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light up the lake returns to navy pier

Nov. 3, 2022 | Chicago area’s largest indoor light and ice-skating experience runs Nov. 25 - Jan. 7

Light Up the Lake Returns to Navy Pier With New Interactive Experiences, Ice Skating, Birch Tree Forest, Santa and More

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate. Please visit our event calendar for information on current events.

CHICAGO  Navy Pier is thrilled to kick off the holiday season with the spectacular, all ages experience, Light Up The Lake, starting Nov. 25 through Jan. 7. The Chicago area’s largest indoor lights experience will feature several new, interactive holiday activities for the entire family.

Single tickets start at $15 for a child, $27 for an adult, depending on the day. Every ticket comes with a free ride on the Centennial Wheel, access to the Roseaux interactive art installation, stomp light activity, reflecting pond, birch tree forest, light sculptures, ice skating, skate rentals, and visits with Santa. To purchase tickets, discover new deals, and get more information on group sales, click here.

New This Year

“Stomp Light Activity” – A collection of 100 interactive light discs will create an engaging experience for all ages. Interactive LED floor pods instantly change color at the touch.

“Light Memory Game” – Guests will be able to engage with interactive light sculptures through their smart phones.

Reflecting Pond – The Frozen Pond is a beautiful area for relaxing and reflecting, with a dedicated spectacular photo-op for guests.

Birch Tree Forest – Guests will wind their way through a maze of more than 100 lighted, 8-ft. birch trees. Each right – or wrong – turn provides opportunities for immersive selfies along the way.

Roseaux – Walking in fields has never been more fun than with Roseaux, a “particip’active” and playfully interactive art installation. Composed of 12 individual reeds that rise into the sky, Roseaux invites users to activate the base of the reeds by stepping on sensors, rhythmically propelling myriad colors up the stem. Alone or in a group, the fun and exciting race begins to give the reeds a single, solid color. The visual parade punctuated by a vibrant soundscape in a perfect synchrony of light and sound creates an energizing sensory experience. In standby mode, gently pulsing light and sound beckon users to activate the reeds and give the space a dreamlike ambiance.

Magic Wands – With one tap of their magic wand, guests young and old can create their own color stories inside Light Up The Lake. Guests will be able to search for and interact with 30 different magic objects throughout the event. Wands are not included in the ticket price. They are available for purchase inside main entrance for a nominal fee.

Returning This Year

Light Sculptures– 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 feet, 60-ft. light tunnel, and a more than 40-ft. tree. There will even be an oversized rubber duckie, which will greet skaters near the ice rink.

Ice Skating Rink – Guests are invited to come early, stay late, and take a spin on the Alpine ice rink. Guests can bring their own skates, but skates will be available at no extra charge, pending availability. Lockers will also be available.

Santa’s Village – Kids and adults can jump on the Holiday Train for a ride in Santa’s Village. After they can share their holiday wish with Santa Claus. Guests are encouraged to visit the Jolly Olde Post Office where they can sent a letter to Santa.

Centennial Wheel – Each ticket includes a ride on Navy Pier’s iconic 200-ft. 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. The ticket – an $18 value – is valid through 2023.

Holiday Parties and Group Events

Several party packages will be available for corporate, social, and other groups looking to gather for the holiday season. The Light Up The Lake website will have a button to click and direct group organizers to Light Up The Lake sales professionals. Groups of 20 or more will have early access to tickets and discounts by booking through Guests can plan a complete experience, including catered family or office holiday parties, by emailing

B-roll: Click here for images of Light Up The Lake.

Note: All artists, dates and prices are subject to change.

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is the top nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and typically welcoming nearly 9 million annual guests. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more.

The Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016 with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2021, Navy Pier continued to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts—including Sable, a 223-room Hilton hotel, new restaurants and partnerships, and thrilling additions to Pier Park. The Pier is also proud to continue providing free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a mission-driven 501(c)(3) organization, in support of the organization’s post-pandemic revival and free public programming. For more information, visit


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