Vernon Hills Park District has you "all aboard" from the Libertyville Metra Station to the North Pole (a.k.a Fox Lake). Youngsters will get to hear the story of the award-winning "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg. The event is also highlighted by goody bags, Christmas caroling, an appearance by the man in the red suit himself and a comfy ride with you donning your holiday pajamas. The trip takes 90 minutes and the Polar Express always leaves on time (so be prompt). 

Saturday, December 18; 9 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Libertyville Metra Train Station, 200 West Lake St., Libertyville.
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GLMV WOW! / MOB Holiday Party at White Deer Run

Celebrate the holidays with your peers and business friends as the GLMV Chamber of Commerce hosts a Holiday Party at White Deer Run. 

Tuesday, December 21; 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.. White Deer Run, 250 W. Gregg's Pkwy., Vernon Hills.
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Village of Vernon Hills Shopping Spree

Hawthorn Mall

Shopping at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills

Hawthorn Mall is a super-regional shopping center conveniently located via Lake County's major throrougfares and the I-94 Tollway. The premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination is highlighted by anchor stores like Macy's, JC Penney, entertainment spaces like AMC Theatre and Dave & Buster's and delectable eateries like Maggiano's Little Italy and The Claim Company. With over 95 store options to select from, ranging from fashion to athletic equipment to jewelry to beauty products and everything in between, your holiday gift list is sure to be taken care. 

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Mellody Farm

Mellody Farm in Vernon Hills

Mellody Farm offers a convenient, open-air, urban-inspired, regionally located shopping and dining destination. The center is located two miles west of I-94, at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Townline Road. Rooted in heritage and built for today’s customer, the shopping center provides fan-favorite stores like Nordstrom Rack, REI and so much more. Grab a bite to eat between shopping at Kuma's Corner, Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co. and other delicious cuisines.

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Village of Vernon Hills Cuisine

The Claim Company

The Claim Company is a southern, gold-mining-themed restaurant located at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. The eatery opened its doors in the early 1970s and is renowned for their Motherlode burger and its salad bar that features over 70 ingredients. The Vernon Hills fare haven features a gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian menus, too.

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Jameson's Charhouse

Quality, value and excellent service just scratch the surface of this Vernon Hills steakhouse. Located a block from Hawthorn Mall, it features perfectly grilled steaks, chops and fresh fish, along with extensive menu selections that are carefully designed with delectable choices for everyone. Whether you have a taste for a cooked-to-order Black Angus, New York strip steak, a juicy Jameson’s burger, a crisp and refreshing grilled salmon salad or delicious Greek-style halibut, Jameson’s Charhouse will proudly serve you and make sure you have the most favorable dining experience!

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Kuma's Corner

Kuma's Corner in Vernon Hills

The tradition that began in 2005 in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood, now is being served in Vernon Hills. The heavy metal-themed bar and restaurant features burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, salads and a rotating 12-craft beer tap. The Land of Lincoln-based business has been featured on the Food Network, the Cooking Channel and the Travel Channel. This unbelievable cuisine in the photo is the Sourveign Burger, a choice of protein, chicken tenders, bacon, cheese, waffle strips, maple syrup and raspberry aioli.

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Maggiano's Little Italy

Maggiano’s Little Italy is an Italian-American-themed restaurant located at Hawthorn Mall. The restaurant was initially founded in 1991 in Chicago. Maggiano’s became an enormous success and branched across the Chicagoland area and throughout the country. The eatery is renowned for its authentic, homemade cuisine like signature flatbreads, hand-crafted cocktails, and entrees like their Taylor Street Baked Ziti and Zucchini Fritte. Maggiano’s offers cooking classes as well as event space for parties and meetings.

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Scotty's on 21

With one location in Vernon Hills on Milwaukee Avenue and one the other located across from historic Fort Sheridan in Highwood, Scotty’s on 21 is a favorite neighborhood dining spot offering something delicious for everyone — from timeless comfort food to new American classics. The eatery’s menu also features salads, thin-crust pizza, seafood, a gluten-free menu, burgers, soups and other delectable fare.

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Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co.

Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co. in Vernon Hills

Slyce Coal Fired Pizza is a fan-favorite of visitors and land of lakes residents alike, with also two other locations in Wauconda and Highwood. Located at Mellody Farm, the menu is steeped in age-old traditions, cooking methods, as well as the best quality ingredients. Their passion for food, coupled with recipes made from scratch, offers their guests a truly unique dining experience each and every time. Slyce invites you to sit back, relax and experience the true authentic taste of coal-fired za.

More info »Click here for a complete list of dining options in Vernon Hills.

Village of Vernon Hills Holiday Attractions

Bears Fit

Bears Fit in Vernon Hills

We're sure you're going to want to work off those holiday feast pounds. Former Monsters of the Midway themselves utilize the Vernon Hills work out facility. The 45,000 square-foot facility is equipped with 40 yards of training turf (the largest space in the Chicagoland area), a recovery lounge that includes cryotherapy, a variety of boutique fitness and training classes, a kids' club and more.

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Century Park

Century Park is a glorious place to let off some steam in the winter season. In 2017, the Vernon Hills status park became the first park district in Illinois to earn Arboretum Accrediation. In the winter time, it's fantastic for cross-country skiing, outdoor ice skating, sledding, or a brisk jog or stroll. 

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Glacier Ice Arena

If you want to step out of the cold to do some cool indoor ice time, head to Glacier Ice Arena. Visitors can take a breather from the holiday shopping and prep at the Vernon Hills facility that hosts hockey slapshotters, twizzling triple lutzers and maybe a date night for a little couple's skate.

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WhirlyBall in Vernon Hills

Bump, collide and compete against your friends in the unique bumper car sport, WhirlyBall. Everyone’s favorite lacrosse/basketball/bumper car fusion game is the perfect place for fun. Besides delectable eats, WhirlyBall has a vast selection of brews. You can also try laser tag and bowling, too.

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A Stay in Village of Vernon Hills

Hotel Indigo Chicago-Vernon Hills: An IHG Hotel

Hotel Indigo in Vernon Hills

With an indoor heated saltwater pool, 24-hour fitness and business centers and complimentary WiFi, this 127-room, all-studio-suite hotel is perfect for leisure and business travelers. There's room service for breakfast and dinner from their featured restaurant, 450 North Bar & Bistro. Over 200 retail spots and 30 casual and fine-dining restaurants suround the Vernon Hills location, and it is just eight miles from Naval Station Great Lakes for Navy recruit families and friends. Each guest suite is 25% larger than standard hotel rooms and includes a 42-inch flat-panel TV, a refrigerator and work desk. 

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Holiday Inn Express Northwest-Vernon Hills

The IHG hotel in Vernon Hills is ideal for business and leisure travel. It's positioned perfectly between Six Flags Great America, Chicago Botanic Garden, Hawthorn Mall and other areas of interest. It's also directly across from Century Park, a sprawing center of outdoor activity and events from Vernon Hills Park District, including scenic Big Bear Lake. The pet-friendly hotel is highlighted by an indoor pool, hot breakfast bar, fitness center, guest self-laundry facilities and more. 

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For more holiday happenings in Lake County, continue here. For more about the Village of Vernon Hills, click here.


5465 West Grand Avenue, Suite 100
Gurnee, Illinois 60031
Phone: 847-662-2700

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