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Begin your holiday celebration escaping from the chaos of the season and experiencing the enchantment of Christmas at the "Christmas Wonderland" holiday light display. The "Grandpa Gang" has been at it again transforming Rock Springs Park in Alton, Illinois into a Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive through the park to view more than 2 million lights, cascading waterfalls of lights, lighted trees and displays, and visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest. Christmas Wonderland 2009 will be open from November 27th through December 27th. The suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. Carriage rides will be available with advanced reservations by calling Greatting Horse Farm at 618-458-6986. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-866-465-7890.
Andover Christmas Walk
Andover and Andover Lake Park will glow with decorations. Stroll on walkways marked by luminaries or ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Join a soup supper, visit Santa and take part in a Christmas tree silent auction. Refreshments & kids crafts at the American Legion Building from 5pm to 7pm. Visit candle-lit Jenny Lind Chapel and hear live Christmas music from 6pm to 8pm.
Andover Christmas Julotta
For over 160 years this early morning (6:30 a.m.) service has been held at Augustana Lutheran Church. The service is held in a setting similar to that used by the Swedish congregation in 1870. The choir sings a Swedish anthem and the service is in English. Candles in the pews, altar and windows illuminate the sanctuary. Service begins at 6:30am.
Arthur Amish Country Christmas Kickoff
The Christmas lighted parade steps off at 5:30pm and will showcase Santa & Mrs. Claus through downtown Arthur. Immediately following the parade, Santa will visit with children and parents in Knights Court downtown to start collecting those early Christmas requests. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be served during his visit. Throughout the day, businesses in the downtown area as well as the countryside will feature early Christmas bargains and host Open Houses.
Go on a one of a kind country adventure you'll never forget! Become pioneers for a day on a real 1800s farm and village. Miniature train rides, pony rides, petting zoo, pioneer craft demonstrations, and special events. In the Discovery Barn see chickens, sheep, piglets, baby goats and more.
This historic landmark theater offers affordable, live entertainment, comedy, concerts, dance and plays in both The Paramount Theatre & Copley Theatre. Group discounts. Theater rentals are perfect for meetings, performances, fundraisers and banquets.
Winter Lights Holiday Walk
Usher in the holiday season with a family event featuring the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost, music, lights, refreshments and the lighting of the City's official tree. Top it off with a Winter Holiday Market, parade and fireworks and you have an event to remember!
Aurora's Holiday Festival of Lights
Enjoy the sparkle, shimmer and shine of the 2014 Festival of Lights. One of the largest free outdoor holiday light displays in Northern Illinois. Dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children. A winter wonderland of animated visual arts, lighted tunnels, a forest full of lights and more! Open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday starting Nov. 28 through Dec. 28, 2014. Donations accepted.
Gingerbread Firehouse Contest & Holiday Open House
See more than dozen gingerbread fire stations, and burning buildings, which have been specially crafted for this annual holiday event. All gingerbread entries must depict a firefighting themed architectural structure, real or imaginary and everything must be edible. The exhibit opens and will be judged on Saturday November 29. All gingerbread FIREhouses will remain on exhibit at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum though Christmas.
Christmas at the Farm
The Lyon farm and village is operated by the Kendall County Historical Society. For two Sundays in December, kids get to experience what an old time Christmas was like. Tables are set up with eight different holiday crafts. This exciting day includes a train display around the Christmas tree and naturally, they get to meet, and have their picture taken with Santa Claus. A story teller will read some holiday classics and they can enjoy roasted chestnuts. Chili and hot dogs are available for sale. Dec. 7 & 14 1-4 pm.
Blackberry Farm Holiday Express
All aboard for the Blackberry Farm Holiday Express! Experience the holiday spirit of a magical train ride with Yuletide music and thousands of twinkling lights. Scheduled ticketing for fast service! New this year - caroling hayrides, storytellers and craft stations. Make a reindeer treat and warm up at the hot chocolate bar. It's all at Blackberry Farm first three weekends in December.
