Elaborate light shows have come a long way since the infamous Griswold family home set the bar for Christmas light enthusiasts in the classic movie Christmas Vacation. From neighborhood competitions to the reality show The Great Christmas Light Fight, dramatic displays of holiday lights are having a brilliant moment that shows no signs of dimming. Technology has made it possible to create even more spectacular displays than Clark Griswold’s 25,000 white twinkle lights could have ever done.
The best part about this festive trend in 2020? The tradition of driving around to look at Christmas lights is entirely Covid-friendly! In this blog we will share some of our favorite light displays in the far western Chicago Suburbs. So, grab your travel mugs of hot chocolate, put your loved ones in the car, grab your keys, and go!
Holiday Light Displays in the Chicago Suburbs
Aurora Festival of Lights, Aurora
Presented by the City of Aurora and the Rotary Club of Aurora, the Aurora Festival of Lights is one of the biggest lights displays in the Chicagoland area. You can drive through one mile of unique displays including dancing arcs and Santa’s Toy Factory. www.aurorafestivaloflights.com
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
As of this blog post, tickets for Illumination at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle are mostly sold out. However, a small number of tickets may be released each Monday, depending on availability. Featuring the trees of the arboretum, these lights are a must-see, and unlike other displays in the area. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and information can be found at: https://www.mortonarb.org/illumination-event
The Mooseheart drive-through Holiday Lights Show has been a Christmas tradition in this area for 11 years. Drive through the 1.8-mile display and enjoy over 80 lighted displays. Each year approximately one third of the displays are updated, so you can see something new each year while also enjoying favorites from past years. http://www.mooseheart.org/event/holiday-lights/
Naper Lights, Naperville
The Eighth Annual Naper Lights display is back in downtown Naperville on Water Street and along the Riverwalk. This a walk-through display, so remember to bring a mask and a warm coat. Enjoy holiday lights and music and shop for unique Christmas gifts while you are there. https://naperlights.com
Oswego Christmas Drive Through Celebration, Oswego
Instead of their annual Christmas Walk, Oswego is hosting a Christmas Drive-Through Celebration for one day only. On Saturday, December 12, 2020, enjoy light displays, along with music and holiday guests. The fun happens on Station Drive off Orchard Road and Mill Road behind Prohibition Junction Sports Bar and Grill. https://www.oswegochristmaswalk.com
Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch, Pingree Grove
If you love visiting Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch for apples and pumpkins in the fall, head up to Pingree Grove for their drive-through winter light show. Created by Epic Light Shows, owners and designers of the much-loved Larsen House in Elburn, you will love this show that features over one-million lights! https://goebbertspumpkinpatch.com/winter
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove
Rich Harvest Farms is a premier destination for golfers from all over the world and the site of prestigious tournaments for amateurs and professionals alike. Although not mentioned on their website or social media, during the Christmas season, Rich Harvest Farms creates over 40 displays that can be enjoyed by driving down Dugan Road.
According to EnjoyAurora.com, “starting with the little red school house near the Granart and Dugan Road Roundabout, all the way to St. Katharine-Drexel Catholic Church, the one-mile drive down Dugan Road in Sugar Grove will take you through a veritable winter wonderland filled with all sorts of surprises.”
Sonny Acres Farm, West Chicago
Bring a mask and dress warm, and head out to Sonny Acres Farm for their new walk-through holiday light show. You can ride the Sonny Express Train through the light display and enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and socially distanced visits with Santa while you are there.
Nights of Lights, Wheaton
Nights of Lights is a new event this year in downtown Wheaton at Adams Park. Lights will be on from dusk until 10 pm through January 7, 2020. Admission is free. https://www.downtownwheaton.com/event/nights-of-lights/
Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights, Wheaton
The Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights is another walk-through experience featuring 20,000 lights and a herd of illuminated animal figures. The Festival of Lights runs through December 30, and advance tickets are required. https://cosleyzoo.org/event-calendar/festival-of-lights-and-tree-sales/
Private Residences & Neighborhoods
Visiting the Larsen Light Show in Elburn is an annual tradition for many families, especially after the homeowners won the Great Christmas Light Fight in 2013. Here is information on how to visit their spectacular display, along with other favorite private residences in the Chicago suburbs that have created holiday light shows. Many of these light shows not only provide holiday cheer, they also accept donations to their favorite charities, so remember to bring cash or keep your PayPal or Venmo app ready.
Lehnertz Ave Christmas Display, Aurora
Lights on Ekman, Batavia
Larsen’s Light Show, Elburn
Light Up Geneva, Geneva
Manchester Court Light Show, Naperville
Knoll Road Magical Lights, Plainfield
Lights to Fight Cancer, South Elgin
Wheaton Christmas Lights, Wheaton
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