Glencoe Festive Lights


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As the winter air turns crisp and the nights grow longer, the village of Glencoe, Illinois, comes alive with the enchanting Glencoe Festive Lights.

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Festival highlights

This captivating festival of lights transforms the town into a twinkling wonderland, drawing visitors from far and wide to witness its stunning display of fairy lights and curtain lights

With its charming array of twinkling Christmas lights and light exhibitions, the Glencoe Festive Lights offers a magical escape into a world aglow with holiday cheer. This annual celebration, rich in community spirit and festive joy, promises an unforgettable experience for all who wander under its luminous canopy.

About Glencoe Festive Lights

The Glencoe Festive Lights is more than just an ordinary light festival; it’s a lively celebration of the holiday spirit that captures the essence of winter’s magic. 

This festival is renowned for its brilliant illumination and festive activities that offer something special for everyone. Alongside its mesmerizing light displays, the festival is bustling with live music that fills the air with melodies of joy and celebration. 

The winter village, adorned with festive decorations, invites visitors to stroll through a holiday-themed wonderland, creating an atmosphere of warmth and community spirit.

One of the festival’s highlights includes photo opportunities with Santa Claus, a cherished moment for families and children, adding a touch of wonder to the holiday season. 

Additionally, the festival offers unique experiences like trackless train rides through downtown Glencoe. These rides provide a delightful tour of the town’s festive decorations and twinkling lights, enchanting passengers of all ages. An igloo photo booth is also a notable feature, offering a fun and quirky setting for memorable photographs.

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An image inspired by the mesmerizing beauty of the Glencoe Festive Lights

The festival’s lighting displays are a spectacular sight, featuring:

  • Christmas Tree: A towering, beautifully decorated tree that stands as a beacon of the holiday season, its lights shimmering in a rhythmic dance.
  • Fairy Lights: Delicate and whimsical, these lights weave through the festival, creating a dreamlike ambiance that captivates and enchants.
  • Curtain Lights: Cascading down like a waterfall of light, these lights create a stunning backdrop, perfect for capturing the essence of the festival in photographs.

Festival Dates

The Glencoe Festive Lights is a unique, one-day event that captures the essence of the holiday season in a spectacular burst of lights and joy. It takes place on a special day in November, offering a perfect opportunity to kick off the holiday season with a dazzling display of lights and festivities. It’s an enchanting experience that promises to fill hearts with warmth and create lasting memories for all who attend.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Glencoe Festive Lights is proudly hosted in the charming village of Glencoe, nestled in the state of Illinois, United States. This idyllic location becomes a canvas for the festival’s radiant lights and merry festivities, drawing visitors to its heart where community spirit and holiday joy are palpable. 

Glencoe, known for its picturesque landscapes and welcoming atmosphere, provides the perfect backdrop for this celebrated event, offering an immersive experience in a truly festive environment.

Traveling to the Festival

The nearest airport to Glencoe is Chicago O’Hare International Airport, located approximately 20 miles away. Visitors arriving by air have several convenient options to reach the festival location:

  • Taxi or Rideshare: A quick and direct way to travel, with numerous taxis and rideshare services available at the airport.
  • Public Transportation: Efficient bus and train services connect the airport to Glencoe, offering an economical and eco-friendly option.
  • Car Rental: For those preferring their own vehicle, several car rental agencies are available at the airport, providing flexibility to explore Glencoe and its surroundings.

Getting to Glencoe by Train

For visitors traveling from other cities, Glencoe is well-connected by train, offering a scenic and comfortable journey. Here’s how to reach Glencoe by train from major nearby cities:

From Chicago:

  • Board a Metra train on the Union Pacific North Line.
  • Disembark at Glencoe Station, located in the heart of the village.
  • The festival site is a short walk or a quick taxi ride from the station.

From Milwaukee:

  • Take the Amtrak Hiawatha Service to Chicago Union Station.
  • Transfer to the Metra Union Pacific North Line.
  • Arrive at Glencoe Station and proceed to the festival location.

From Indianapolis:

  • Board the Amtrak Cardinal/Hoosier State line to Chicago Union Station.
  • Switch to the Metra Union Pacific North Line towards Glencoe.
  • Upon reaching Glencoe Station, the festival site is easily accessible.