Paramount Theatrical Production: Mary Poppins
Enormous dance numbers on the ground and the roof tops. Statues coming to life, giant orchestrations for such iconic songs as “Spoon Full of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” And of course, a few Mary Poppins magical moments that will leave you flying high. Celebrate the holidays with the ones you love at Paramount’s Mary Poppins! A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers & the Walt Disney Film. Rated G
Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora
Find impressive savings at over 120 designer and name-brand outlet stores, such as Ann Taylor, Armani, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Elie Tahari, Gap Outlet, J.Crew, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors, Theory, Vera Bradley and more. The opening of an additional 80 stores in the Spring of 2015 will make this even more of a Midwest Shopping destination! In Aurora, 37 miles west of Chicago.
Westfield Fox Valley Mall
More than 180 stores anchored by Macy’s, Carson Pirie Scott, JC Penney and Sears.
We sell only products made in the United States! We offer an eclectic mix of common household items from toys to tools, glassware to garden supplies, fashions to food and so much more. When you shop at Norton's U.S.A, you help keep America working!
Light the Veltway
Roosevelt Road will light the way to the holiday season with merriment including live music, food and libations. Berwyn's entertainment row will offer festivities for the whole family.
Deck the Depot
Saunter over to Berwyn's Depot District for Deck the Depot, a brisk holiday walk through Berwyn's downtown Winter Wonderland complete with lights, live reindeer and a petting zoo at the Municipal Parking Facility. Let Santa know what's on your wish list and then get a complimentary photo with the Big Man in Red at Bounce Sports. Snuggle up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or a hayride (Windsor & Grove Ave.). Relax to the sounds of Carolers. For those who prefer a traditional chauffeur, a heated trolley will also make stops at all of the Open Houses. Best of all, even the "naughty" will be treated like the "nice" as all of the event's aforementioned features are family-friendly and free. Opening Ceremony will take place at 5:15pm at the "Berwyn" Train Depot at Windsor & Grove. Pick up an event punch card and enter our event raffle by visiting Bounce Sports. Depot District merchants will stay open late to offer complimentary goodies, holiday specials and cheer to all who visit. Don't forget that holiday shopping list! As an extra incentive, the event will feature a special drawing for adults 21+ who spend $10 in the Depot District and have the event passport "punched" by all of the participating open houses for a chance to win a basket worth over $200!
Historic National Landmark, Bishop Hill, glows with luminary lit sidewalks and candle lit windows in honor of St. Lucy, a celebration of lights. Musical entertainment abounds throughout the village. Musicians will perform at the Steeple Building and at Vagnhall Galleri, the air will be filled with musical melodies. The village specialty shops and dining establishments stay open late for an enchanted evening to remember. Feel like dancing? Experience the Old Colony School barn dance serenaded by the Rusty String Pickup Band. Experience a utopia on the prairie holiday experience this season.
CITY: Bishop Hill
Christmas Market "Julmarknad"
The holiday festivities in Bishop Hill begin with Julmarknad, or Christmas Market. This event is based on Scandinavian customs dating back to the Middle Ages when farmers and artisans would gather in the village squares to sell their wares. Bishop Hill businesses will be offering unique gifts, handmade wares, antiques, quilts, collectibles, baked goods, delicious foods, and Swedish imports. Scandinavian foods such as herring, lutfisk, and rye bread are also in abundance. You can also participate in the Chocolate Walk, located at the Steeple Building, where you can choose from a variety of chocolate delicacies.
CITY: Bishop Hill
Christmas Market - Julmarknad
Experience the sights, sounds and aromas of Christmas past. Swedish folk characters roam the village, music plays, shop the Swedish Food specialties, abundance of handmade wares, folk art, antiques. Select homemade chocolate delicacies for your holiday enjoyment at the Steeple Building from 10am to 4pm.
CITY: Bishop Hill
The Bishop Hill Gallery
Located at ground level below The Gallery Inn, the Bishop Hill Gallery specializes in artwork and framing. As you enter the gallery, you will notice a great selection of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War photographs and documents, as well as other artwork. You can purchase your art and have it framed by skilled crafts people in the same location.
