Now that Halloween has passed, we’ve entered the season for holiday joy! If you are looking to create new holiday traditions with friends and/or family, look no further! Chicago’s western suburbs provide plenty of options for young and old to soak in Santa-approved festivities. From European holiday markets to Festival of Lights, here’s a short list of some holiday events that are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. Put on your holiday sweaters and get ready for some festive hot drinks.

Aurora’s Christkindlmarket

RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway

Stuffed characters at ChristkindlmarketIf you haven’t experienced a Chriskindlmarket, this is a must-do! Bundle up and get ready for some yummy treats and unique gifts and European festivities. Unable to take a trip to Wrigleyville’s Christkindlmarket, or the one in Daley Plaza? The sister site in Aurora is just as special. Here you can stroll through the authentic traditional holiday market with more than 50 venders. Open November 17th – December 24th on Thursdays through Sundays, The Christkindlmarket sets up family-friendly events and provides a unique shopping experience. Pets are welcome, however, they may not enter any tents or cabins.

Market times are as follows:

Thursdays:                       11am-7pm
Fridays & Saturdays:     11am-9pm
Sundays:                          11am-6pm
Thanksgiving Day:         11am-4pm
Christmas Eve:               11am-4pm

Hinsdale’s Christmas Walk

Hinsdale’s downtown business district

The Hinsdale Christmas Walk is a robust Christmas tree lighting celebration with some unique twists. A beloved event, 2023’s is the 57th annual! On Friday, December 1st from 5pm-7pm, bring the kids and start off the holiday season with:

  • Santa making a grand entrance on a fire engine
  • Trackless kiddie train
  • Carousel
  • Holiday treats, including warm drinks
  • Games
  • Christmas tree lighting
  • Semi-sheltered Santa visits
Aurora’s Cocoa Crawl

Downtown Aurora

One of Aurora’s favorite things to do is its First Friday events. And they know how to do it right, despite the cold, by making December’s First Friday an annual Cocoa Crawl. Start off the most joyous month of the year, on December 1st from 5pm-9pm, with unlimited hot cocoa. Like all of Aurora’s First Friday events, this one features pop-up shops, art exhibits, live music, and food trucks. You can enjoy First Fridays for free, but the Cocoa Crawl refillable keepsake mug will cost you $5. If you participated in the Cocoa Crawl last year, bring your mug from last year and instead purchase a $5 Cocoa Crawl button that serves as your ticket to the event.

Aurora’s Festival of Lights Drive-Thru

Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Dr.

Returning for it’s 16th year, the Aurora Festival of Lights Drive-Thru hosts the largest light display in the area. This free event takes place from November 25th – December 25th. The mile long light display is open 5pm-9pm. Tune into the light-coordinated radio station and enjoy the cheerful holiday cheer display. You’ll see a various array, including holiday animals, Santa’s toy shop, gigantic snowflakes, and Old Man Winter.

While this is a free event, you must register your car before entering.

Warrenville’s Holidays Around the World

Joyeux Noel! Buon Natale! Frohe Weinachten! Feliz Navidad! It’s like a holiday-themed Epcot Center right in Chicago’s western suburbs! Visit Warrenville’s Community Building Gym on Saturday, December 9th to take a trip around the world’s holiday festivities. From 10-11:30 am, get a passport to take a peek into traditional Christmas traditions celebrated in a variety of countries. Stop at each country to play games and try snacks that are unique to that country’s holiday celebrations. $12 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Register here: Holidays Around the World.


Stuffed characters at Christkindlmarket by Ryan Dickey under CC BY 2.0 DEED
Festival of Lights by GoToVan under CC BY 2.0 DEED