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other lights festivals as well:

Chicago Festival of Lights

Oglebay Festival of Lights

Festival Hours

The Glencoe Festive Lights offers a cozy and intimate setting for its one-day extravaganza, running from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. These hours are specially chosen to capture the essence of the evening’s charm, allowing the lights to truly shine as dusk falls and the village is bathed in a warm, festive glow. 

This two-hour window provides the perfect duration for guests to wander through the twinkling displays, enjoy the live music and festive activities, and immerse themselves in the holiday spirit. It’s a brief yet magical time, designed to leave a lasting impression of wonder and joy in the hearts of all who attend.

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An image inspired by the Glencoe Festive Lights

How Much Does It Cost to See the Glencoe Festive Lights

The Glencoe Festive Lights stands out as a beacon of communal joy and celebration, offering its enchanting experience entirely free of charge. This event opens its doors to the public without any admission fee, embodying the spirit of inclusivity and accessibility. 

The festival’s commitment to being a free event ensures that individuals, families, and friends from all backgrounds can immerse themselves in the magical atmosphere of the lights festival. This approach allows everyone to enjoy the beauty and festive spirit of the evening, creating treasured memories without the worry of cost.

Weather and What to Wear

November in Glencoe, Illinois, typically ushers in the brisk, cool air of late autumn, setting a perfect stage for the mesmerizing festival of lights. During this time of the year, the village experiences average temperatures that range from a high of around 45°F (7°C) during the day to a chilly low near 30°F (-1°C) in the evenings. 

This drop in temperature, especially as night falls, adds to the festive ambiance, making the warmth of the twinkling lights even more inviting. The weather is generally clear, but it’s not uncommon to have occasional brisk winds or a light frost, adding to the seasonal charm.

To comfortably enjoy the festival, it’s recommended to dress in warm and cozy attire. Here are some suggestions:

  • Thermal Layers: Start with a base layer of thermal clothing to keep your core warm.
  • Sweaters or Fleece: Add a thick sweater or a fleece jacket for insulation.
  • Winter Coat: Wear a heavy winter coat to protect against the cold evening air.
  • Hats and Gloves: Don’t forget a warm hat and a pair of gloves to keep your head and hands warm.
  • Scarves: A scarf can be both a stylish and practical addition, providing extra warmth around your neck.
  • Warm Footwear: Opt for insulated and waterproof boots or shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Ear Muffs: For added comfort, consider wearing ear muffs to protect your ears from the chilly wind.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

After a magical evening at the Glencoe Festive Lights, visitors can find restful accommodations in a selection of nearby hotels, each offering unique amenities and comforts to suit various preferences and needs.

Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel (933 Skokie Blvd, Northbrook, Illinois, USA)

  • Type: 4-star hotel
  • Location: Conveniently located in Northbrook, just a short drive from the festival.
  • Amenities: Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool for a relaxing swim, complimentary parking, and the hotel’s pet-friendly policy allows you to bring your furry friends along.
  • Description: This hotel offers a blend of luxury and convenience, with elegantly appointed rooms and a welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal choice for festival-goers seeking comfort and style.

Sheraton Chicago Northbrook Hotel (1110 Willow Rd, Northbrook, Illinois, USA)

  • Type: 4-star hotel
  • Location: Located in the heart of Northbrook, offering easy access to the festival site.
  • Amenities: Guests will find free parking, a lively bar to unwind, a well-equipped fitness center, and an indoor pool. The hotel is also pet-friendly, welcoming your four-legged companions.
  • Description: The Sheraton offers a luxurious stay with modern rooms and top-notch services, catering to those who appreciate a blend of relaxation and sophistication.

Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Chicago North (1090 S Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, Illinois, USA)

  • Type: 3-star hotel
  • Location: Situated in Wheeling, this hotel is a convenient drive to Glencoe.
  • Amenities: Features include free parking, a bar and restaurant for dining convenience, complimentary Wi-Fi for staying connected, and a pet-friendly policy.
  • Description: The Ramada Plaza provides a comfortable and budget-friendly option, with well-equipped rooms and friendly service, perfect for visitors looking for value and convenience.

Where to Eat

Following an evening of enchanting lights and festive cheer, visitors to the Glencoe Festive Lights can indulge in a variety of culinary delights at local eateries, each offering unique flavors and dining experiences.