CITY: Bishop Hill
Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
Built in 1922 to house the original American Passion Play, the former Scottish Rite Temple is the centerpiece of downtown Bloomington's Cultural District. The Performing Arts Center has a 1,200-seat theater and 1,000-person ballroom.
Twin Cities Ballet
Twin Cities Ballet is a civic ballet company and school of dance which attracts guest dancers throughout the year. The Nutcracker is a local tradition each December.
The McLean County Courthouse, capped by a stately dome, serves as a landmark to identify the historic core of the city. Turn-of-the century buildings, many with interesting historical pasts, flank the courthouse square. A visitor can find museums, banks, a legal and governmental center, residential living, a large artists' community, plus an assortment of specialty retail businesses and supportive services in Downtown Bloomington. There is an abundance of restaurants and a lively night scene. Discover all that downtown Bloomington has to offer by shopping, dining, working and playing in this great historical district!
The Promenade Bolingbrook
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - Visit this new lifestyle center where trees and sky meet shops and cafes. Anchored by Macy's and Bass Pro Shops, The Promenade features a great mix of retail and restaurants, including Coach and the Gordon Biersch Brewery. There's something for everyone!
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
December 18th & 19th December 26th - 31st January 1st 4-9pm Start a new family tradition at Chicagoland's largest light festival featuring over 120 animated light displays and million twinkling lights. Come celebrate the holiday season with family and friends during Brookfield Zoos 29th annual Holiday Magic. Enjoy live entertainment, amazing animals, model trains and a train ride, special Dolphin Show, Sing to the Animals and professional ice carvers. Call or visit website for more info.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Saturdays and Sundays, December 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, Friday to Wednesday, December 26-31 (4-9pm) See the Lights. Feel the Magic. Continue the tradition. Chilcagoland's largest lights festival surrounds you in the cheer of over 1,000,000 twinkling lights, caroling to the animals, ice carving, light shows, Santa and Mrs. Claus. You're sure to feel the magic of the holidays! Many of our indoor exhibits will be open for viewing favorite animals, plus there will be Singing to the Animals and special Zoo Chats. In addition, the zoo restaurants and food stands will be open with full menus and holiday treats, and gift shops will have hundreds of unique items for those hard-to-shop-for loved ones. Enjoy a full schedule of nightly music and live entertainment inside the Pavilions. Also on the schedule, an amazing magic show, costumed characters, a model railroad display, and the 38 foot Talking Tree.
Zoo Year's Eve
Rock in the "Zoo Year 2015" with your friends at Brookfield Zoo! In the Holly Jolly Theater there will be live DJ music, games, party favors, prizes and an early countdown at 8pm. Also at the Hamill Family Play Zoo you can make your own noisemaker and enjoy an early kid-friendly countdown. This area is perfect for families with children ages 6 and under. This event is free with paid zoo admission.
Cambridge Main Street Christmas on the Square
70 plus crafters will be featured at the Cambridge Parent Club’s annual craft show. Visit beautifully decorated homes during the Tour of Homes, area churches will feature “specialty treats.” Stop at Cambridge Community Hall and enjoy a visit with Santa, Holiday Music, supper and view the Festival of Trees. End the day and partake in the Baptist Church Christmas Cantata. Hours: 10am to 8pm.
The Varsity Center for the Arts
What started as a single-screen movie house in 1940 has become a power house for live music and community theater. This gorgeous theater is one of the greatest components to Carbondale's thriving art & culture scene, as it serves as home to the Jackson County Stage Company, which presents several plays during the year, and hosts the weekly Friday Night Film series. The Varsity serves as a venue for live entertainment during the Carbondale Rocks Revival, an annual city-wide music festival in addition to accommodating local and regional musicians during the year to bring the city exceptional entertainment.
Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race
Folks from all over literally take pumpkins and creatively engineer them into race cars. Participants race their pumpkins down the streets of downtown Carbondale, competing with one another, and hope theirs crosses the finish line first! Pumpkins race in a series of categories (largest, fastest, most creative, etc.), and must travel unassisted on wheels inserted onto axles that penetrate completely through the melon (no caster wheels and no support frame or chassis will be allowed). This family-friendly competition is both challenging and fun.
