I don’t know about you, but in my mind it’s not Christmastime unless you’ve enjoyed the warm glow of some holiday lights over the rim of a nice mug of hot coco. Unfortunately, the cost of seeing holiday light displays has inflated, much like everything else these days. The good news is there’s still many free and low-cost options left out there.
City of St. Charles (IL) light Parade and Ceremony This is one to keep in mind for next year. It already took place the Friday and Saturday after thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a walk or drive down main street to check out the lights and stop for a hot chocolate at the many wonderful restaurants and bars along the way.
Lilacia Park: Check out a pretty impressive light display in Lilacia Park, Lombard completely Free! Check out some of the other events while you’re there like a Santa visit or elf scavenger hunt.
Cosley Park Petting Zoo Festival of Lights and Tree Sale: Going on now through December 30. This is another great FREE option as they waive admission during the festival.
Walk or Drive Around Your Neighborhood: This is obviously a totally free and easy option. Don’t forget to whip up some hot chocolate to enjoy while you stroll.
Lincoln Park Zoo Lights: It’s free on Mondays, but make sure you get your tickets in advance. The rest of the week it’s only $5/person. Don’t forget to allow for city parking fees or public transportation it you don’t live within walking distance of the zoo.
Cantigny Park: On December 3 head on over to Cantigny for lights, stories, crafts, photos with Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty, music, and horse drawn sleigh rides (extra $2 in cash only). Admission is $10/per car.
Brookfield Zoolights: At $25/adult and $18/child plus the cost of parking ($13) this is a pretty expensive outing. However, if you are a zoo member it becomes much more economical as your parking and admission are already included in your membership.
Illuminations: Another more expensive option for viewing lights is at Morton Arboretum. Membership will save you a little bit $22/adult vs $27 for non-members. I would say it’s worth it to do it once for adults/teenagers/older children. Based on my experience I don’t think really little kids will enjoy it enough to make it worth the money, but I could be wrong.
Hopefully these options will ‘light up’ your holiday spirit without ‘burning out’ your wallet.