It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time for hot cocoa with Santa, twinkling tree lighting ceremonies, and cozy carriage rides. While the holiday season is filled with endless opportunities for family fun, finding the best spots can feel a bit overwhelming. We’ve gathered all of our holiday lists into one spot for easy access and planning. Before you begin, talk to your family about what they love most during the holiday season. You can hunt for candy canes, get pizza with the Grinch, marvel at a local Nutcracker performance, and much, much more. You’ll find details about all the magical holiday activities hosted by organizations throughout the western suburbs in our guide below. Happy holidays!
Winter Holiday Family Fun Guide for Families in the West Suburbs
The Giant Kidlist Holiday Bucket List for December 2021
Not sure where to start this holiday season? We’ve got a list for that . . . a printable bucket list that you can do any day of the week!
The Best Hanukkah Events in Chicagoland
Check out Kidlist’s guide to all things Hanukkah for some of the best family events in Chicagoland celebrating the Festival of Lights, which ends December 6.
Live Christmas Tree Farms: Where to Cut Your Own (or Find a Pre-Cut Tree)
Driving to the lot, sawing down a tree, drinking cocoa together: cutting your own Christmas tree is a family adventure! Or go with pre-cut and skip the saw.
Where to Find the Best Christmas Lights and Our 2021 Map
All of the best Christmas lights in the suburbs with addresses, photos and a map. Take a drive or walk through the beautiful light displays!
Santa Sighting Alert! Where to See Santa
Santa sightings in the western suburbs of Chicago! A comprehensive list of where to see Santa, including dates, times and calendar listings with more info.
2021 Live Holiday Theater for Kids
Holiday theater for kids makes for a magical memory! Find a local performance of some of our holiday favorites.
Horse-Drawn Carriage and Trolley Rides for Old-Fashioned Holiday Fun
Places to find a horse drawn carriage ride or holiday trolley ride in the western suburbs.
Churches with a Live Nativity for Christmas
Find a live nativity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. There are many local options so you can find one near you!
Free Photos with Santa
All the opportunities to take free photos with Santa for families in the western suburbs!
Pet Photos with Santa
Pets shouldn’t be left out of the holiday family fun. Find places that welcome dogs, cats, and other pets in this list of pet photos with Santa.
Holiday Gift Guide for Kids of All Ages: Experience Gifts in Chicago’s Suburbs
Tons of ideas for experience gifts to enjoy time with each other that your children will never forget.
Locally Owned Bookstores and Toy Stores
At these locally owned bookstores and toy stores, you will find the perfect gift for those on your holiday shopping list. The level of passion and knowledge that these shop owners have is what makes the shopping experience special! Many offered curbside pickup in 2020, so call ahead of this is a service you’re looking to find.
Polar Express Train Rides, Holiday Express, Santa Train, and Santa Trolley
These magical rides are filled with sweet treats, visits with Santa, and much, much more. Reservations for these events go very quickly, so if you haven’t booked something, start looking today.
Stroll Through These 2021 Winter and Holiday Walks
‘Tis the season to get outside and celebrate the holidays. Store-front windows filled with snowmen, reindeer lining the streets, elves hidden in downtown shops, and rows of beautifully-decorated trees fill your neighborhood parks.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Get the inside scoop on what you will find at Holiday Magic. The best zoo lights, entertainment, free exhibits, parking, light up necklaces, and more.
Peanuts Christmas Experience at Fox Valley Mall
Meet Santa, along with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang! This unique experience combines Christmas fun with all things Peanuts.
Volunteering with Kids
Volunteering with kids is such a worthwhile way to connect as a family. These organizations offer opportunities to help them better our community.
Toy Drives and Donations
Toy drives in Chicago’s western suburbs for unopened toys, plus where to donate gently used toys. Get in the holiday spirit of giving!
How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids
You don’t have to wait until midnight to celebrate the new year. These local places are hosting fun events to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids during the day!
Kidlist Events Calendar
Looking for something to do today? Or next weekend? You can find details about all the events running on our events calendar.
For more winter fun, check out our winter activities for kids guide!