Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade: 2023 In-Depth Guide

Jaw-dropping light displays, a grand tree-lighting parade, and exceptional live entertainment. The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a dream!

Kicking off the festive season in Chicago, the Magnificent Mile Festival of Lights deserves a spot in your holiday itinerary. Revel in over 200 trees, see the enormous floats, wave to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as Jolly Old St. Nicholas, and get some Yuletide cheer by watching musical presentations or visiting the thoroughfare of booths and vendors.

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Ready to embrace the holiday magic? Follow along to discover everything about the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Tickets

Admission is free for all the events of the Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

Other Attractions in Chicago 

The Second City is exploding with game-changing landmarks and breathtaking views. After the Chicago Christmas parade, discover the city’s top spots and upcoming events. Grab these Chicago vacation packages to not bust your budget:

Nearby Hotels and Lodging

The Windy City boasts endless sights and attractions to delve into. Rest your tired body in Chicago by spending a night at any of the first-rate hotels.  

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Attractions

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Catch the inaugural Chicago tree lighting ceremony on The Avenue’s. This marks the beginning of the festival, including the holidays in Windy City. After the program, stick around for a live musical show and photo opportunities.

There will be food options throughout the Christmas tree lighting grounds, ranging from themed cuisines to quick bites. Be sure to come early to reserve a good spot as thousands of spectators are expected to gather around for this tradition.

Family Fun Activities

Keep yourselves busy while waiting for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade. As always, there will be a bunch of interactive themed activities, including meet-and-greet sessions with Santa and his elves, shopping experiences, and more special happenings.    

Tree Lighting Festival Parade

Every year, the streets of 401 North Michigan Avenue sparkle with adorned floats, helium-filled balloons, million lights, and character participation during the Chicago Christmas Parade. This year’s procession will be no different.

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The spectacle will be joined by a bunch of talented marching and high school bands, musical performers, as well as the Jolly Old Man himself. Your favorite Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will also travel from Walt Disney World Resort to lead the Chicago Lights Festival!

On top of that, there will be celebrity appearances and live shows throughout the pageant. After the procession, a massive fireworks show is held over the Chicago River, the grand finale of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. The event has been taking place for 32 years, attracting millions of spectators annually. Just like last year, this event will likely start at 5:30 PM.

Tree Lighting Parade Broadcast

Relive the experience or enjoy the enchanting festivities of the Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival for the first time even if you’re miles away from Chicago on November 19, 2023. Tune in to the broadcast on ABC 7 and join the holiday cheer from afar. This captivating event will reach nearly 100% of American markets and select Canadian regions. You can also stream the show on the ABC7 Chicago News app and website.

Magnificent Mile Light Festival Date

“When is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival?” you may ask. This Chicago tradition runs on November 18, 2023.

Magnificent Mile Light Festival Parade Route

The Lights Festival Magnificent Mile parade starts on North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street down to Wacker Drive.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Details

Due to the Chicago Christmas Lights 2023 and its activities, some roads will be closed. Please arrive earlier to skip the traffic as much as possible.

Experience the Magic

Spreading an ethereal glow to Chicago streets yearly, The Magnificent Mile Light starts the beginning of the holiday season in the city. Soak in the twinkling displays, feast your eyes on marvelous floats, and take frame-worthy pictures with Santa Claus. Wave in delight when Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with other delightful characters, make their appearance at the Wintrust Magnificent Miles Festival.

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Plus, stick around for the live musical performances Santa Claus meet and greet, and more surprises. Make sure to visit the booths of local artisans or vendors offering rare finds at the Light Festival Chicago as you hunt for the best gifts.

The Lights Chicago is a must-visit while in Chi-town!


Start Date:

November 18, 2023 @ 6:00 pm CST

End Date:

November 18, 2023 @ 7:00 pm CST






Magnificent Mile

North Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 United States


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Written by Anne Joyce Raymundo

Anne is a Filipino writer who formerly managed and created marketing strategies and materials for numerous websites and eCommerce platforms. Now, her voice...

1 comment about “Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade: 2023 In-Depth Guide”

Judith Brady

August 2, 2022 at 7:09 pm

I want to offer my tree for chicagos Christmas tree lighting. I submitted my info & pictures, but I fear it hasn’t gone through to you. Thanks for s as my help or direction as computer is not my first or Second language.

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