The season-long lights festival includes more than 500,000 lights throughout downtown's parks and streets.
The annual display of 2.5 million lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo is operating at 25 percent capacity this year and charging $5 per person. Tickets are available for timed slots between 4 and 9 p.m.; on Nov. 24 and Dec. 9, 17, 21 and 29, tickets are free (available at 4 p.m. the previous Sunday).
The free display in Olin Park is open from dusk to dawn.
There's a car parade Friday evening, followed by tree light, caroling and horse-drawn wagon rides. On Saturday, there's a parade at 10 a.m.
Tour the retro-cool lighted decorations in Bayfront Festival Park, including a tree that dances to music, Dinosaurland and Penguin Park, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
There's free hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn and marshmallows to roast over fire pits. Bring cash or food to donate to food shelves.
This free light show on Lake Winnebago includes animated scenes and trees that dance to 20 minutes of music played on 87.9 FM (you can listen on your car radio).
This Door County village offers horse-drawn wagon rides, a children's elf hunt and mistle dough contest and caroling.
In this northwest Illinois town, Santa Lucia arrives in a horse-drawn carriage on Friday and hands out Swedish cookies, then Santa lights the Great Tree and opens his Gingerbread House. There's shopping amid strolling carolers. A tour of five houses is Friday and Saturday.
In this Minneapolis suburb on Lake Minnetonka, choirs and bands play for shoppers at a traditional German open-air Christmas market. There will also be a magic show, reindeer, visits with the Christkind and Father Christmas and mugs of warm Glühwein.