Get in the winter spirit with these activities

Mary Jane Deer, Head News Editor

Nature Lights

Light up your holiday season by visiting all of Chicago’s many outdoor light exhibits. Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns to transform a one mile stretch of tree-lined paths to a colorful winter wonderland. Illuminations will run until January 5, opening at 4:30 and closing at 9:30. For more information on ticket pricing and dates, visit . Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo will both be hosting their own light shows this season. Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic is Chicago’s longest running holiday light show, starting its 38th year, complete with more displays and activities, including a Chicago Wolves Ice Skating Rink, crafts for children, and special night time visits with animals. The event is free to members, but for more information on dates and non-member ticket pricing, visit Lincoln Park’s ZooLights is celebrating 25 years of free holiday activities for families. The event starts at 4:30 and runs until January 5th. For more information on dates and times, visit  


Holiday Trolley Tour

Every year the Naperville Trolley Tours hosts public and private tours of local holiday light displays. The tours take guests around Naperville to show off the brightest, wildest, and most festive outdoor house decorations of the city. These tours are so popular that times fill up quickly, so book as far ahead as possible. For more information on ticket pricing, renting out private trolley cars, and available dates, visit



From Elf, to White Christmas, to the not-so-original dramas on the Hallmark Channel, there’s no season for movies quite like December. New movies are hitting theaters, including Last Christmas, Frozen II, and Star Wars Episode 9, while old favorites cycle through on TV. Grab a candy cane and avoid the cold during a season full of holiday classics. 



Although Christkringlemarket has been replaced in Naperville with the Yuletide Festival, this German holiday market has returned to its Chicago location. Christkindlmarket began in 1996 and has become a Chicagoland tradition. Browse the rows of hand-made ornaments, craft beverages, and authentic German sweets and pretzels. Admission is free, but for more information on location and times, visit


Winter Sports 

With a snowy winter on the horizon, be sure to hit the snow for a season full of winter sports. As football starts to wind down and hockey and basketball start to pick up, sports fans have plenty to watch, but for those who want to excitement of their own, grab a pair of skis or a snowboard and wait for the snow. Cross country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, hockey, and snowboarding all rely on Chicago winter. The Naperville Park District, as well as private businesses like Four Lakes and Rocket Ice, list multiple opportunities and sports that make the most of the incoming snow. For those looking for adventure, travel to Maggie Daley Park in Chicago to visit the famous ice skating rink and try all the winter activities offered by both the park and the city.