The Chicagoland area, which encompasses the Illinois counties of McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage and Will, loves a good celebration, but never more so than at Christmastime. Families can get their fill of holiday cheer without having to deal with city traffic as there are numerous activities throughout the Chicago suburbs that capture the spirit of the season.
The city of Geneva hosts a pre-Christmas Holiday Walk that features appearances not only by Santa but also St. Lucia, who arrives in a horse-drawn carriage to hand out Swedish Christmas cookies. The walk also includes such delights as roasted chestnuts, hot cider and freshly made candy canes. It's held in conjunction with a tour of historic homes decorated for the holidays. Hinsdale sponsors its own annual Holiday Walk that includes ice carvers, carolers, a tree lighting ceremony, costumed holiday characters and of course, the jolly old man himself.
Every year the Little Friends Society, which serves developmentally disabled children and adults, puts on a Parade of Lights as part of Downtown Naperville's Hometown Holidays celebration. At the culmination of the parade, Santa Claus flips a switch, which turns on more than 300,000 holiday lights. The city of Wheaton has a Lighted Holiday Parade that kicks off at the courthouse and also features a tree-lighting ceremony.
Cuneo Mansion and Garden in the suburb of Vernon Hills, gets dressed up for the holidays each year with its spectacular Winter Wonderland light show. Drive through the 97 acres of holiday decorations and lights with a special musical accompaniment provided by a local radio station. The Festival of Lights hosted by the city of Aurora is also a drive-through display with lighted Santas, flying reindeer, rocking horses, snowmen, teddy bears, and many other favorite holiday characters.
Breakfast with Santa
Children and parents can enjoy a special Breakfast with Santa at Lambs Farm in Libertyville. In addition to the meal, kids can participate in crafts and other activities, while adults might enjoy browsing the gift and craft fair. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, hosts its own Breakfast with Santa event, featuring a buffet meal, free parking and admission to the Wonderland Express exhibit of toy trains running through miniature landscapes such as famous Chicago landmarks and a gingerbread village.
- Chicago Fact Finder: Six County Metro Area
- Geneva Chamber of Commerce: Christmas Walk and House Tour
- Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce: Christmas Walk
- Little Friends: Little Friends Parade of Lights
- Downtown Wheaton Association: Calendar of Events
- Cuneo Mansion and Gardens: Holiday Light Show
- Aurora's Holiday Festival of Lights: Welcome to the Festival of Lights
- Lambs Farm: Breakfast with Santa
- Chicago Botanic Garden: Breakfast with Santa
- Chicago Botanic Garden: Wonderland Express
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images