John A. Logan College Autumn Fest
This annual event features over 100 original, handmade arts and crafts, great food, free admission, and free parking. For more information call 1-800-851-4720, extension 8287.
Discover cute boutiques housed in historic storefronts in downtown Champaign, including antique and consignment shops. Be sure to stop at PACA’s Architectural Salvage Warehouse, where you’ll find everything from vintage stained glass to ceramic tiles.
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
The historic landmark Auditorium Theatre, an architectural masterpiece designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, opened in 1889. The Auditorium, which regularly hosts live performances, is renowned for its amazing acoustics.
Cadillac Palace Theater
This venue was completely restored and renovated during 1999, named the Cadillac Palace. the Cadillac palace has been the home to several pre-Broadway hits including "The Producers—The New Mel Brooks Musical" and "Mamma Mia!" in 2001.
Ford Center for the Performing Arts (Oriental Theatre)
This 1926 movie palace's rebirth as a magnificent venue for live theater is another wonderful addition to the emerging North Loop Theater District.
American Girl Place
Located at the famous Water Tower Place, you'll find the store girls of all ages want to visit. They come from far and near to experience the magic that is American Girl Place Chicago—featuring specialty shops, private dining and, of course, lovable dolls. The only destination of its kind in the world for girls and their families.
The Goodman Theatre is Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit theater, winning international renown for the quality of productions, the depth and diversity of artistic leadership, and the excellence of its many community and educational programs.
Bank of America Theatre
The Bank of America Theatre opened in 1906 originally as the Majestic Theatre in downtown Chicago. The theater has gone through a couple of different name changes including recently the LaSalle Bank Theatre, and the Sam Shubert Theatre before that. The Bank of America Theatre box office has been host to many traveling Broadway shows and events since it's most recent renovation in 2006.
Lyric Opera Of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago is one of the world’s great opera companies. It is renowned internationally for its artistic excellence and financial strength. Founded in 1954, since its earliest years Lyric has distinguished itself by presenting the finest international singers, directors, and designers in classic and less-familiar operatic repertoire and in world-premiere productions. Opera performances are from September through March.
The Shops at North Bridge
Chicago's newest shopping destination features 50 world-class specialty shops. 15 sumptuous restaurants, five elegant hotels, one magnificent Nordstrom and over 2,500 parking spaces.
Magnificent Mile Shopping
You'll find world-class shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment throughout the Magnificent Mile area. With four shopping centers, renowned boutiques and locally acclaimed designers, Chicago's Magnificent Mile area is a shopper's paradise. After you've shopped 'til you dropped, dine at one of our superb restaurants, see Chicago's famous skyline from the John Hancock Observatory, or catch a show at an area theater.
Oak Street Shopping
After the Chicago fire of 1871, many wealthy Chicagoans contracted European-trained architects to build new homes and mansions on the City's Near North side. Oak Street soon became the center of the expanding Gold Coast neighborhood and home to some of Chicago's most prominent families. With the turn of the Century, skyscrapers began to grow along neighboring Michigan avenue, but Oak Street retained its historical brownstone character and intimate scale, combining glamorous style with cozy informality. Today Oak Street has become an International style center, housing many of the world's most exclusive boutiques and salons. It is a street which attracts shoppers from all over the world who seek only the best. Oak Street has become a true "destination", a street of dreams where excitement is generated by sophistication and great taste.
900 North Michigan Shops
The avenue's most fashionable address features an unprecedented shopping experience at Bloomingdale's flagship store, along with 70 fine shops and restaurants. Enjoy six levels of spectacular shopping at retailers like Coach, Gucci, Maxmara, and Mark Shale.
