Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: Are you ready?

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: Are you ready?


Chicago’s biggest holiday celebration the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is coming Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18. This year’s expanded fest features two days of free, family fun to celebrate the holiday season.

Day one, will offer over a dozen family activities, plus food, fun and music at Festival Lane on Pioneer Court. Day two offers more of the same plus the magnificent tree lighting parade along The Magnificent Mile, from Oak Street to the Chicago River followed by fireworks.     

Here’s the schedule of events: 

Friday, November 17, 4 to 8 pm.

Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Avenue) is celebration central for Friday’s of holiday-themed activities. This year’s festival features an expanded Harris Kid’s Zone tent with with family activities including: face painting with holiday designs; photos taken with fun props which will be printed and available to share via social media and more.

ALSO: The 104th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, takes place, just a few blocks south of Pioneer Court at 6 pm., in Millennium Park at Wrigley Square at Michigan Ave. & Randolph St.

Saturday, November 18, 11 am. to 8 pm.

Lights Festival Lane (401 N. Michigan Avenue) opens at 11 am. and runs through 4 pm. with special family friendly activities and fun including: a festive photo booth, custom-embroidered giveaways, and the chance to win a roundtrip for two on the Official Airline of The Magnificent Mile (@ Southwest Airlines® Porch). In addition there’s live musical performances  starting at 11:30AM with family-favorite Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players; singer/songwriter Alec Joseph; and country music trio Temecula Road (BMO Harris Bank Stage).


Stop by the Santa Chalet (Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan) for a visit with Santa Claus. Warm up with complimentary treat size bag of the Garrett Mix® at the Garrett Popcorn booth, s slice of Connie’s Pizza plus a chance to decorate a free slice of cheesecake from The Eli’s Cheesecake Company complete with whipped cream and fun candy toppings.


The Magnificent Mile Lights Parade, the country’s largest evening holiday celebration, steps off at 5:30 pm. 

Parade. Photo: Stan Golovchuk

Parade. Photo: Stan Golovchuk

America’s favorite rodents, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World® Resort once again are the grand marshals for the parade helping to illuminate more than one million lights along The Magnificent Mile, from Oak Street to the Chicago River.

Parade highlights include: classic characters from Walt Disney World including: Woody and Jessie from Toy Story; more than 40 magnificent floats, helium-filled balloons, and six marching bands from across the country.

What to expect: Crowd favorites return lead by the larger-than-life Hubert the Lion balloon from BMO Harris Bank and popular Chicago team mascots including Benny the Bull, Tommy the Hawk, and more. The scent of Garrett Popcorn will fill the air as it is infused from the shop’s float along the route. Keep an eye out for the Frango Mint float sporting a new look with their mint-colored float, along with Frango Mint Chocolate Pearls for the crowd.

The stars are sure to shine with celebrity appearances include Asher Angel, star of the Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack;” singer-songwriter, Alec Joseph; American singer, Billy Gilman; American Idol finalist, Melinda Doolittle; jazz singer, Shemekia Copeland; and country music trio, Temecula Road.


SANTA. Photo: Stan Gloovchuk

SANTA. Photo: Stan Gloovchuk

Watch for Santa Claus on a float from Walgreens to close out the parade. Then head to the Chicago River for the fireworks.


Fireworks over the river. Photo: Stan Golovchuk

Fireworks over the river. Photo: Stan Golovchuk

The Lights Festival draws to a grand conclusion with a spectacular fireworks display over the Chicago River starting at approximately 6:55 pm.

Click here for ‘Show Me Chicago’s’ comprehensive list of Holiday events. 

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