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The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is one of the nation’s largest evening holiday events and takes place in Chicago each year. The trees along North Michigan Avenue illuminate to signal the official kick-off of the holiday season in Chicago and around our region.

I’m here to remind you like any other great event in our region, the best way to get there is by transit! Avoid the headache of traffic and finding parking downtown by taking the bus and train. Make sure to check out CTA’s website and Metra’s website for updates on service to the festival and plan your trip at

Here’s some parade logistics to help you plan your weekend!

Friday, November 22

From 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Avenue) opens the evening before the parade with more than a dozen family-friendly activities plus live music and a visit with Santa Claus!

Saturday, November 23

The Lights Festival Lane will be open from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., but the main attraction is the tree-lighting parade! Here is some information to know before you head out:

  • As early as 3:30 p.m.: DuSable Bridge (formerly Michigan Avenue Bridge) closes to pedestrian traffic.
  • 4:00 p.m.: North Michigan Avenue closes to vehicular traffic between Oak Street and Wacker Drive.
  • 5:30-7:00 p.m.: The parade starts on North Michigan Avenue at Oak Street and ends on North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.
  • 6:55 p.m.: Fireworks spectacular over the Chicago River at North Michigan Avenue.

For more information you can view a map of the festival here.

And remember, we can all agree that transit is the best way to get to the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Avoid the stress of parking and traffic and let us do the driving for you.


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