Water Tower Place
At the pinnacle of Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile, Water Tower Place is Chicago's premier shopping destination. Its stunning eight-level atrium features more than 100 of your favorite stores and restaurants plus a mix of distinctive specialty shops and boutiques. It offers a unique, high-energy urban shopping experience you simply won't find anywhere else in the city. In short, Water Tower Place is the place to shop.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
With year-round programming across three stages, Steppenwolf is a Tony Award-winning Chicago theater known for innovative, artist-driven theatrical productions. Founded by Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise in the mid-1970s, the organization evolved from performing in a Highland Park church basement to gaining recognition as the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Steppenwolf is where great acting meets big ideas.
This landmark development on State St. features first-to-Chicago retailers, signature dining and entertainment venues within a five-story atrium. The center has direct access to the CTA Red and Blue Lines as well as Chicago's extensive pedway system.
Lincoln Park ZooLights
Enter a winter wonderland illuminated by the laughter of children and more than one million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. This holiday classic has become one of the Windy City’s must-see seasonal events. Watch live ice carving then escape Jack Frost with an exotic trip past crocodiles, pygmy hippos and meerkats at the Regenstein African Journey. Animal exhibits stay open late as guests roam taking in the lights, music and taking photos with Santa. Prepare holiday crafts and enjoy the zoo’s incredible animals immersed in an atmosphere unlike any other.
Broadway in Chicago
Broadway In Chicago presents the hottest shows in Chicago's bustling Downtown Theater District. On the stages of the Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Bank of America Theatre, Auditorium Theatre and Broadway Playhouse, you will discover theater productions direct from Broadway, along with world premieres.
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater
Located in the famed Biograph Theater, one of Chicago's most celebrated historic landmarks, Victory Gardens Theater was the recipient of the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Victory Gardens is dedicated to presenting the work of great contemporary playwrights.
Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place is operated by Broadway In Chicago, a Nederlander Presentation. Located at Water Tower Place in Chicago, Illinois, it was formerly known as Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place.
The Shops at 900
A remarkable collection of 70 distinctive shops and restaurants including Bloomingdale's, Gucci, MaxMara and Michael Kors.
Housed in the historic Water Tower Water Works, this award-winning, local ensemble has offered dynamic, physical, intellectual theater since 1989. The main stage will allow Lookingglass to reconfigure the stage and audience seating as dictated by the needs of each production, allowing for a maximum capacity of 270 persons, 60 of whom may be seated at the balcony level.
Macy's on State Street
Macy's on State Street is a quintessential Chicago experience. As one of the world's largest department store, the State Street location has been a Chicago destination for more than a century. Today, this flagship Macy's store covers an entire city block and features 10 floors of retail space, a variety of unique restaurants, annual signature special events and outstanding visitor services. Macy's on State Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains a leader in trends and merchandise--from beauty and fashion to home decor and entertaining. Visitors are eligible for 10% Visitor Savings Pass with appropriate identification.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Kick off the holiday season and create your special memories on The Magnificent Mile in 2014! The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration, jump starts the holiday season on Saturday, November 22 with a full day of family friendly activities, concerts by top musical artists and the best holiday shopping. The day’s excitement culminates with a grand evening parade down Michigan Avenue marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, illuminating one million lights on 200 trees. The parade concludes with a grand finale fireworks show over the Chicago River.
The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company that performs a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works. Director Gerald Arpino brings a uniquely American style of dance featuring ballets from the great choreographers of the 20th century. Many prolific choreographers have worked with the Joffrey including Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, and founders Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey. Photo credit: Joffrey Ballet
CTA Holiday Train
Every year for the holidays, the Chicago Transit Authority decorates one of its trains, inside and out, with twinkling lights and festive decorations. As the holiday train pulls into each station, Santa waves to boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar while elves serenade riders between stops.
Raue Center for the Arts
Theatergoers love that every seat is a great seat at The Raue Center for the Arts in downtown Crystal Lake. Since its restoration a decade ago, Raue Center has attracted the finest stars, Broadway shows, musicians and artists. Raue Center has become a destination in the heart of a bustling downtown area chock-full of pre- or post-show dining and shopping options.
CITY: Crystal Lake
Downtown Crystal Lake/Main Street
Visit our award-winning Premier Main Street which is full of charming shops, delightful restaurants, quality entertainments and life-enhancing opportunities and events.
