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Thanks for attending Light Up the Lake in 2021!

Brighten the winter season with Chicagoland’s biggest indoor, temperature-controlled light garden, featuring large-scale light-sculpture displays; an Alpine ice rink, authentic holiday beer garden, kiddie train rides, gift market, Merry Main Street Presented By Brach’s—and, of course, a visit with Santa. Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, in Festival Hall.

Tickets on Sale Now

Children under three enjoy the fun for free.

Please note when buying tickets: 

  • Tickets are for one entry only. Once you leave Light Up The Lake, you cannot re-enter with the same ticket.
  • There are times when Santa needs to rest, and the Zamboni needs to freshen up the skate rink. Please plan your ticket purchase time accordingly, and see below for when Santa and Skating are available.

Are you a group of 20 or more people wanting to attend Light up the Lake? If so, please fill out our group sales form.

Every ticket comes with a free ride on the Centennial Wheel (an $18 value), and visitors are invited to experience all the free amenities and attractions—indoors and out—at Navy Pier, which will be decked out for the season.

Opening Hours

Light Up The Lake runs from November 26 through January 2.

Through 12/19:

Monday: 3–9 p.m.
Tuesday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Thursday: 3–9 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

12/20 - 1/2:

10 a.m.–10 p.m.*

* The event will close at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve. It will be closed on Christmas Day.

NOTE: Light Up The Lake incorporates some popular attractions of Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest, such as the ice rink and kiddie train rides, but other elements, such as the bounce houses, have been eliminated in the wake of the pandemic. Other COVID protocols, such as face masks and social distancing, may be in place in accordance with CDC guidance at the time of the visit.


Holiday Parties and Group Events

Several party packages are available now for corporate, social and other groups looking to gather for the holiday season. For information, email

You won't believe what we've got in store for you!

LUTL Light Garden GME Logo 950x800

Explore the Magical Light Garden


The area’s largest indoor light show, boasting more than 600,000 lights, will feature oversized sculptures with holiday and toy box themes, including a giant teddy bear, a deer soaring 25-foot high, a 60-foot light tunnel and a 40-foot tree. There will even be an oversized rubber duckie, who will greet skaters near the ice rink. Instagram heaven!

LUTL Ice Rink

Strap on your ice skates at the Alpine Ice Rink

Come early, stay late and take a spin on the Alpine ice rink—made with real ice! Bring your own skates or borrow ours at no extra charge, pending size availability. Lockers also will be available.

LUTL Merry Main Street Brachs Logo

Meet Santa and friends on the Merry Main Street


Kids can jump on the Enchanted Choo-Choo to explore Santa’s Merry Main Street where they can share their holiday wish with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and meet Santa’s friends, neighbors, street performers and toymakers. Photo opportunities abound. Huts throughout make up a European-style market of seasonal wares, novelties, treats and unique holiday gifts. Visit Jolly Olde Post Office where they can post a letter to Santa.

Light Up The Lake Beer Garden

Enjoy good times and good brews at the Alpine Pub

The Alpine Pub offers old-world charm with seasonal craft beers, winter cocktails and delicious giant soft pretzels and both sweet and savory hand pies. Grab-and-go menu items will also be available throughout the experience.

Light Up The Lake Centennial Wheel in Winter

See the sights on the Centennial Wheel

Each ticket includes a ride on Navy Pier’s iconic 200-foot Centennial Wheel, offering 360-degree views of the decorated city and frosty Lake Michigan. Guests can ride during their Light Up the Lake visit, weather permitting, but the ticket—an $18 value—is valid through March 31, 2022.

~ Thank you to our 2021 Light Up The Lake Sponsors ~ 

Make a great visit even better

Try the new Drop Tower ride, drink in the views from the Offshore Rooftop Bar, or enjoy the dining and retail options available. Or make it an extended festive experience with an overnight stay at the Sable Hotel.

About Navy Pier

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier's 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. In 2022, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.

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