Guildhall (694 Vernon Ave, Glencoe, Illinois, USA)

  • Type: American Restaurant
  • Location: Centrally located in Glencoe, just a short walk from the festival.
  • Specialties: Known for its craft cocktails, beer, and wine selection. The menu includes delights like coffee cake, Guildhall’s cinnamon roll, vegetable omelette, and steak and eggs.
  • Features: Offers outdoor seating and a kids’ menu, making it a great choice for families.
  • Description: Guildhall provides a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for unwinding after the festival with its hearty American cuisine and expertly crafted beverages.

Shanghai Garden (655 Vernon Ave, Glencoe, Illinois, USA)

  • Type: Chinese Restaurant
  • Location: Conveniently located near the heart of Glencoe.
  • Specialties: Features a range of Chinese delicacies, including vegetable egg rolls, chicken spring roll, and hot spicy tofu.
  • Description: Shanghai Garden offers an authentic Chinese dining experience, with a menu that brings the rich flavors of China to Glencoe. It’s an ideal spot for those craving exotic and flavorful dishes.

Frank & Betsie’s Restaurant (51 Green Bay Rd, Glencoe, Illinois, USA)

  • Type: European and American Cuisine
  • Location: Situated close to the festival area, easily accessible for diners.
  • Specialties: Offers a variety of dishes, such as luscious shrimp and chicken strips, pork loin escalope, and cold poached salmon.
  • Features: Provides outdoor seating for an al fresco dining experience.
  • Description: Frank & Betsie’s Restaurant blends European and American culinary traditions, creating a menu that is both diverse and satisfying. It’s a perfect choice for those looking to enjoy classic dishes in a comfortable and inviting setting.

More Things to Explore in the Area

In addition to the Glencoe Festive Lights, the surrounding area boasts a variety of attractions, offering visitors an opportunity to explore and enjoy a range of delightful experiences that complement their festival visit.

Chicago Botanic Garden

  • Location: Just a short drive from Glencoe, located at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois, USA.
  • Description: Spanning over 385 acres and featuring 27 gardens and four natural areas, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a living plant museum that showcases a stunning array of flora and fauna.
  • Activities: Visitors can enjoy walking tours, educational workshops, and seasonal events. It’s a perfect spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes and serene environments.

Duke Park

  • Location: Located within Glencoe, Illinois.
  • Description: Duke Park is a community park offering a peaceful retreat with its well-maintained green spaces and recreational facilities.
  • Activities: The park features playgrounds for children, walking paths, and picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for family outings and leisurely strolls.

Green Bay Trail

  • Location: Easily accessible from various points in Glencoe.
  • Description: The Green Bay Trail is a scenic multi-use trail that runs parallel to Chicago’s Metra commuter rail line. It offers a mix of urban and natural views, making it a popular route for walkers, joggers, and cyclists.
  • Activities: The trail is perfect for a leisurely walk, a refreshing jog, or a bike ride, allowing visitors to explore the area’s beauty at their own pace. Along the way, there are several spots to rest and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

A Sparkling Conclusion: Glencoe Festive Lights

As the Glencoe Festive Lights draw to a close, we reflect on the unforgettable moments of joy and wonder that have illuminated the village. The twinkling lights, heartwarming music, and festive atmosphere have created an enchanting experience that will linger in our memories long after the lights dim. 

We leave with a renewed sense of holiday spirit, cherishing the shared smiles and laughter that have brightened these winter evenings. Until next year, we hold onto the magic of Glencoe Festive Lights, a true testament to the beauty and warmth of the holiday season.


Is there parking available near the festival site?

Yes, there are designated parking areas near the festival location, including street parking and public lots, providing convenient access to the event.

Can I smoke at the festival?

Smoking is not permitted within the festival grounds to ensure a comfortable and healthy environment for all attendees.

Are pets allowed at Glencoe Festive Lights?

Yes, pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash at all times. Please be considerate and clean up after your pets.

What should I do in case of inclement weather?

The festival is a rain or shine event. However, in the case of severe weather, check the festival’s official website or social media channels for updates and safety information.

Are there restrooms available on site?

Yes, there are public restrooms available at the festival, including accessible facilities.

Is the festival accessible for those with disabilities?

Absolutely. The festival area is designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair-accessible paths and facilities.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to the festival?

While personal food and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed, we encourage you to explore the variety of local food vendors present at the festival for a more complete experience.

Is there an age limit for the festival?

The Glencoe Festive Lights is a family-friendly event suitable for all ages. There are no age restrictions for attending the festival.

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An image inspired by the holiday atmosphere of Glencoe Festive Lights


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