CITY: Crystal Lake
Holiday Lights at Bunker Hill
Historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park's "Bunker Hill Historic Area" will be lit for the occasion and decorated for the holidays. Continuing throughout the holiday season, the holiday lights will be displayed weekends from 5-8 p.m.
Fun for the whole family including roasting hot dogs on an open fire, haunted trail rides and a kid's activity tent.
Historic Fischer Theatre, owned by the Vermilion Heritage Foundation, was built as the Grand Opera House in 1884. From Lillian Russell to silent movies, this theater provided entertainment to the community until it's closing in 1982. As work continues toward the goal of complete restoration, the lobby is used for many public events. The theater also houses the "Stage Presents The Fischer Gift Shop" where you will find creations by local artists and artisans, as well as products highlighting the area's famous stage, movie and vocal artists.
Festival of Trees
Annually, more than 14,000 visitors stream through the David S. Palmer Arena to see beautifully decorated trees and wreaths, participate in activities and entertainment, special events, and the sounds and tastes of the holidays at the Danville Festival of Trees. Proceeds from the Festival of Trees fund outreach programs that give back to the greater Danville community.
Holiday Lights at Bunker Hill Historic Area
The historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park's Bunker Hill Historic Area will be decorated for the holidays and thousands of lights illuminated Friday - Sunday 5:00 - 8:00 PM through the holiday season.
Based on the timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation features seventeen Irving Berlin songs and a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. The showings are on: December 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm December 7, 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Ellwood Holiday Traditions Weekend
Start your holiday season by taking a guided tour of the decorated Ellwood House mansion. Local businesses, decorators, college groups, and clubs help to present the home in a new, elegant way each year. This is the place to get ideas for your own decorating or view what times were like while the Ellwoods inhabited the opulent home.
Du Quoin Annual Holiday Lights Fair
Starting the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through the month of December. Come experience Du Quoin Tourism’s transformation of the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds into a magical place with lights and decorations. The event features a 1 1/2-mile drive through over $250,000 worth of lighted displays as well as decorated trees, entertainment, food, crafts and visits with Santa in the Expo Hall. The light trail opens nightly from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., and the Expo Hall will be open on the second and third weekends in December from 5:30 — 9:30 p.m. The Expo Hall features Santa’s train ride and Santa’s Workshop.
CITY: Du Quoin
Get Lit New Year's Eve Fun Run
Now in it's 13th year, Get Lit is a fun way to "run" in the new year! Open to men, women and children, this event is a non-competitive run/walk on a two-mile paved course through the Folepi's Winter Wonderland drive-through display.
CITY: East Peoria
Festival of Lights
Smile, laugh, be de-lighted at the East Peoria Festival of Lights! The festival features the fantastic Folepi's Winter Wonderland lighted drive-through display, open from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, and many other events during December including a competitive run, gift show, theatrical productions and more. The Festival of Lights annual Parade of Lights covers three miles of Washington Street starting on one side of the city and ending just past downtown. The parade features floats shaped entirely from lights, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the chopper motorcycle float illuminated with LED lights, a 70-foot long float of the famous Clydesdale horse team pulling a delivery wagon, Frosty the Snowman, the starship Enterprise illuminated with 48,000 LED light bulbs, and the 95-foot-long smoke-spewing China dragon.
CITY: East Peoria
The Wildey Theatre
Opened in 1909 as an opera house and a meeting hall for the Independent Order of Oddfellows, the Wildey has undergone many transformations through the years. The most recent one is a $2 million renovation inside and out.
Wonderland in Lights
Each year, the City of Effingham and the Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureau turn Community Park into a winter wonderland! Wonderland in Lights, a drive-through light display, features a variety of lighted holiday scenes including reindeer flying, Santa coming down the chimney and a Nativity scene. We continue to add new lighting displays each year to grow the display. Santa visits the Wonderland in Lights every Saturday to bring special presents to the children. Come drive through the light display and stick around to talk to Santa and listen to your favorite Christmas carols! The Wonderland in Lights is free, but donations are welcome.
