The holidays are here, and we’ve curated a list of local events guaranteed to spread the season’s cheer! From light shows to stage performances, we’ve got you and your family covered for a festive and fun-filled end to 2023.

By Anna Hughes

Illumibrew at The Morton Arboretum Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum

IllumiBrew at the Morton Arboretum
11/16/23 – 11/17/23

Be one of the first to enjoy 50 acres of lights, colors and sounds at the 11th annual edition of Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum at IllumiBrew. This 21-and-up event allows tasting ticketholders to try a variety of beers, ciders and meads from popular Chicagoland breweries stationed along the Illumination trail.

Grove Express in Downers Grove

Grove Express 5K
11/23/23 @ 8:30 AM

There’s no better way to start the day of thanks than by giving back to the community. Bring your family, friends and pets to the annual Thanksgiving Day 5K to get some exercise and fresh air before enjoying an evening of turkey and football. The race benefits local education and youth programs across the Downers Grove community.

Winter Lights
at Central Park
11/23/23 – 1/7/24 @ 4:30-
9:30 PM

If you dream of walking in a winter wonderland this holiday season, Oak Brook Park District has just the thing for you. Each night, the half-mile path through Central Park will be filled with decorative lights and the holiday spirit – a perfect free outing for all ages and accessibility levels. Donations benefiting the People’s Resource Center and The Oak Brook Park District Foundation will be accepted.

“A Christmas Carol”
Drury Lane Theatre

“A Christmas Carol” is a Christmas classic. Enjoy this holiday staple during its 30th-anniversary run at the beautiful Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. Watch the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge unfold, reminding everyone of the importance of Christmas joy. Showtimes vary by date.

Hills Chamber Holiday Walk
12/1/2023 @ 5-9 PM

Get ready to kick off the holiday season with the Clarendon Hills Chamber Holiday Walk. Bring the whole family to meet Santa, enjoy the Christmas tree lighting, and shop!

Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Joffrey Ballet’s
“The Nutcracker”

The Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is a two-hour extravaganza of music and dance. Two-time Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon reimagines the Christmas classic, bringing this holiday tradition to life at the historic Lyric Opera in Chicago. Showtimes vary by date.

Hinsdale’s Winter Wonderland
Katherine Legge
Memorial Park
12/3/23 @ 9 AM – 1 PM

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Katherine Legge Memorial Park. Hinsdale’s “Winter Wonderland” event will have pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, live reindeer, visits with Frozen’s Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff, and so much more! The Village of Hinsdale and Hinsdale Police Department will be collecting toys for a Toys for Tots Drive; attendees are encouraged to bring a donation for the drive. Preregistration is required for this event.

Elmhurst Tree Lighting
12/7/23 @ 5:30 PM

Join Elmhurst Park District in Wilder Park to ring in the holiday season with the lighting of community trees. Families, businesses and organizations are invited to decorate one of the 60 trees along the park pathway. The “People’s Choice Award” returns after Dec. 3, and community members can vote for their favorite of these trees on Facebook.