The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival street closures, parade route & safety

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival street closures, parade route & safety
Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade. Photo: Stan-Golovchuk

The holiday season heats up this weekend with the opening of Christkindlmarket, the official city tree lighting and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

With over a million people expected to come to the city this weekend, just for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, traffic will be a mess. Public transportation is always advised and even more convenient with the addition of extra service on some CTA and Metra lines.

For public transportation reroutes, increased service and other transportation information, see the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA’s) website at  or call 312-836-7000. For Metra service, click here.

If you must drive, here's what you need to know.

Street Closures

  • Main street closures, such as Michigan Avenue from Oak to Wacker; Oak Street from State to Michigan Avenue and Upper Wacker Drive from Michigan to the east turnaround will begin as early as 4 p.m. on Saturday and will remain closed until 7:30 p.m.
  • Upper Illinois Street from Michigan Avenue to Hotel InterContinental side entrance will be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Dearborn Street from Delaware Street to Maple; Walton Street from State to Clark; and Oak Street from Clark to State will be closed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.on Saturday.
  • Columbus Drive (southbound lanes) from Wacker to Randolph are closed from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The northbound lanes on Columbus from Wacker to Randolph are closed 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Hours

Festivities  for the annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins today (Friday) at 4:00 p.m. (Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan) and continue on Saturday, with the annual Tree-Lighting Parade, stepping off at 5:30 p.m. 

Parade Route

The lighting parade steps off from Oak Street and North Michigan Avenue and proceeds south to Wacker Drive and east to Columbus Drive.

How to dress

With temperatures predicted to plummet Saturday afternoon, forget about fashion, just dress to stay warm--hats, gloves, layers!


With any large event in the city, public safety is key. The city is putting out tons of extra security including Streets and San using vehicles to block off side streets leading to the Mag Mile parade from any possible motorized attacks. Bottom line: The city is doing everything it can but individuals still need to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity and report it to 9-1-1 or on-site security.


The procession concludes with a firework show over the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue.  For public  safety, spectators are not allowed to view fireworks on any of the Chicago bridges.

Click here, for more holiday events.

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