Effingham Performance Center
Arts Connection of Central Illinois has been established for the citizens of Effingham County and beyond to showcase arts and entertainment, to encourage interaction with and appreciation of live performance, to endorse the educational process and to enhance the quality of life and cultural vitality of the region.
Start the Christmas season off right, head downtown to the City of Effingham and Central Business District's Small Town Christmas and Christmas tree lighting event! Santa will arrive downtown around 4:00 p.m. to officially light the "City of Effingham" Christmas tree on the Courthouse square lawn. Be downtown to see Santa arrive with all of his elves and make sure you get in line to give him your Christmas list! There will also be Christmas Carolers serenading you with songs throughout the event, along with other goodies. Step back in time and take a ride on a horse drawn carriage through the downtown area. Bring the whole family downtown to kick off the holiday season right!
Hemmens Cultural Center
Home of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, this facility contains a 1200-seat theatre and an 11,340 square foot exhibition hall with fully equipped banquet kitchen. Host to many well-known artists.
Elmhurst City Centre
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - Choose from a large variety of restaurants from fine dining to casual fare. Catch a movie or browse our wonderful shops.
21st Annual Holiday Craft & Vendor Show
There will be a diverse selection of crafters and vendors. Great way to start your holiday shopping!
Christmas Tea at the Stephenson County Historical Museum
Celebrate this holiday tradition at the historic 1857 Oscar Taylor home decorated in Christmas finery. Enjoy music and and homemade cookies with coffee, tea or punch as your tour the mansion. The Holiday Gift Shop will be open featuring a selection of historical books, toys and other unique gift items.
Luminary Night On Stephenson and Lincoln Streets
Enjoy the beauty of the soft light of luminaries and the architecture of these historic homes as you stroll this lovely residential neighborhood. Also, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Stephenson Street and Lincoln Boulevard from West Street to Park Boulevard.
Freeport Community Concert: The Dickens Carollers
Freeport Community Concert Presents: The Dickens Carollers. A Freeport tradition,The Freeport Community Concert Association presents this holiday concert. Masonic Temple Auditorium.
A Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner
You will enjoy an evening of appetizers, salad, main entree, and dessert at various Best of Galena Innkeepers homes. Enjoy the festive Christmas decorations of each innkeeper as they have decorated their homes for the Holiday Season. This popular dinner is limited to 50 participants, so if interested you will need to make reservations early.
Ol’ Fashion Christmas
Breakfast with Santa, enjoy the make-it and take-it ornaments for kids, carriage rides, candy cane hunt, view mini-Christmas trees and a taste and buy at the chocolate fair. The parade beginning at 3 p.m. features Christmas themed floats, marching bands and Santa. Tens of thousands of lights make Veteran’s Park downtown Galva a must to drive and see. Enjoy the Galva Arts Council entertainment in the evening. Hours: 10am to 8pm.
Home for the Holidays Arts and Crafts Fair
Satisfy your shopping urges at the annual "Home for the Holidays Arts and Crafts Fair" held at the Middle School in Geneseo. You will be able to select from the plethora of hand crafted items that would be difficult to find anywhere else. There will be something for everyone, so get your holiday shopping done early!
32nd Annual Country Christmas Craft Show
Hosted by Gifford State Bank, this annual Christmas Craft Show brings together over 500 vendors and 8,000 shoppers! This event offers two days of “shop til ya drop” fun so you can find that perfect gift for everyone on your list. Parking is free and admission is just a $1 donation to Country Health Auxilary.
Holiday Cheers!: Seasonal Tasting
Celebrate not only the holidays, but also Repeal Day - the end of Prohibition. The Garden will do this Chicago-style with tastings of spirits, wine and winter brews that are all local. Also enjoy the surroundings of the Wonderland Express exhibition featuring trains and over 80 Chicago landmarks. Guests receive a wristband, tasting glass and tasting sheet. Light fare and drinks will be available for purchase.
