Written by: Olivia Forgette

Tis the season for festive fun! We have compiled our top picks for local holiday events and experiences in the Chicago suburbs. Check out our top five expert local discoveries to make your holiday season sparkle.


1) Lake Geneva Winterfest

Location: Riviera Plaza/Flat Iron Park, Lake Geneva, WI

Date/Time: January 31 – February 4, 2024

Cost: Free

Kick off the new year with some blustery fun at the Lake Geneva Winterfest events. Celebrating it’s 29th season, Winterfest features the United States National Snow Sculpting Championship. Feel in-awe as you gaze at professional snow sculpted masterpieces. Once you enjoy the beautiful sculptures, you can also have loads of winter-y fun with beach bonfires, live entertainment, and additional family fun activities.

BONUS: If Lake Geneva is too far of a trek for you, try checking out the Huntley Ice Sculpture and Coco Crawl event!

Location: Huntley Town Square

Date/Time: December 16, 2023 from 12 p.m.-to-5 p.m.

Cost: There will be three ticket options (must purchase before the event): a) $18 mug and s’more b) $15 mug only c) $5 s’mores only

You can dazzle at custom-carved holiday ice sculptures as you sip your hot coco and munch on a sweet s’more treat. The sculptures will be displayed on the sidewalks for free viewing!


2) Visit Santa Claus

Bring the magic of the holiday season to your little ones by visiting Santa! Take a load off on Santa’s lap and share with the jolly old soul the items on your holiday wish list. There are loads of options for Santa visits in the Chicago suburbs. Take a look at our top local picks for Santa visits here:

  • Crystal Lake Santa House – Check out this adorable free visit Santa event happening November 25 – December 23 located in downtown Crystal Lake at Brink Street Market.
  • Anderson Candy Shop Santa Visit, Richmond – Enjoy a sweet treat and photos with Father Christmas on December 9, 10, and 16. Bring your own camera and don’t forget your gift list!
  • Woodstock Square Santa Visit – Feel the merry spirit of the holidays when you visit Santa in the Woodstock Square Santa House. Tickets are required to enjoy this classic holiday fun.
  • Dog & Santa Visit – If your pooch is feeling festive, you can get photos of your pup with Santa at Reeses Barkery & Pawtique on Riverside Drive in McHenry. Santa will be there for your furry friends on December 23 from 9 a.m.-to-noon.


3) McHenry Riverwalk District Ice Rink

Location: McHenry Riverwalk District (near the Riverwalk Shoppes)

Date/Time: Open now and daily from 10 a.m.-to-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Take a skate into holiday excitement with a visit to the McHenry Riverwalk District ice rink. The rink is open daily for free ice-skating enjoyment! Skating supervision is not provided (skate at your own risk). Bring your own ice skates, as rentals are not available at this time. Get in the holiday spirit this season with the brisk wind in your face as you glide into festive winter fun. Although the rink is open all season long, December 16 is ugly sweater day for an added level of holiday cheer.


4) The Illumination at the Morton Arboretum

Location: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rt 53, Lisle IL

Date/Time: Now through January 6, 2024

Cost: Varies

Marvel at dancing lights transforming the Morton Arboretums gorgeous landscape into a jaw-dropping holiday spectacular. Tickets are required for this event, and prices vary based on time, date, and if you are a Morton Arboretum member or not. The event entails a one-mile journey on foot amid festive lighting and music. Although this one is a bit of a further drive for us in the Northwest suburbs, this event is truly unmatched when it comes to other light shows in the area (AKA it is worth the drive in our humble opinion).


5) Winter Art Market, Scorched Earth Brewery

Location: Scorched Earth Brewery, 203 Berg St, Algonquin IL

Date/Time: December 17 from 1 p.m.-to-5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Sip resident brews and shop artwork from local artists for handmade gifts! You can expect to see floral art, paintings, jewelry, home décor, and more. This festive event is the perfect place to get those last minute, unique gifts for the ones you love.


Does all this talk about holiday fun have you thinking about the winter real estate market? Contact Maureen Forgette with any market or real estate related questions. She is happy to help in anyway she can. Know someone who can benefit from the elevated level of service provided by Maureen? We always appreciate your referral!