A Carpenters Christmas
Based on the music of The Carpenters’ two holiday albums and Christmas variety shows, singer and playwright Lisa Rock and her six-piece band bring their unforgettable songs to the stage. Enjoy tunes such as Merry Christmas Darling and the jazzy Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. A holiday concert that spreads joy and cheer to all!
Michael Londra’s Celtic Yuletide
Described as one of the greatest Irish singers of the time, Michael Londra creates an Irish Christmas with world class dancers and classic stories from his homeland. He sings traditional heartwarming carols like Winter, Fire and Snow, The Maiden's Lullaby and Gaelic pieces like Oiche Ciuin (Silent Night), plus many sing-along carols the audience will know and love!
Six Flags Great America Fright Fest
It's Thrills by Day, Chills by Night at Fright Fest Presented by Snickers®. Six Flags Great America will be totally transformed into a Halloween playground, Fridays - Sundays. Have a ghoulish good time with hair-raising shows, electrifying street entertainment and thrilling haunted houses. Plus, experience all the rides in the dark. There will also be a special trick-or-treat trail just for kids.
With more than 200 manufacturer and retail outlet stores offering up to 70% off, serious shoppers flock to Gurnee Mills. The diverse variety of stores includes Bass Pro Shops, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Nike Factory Store, Gap, Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Levi's. Dining options include Rainforest Cafe or a quick bite at one of the two food courts. Non-shoppers can check out Rink Side Sports and Entertainment Center for ice skating, arcade games and laser tag, or catch a movie at Gurnee Marcus Cinema.
Holiday House Walk
Come and enjoy a tour of five beautifully decorated and historic homes in Hinckley open to the public. Five homes will be featured in this holiday event. Tickets will go on sale beginning November 1. Tickets will be available for purchase the day of as well. The house walk will be from 2:00pm-6:00pm. Sponsored by Hinckley Parks and Recreation. Tickets are available at the following locations: Hinckley Fresh Market, Hinckley Public Library, Hinckley Village Office, Jack and Jina’s BP, and Treasures Old and New
Village of Homewood Pop Up Shops
Two dozen new retail options will open this holiday shopping season in downtown Homewood! Home goods, entertaining and gift giving needs, antiques, jewelry and accessories!
Huntley Outlet Center
Huntley Outlet Center offers over 40 brand name retailers at 25% to 65% off every day, including Mikasa, Reebok/Rockport Outlet Store, BOSE Factory Outlet, The Gap, Carter's and much more.
Turkey Testicle Festival
It’s a great night as you don’t have to bring a dish to pass or talk to relatives. If you have never tried a turkey testicle, this is your chance! No need to worry about the weather the festival is held under one huge heated tent, with plenty of portable potties available. The bar is open but the number of people allowed inside at any one time is limited, as it can become pretty packed. There will also be hats, t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale to remember the night. “So grab a friend that's never been, enjoy a cold brew, great music, and hot nuts!" This is a 21 and older event only so bring your ID. Hope to see you there.
Historic Vaudeville Movie Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wide variety of performances.
Light Up the Holidays Parade and Festival
Light Up the Holidays Parade and Festival is held on the Friday following Thanksgiving each year. Activities begin at 10:00am and include the Renaissance Center Fun Fair, activities in the Joliet Historical Museum, Joliet Public Library, Gji's Sweet Shoppe, Jitters Coffeehouse, Chicken-N-Spice, The Red Goose Bakery and more. The Annual Festival of Trees held yearly inside the Rialto Square Theatre also add to the holiday festivities. Tree Lighting begins at 5:15pm in Van Buren Plaza Followed by the Light Up the Holidays Parade at 5:30pm.
Gallery of Trees
Throughout the Kankakee County Museum, Christmas trees are decorated by community organizations. Yearly, a special theme is added for your enjoyment. Come in and view the different arrangements and vote for that special tree.
Kewanee Lighted Parade and Windmont Park Lighting
View Kewanee’s magical wonderland of vivid colors and whimsical lights celebrating the spirit of the Christmas season. Open daily 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. through New Years Day.