Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in a Nutshell:
The City of Chicago and UL are kicking off the start of the holiday season with the 100th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Tuesday, November 26, 2013 beginning at 5 p.m. with a music program with holiday performances and the tree will be lit at 6 p.m. This is a special year as Chicago celebrates the 100th anniversary of the City of Chicago’s first municipal Christmas tree that was lit on December 24, 1913 in Grant Park. The tree will be decorated with multi-colored lights and ornaments. The Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will also include performances by Darlene Love at 5 p.m. Darlene Love is best known for her work with Phil Spector in the 1960s and for the holiday favorite, “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home,” a song she has sung every year on the Late Show With David Letterman for nearly 30 years. Santa will also be on hand for pictures.
Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Admission:
Admission to the Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is free.
Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Location:
The Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at Daley Plaza ,Washington and Dearborn, in Chicago's Loop area. (Due to the expected crowds, consider taking public transportation to the event. Check out our Chicago Public Transportation Guide for more information.)
About the Chicago Christmas Tree:
During the summer and early fall, Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events received more than 90 submissions from Chicagoland area residents in hopes that their tree would get the honor to be the city's Christmas tree. The winning tree will be announced the week of November 4.
Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Date and Time:
Tuesday, November 26, 2012; music program begins at 5 p.m. and the tree lighting ceremony is at 6 p.m. (weather permitting). (Tip: Plan at a Staycation at the Hotel Palomar in Chicago. The hotel will be hosting family-friendly holiday movies in the living room (aka lobby) for all guests along with complimentary hot chocolate and popcorn. This will kick-off on Saturday November 23, 2013 at 8 p.m. following the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and continue every Friday at 8 p.m. through the end of December 2013.)
Musical Entertainment at the Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony:
The Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature Live Performances headlined by Darlene Love at 5 p.m. Darlene Love is best known for her work with Phil Spector in the 1960s and for the holiday favorite, “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home,” a song she has sung every year on the Late Show With David Letterman for nearly 30 years. The hour-long music program will also feature The Trainees from the Joffrey Academy of Dance, official school of The Joffrey Ballet, performing an excerpt from the holiday classic The Nutcracker. Other performances include songs from Broadway in Chicago’s Elf the Musical and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical The program and ceremony will be emceed by father-and-son journalists Lester Holt, host of Dateline NBC and weekend anchor for Today and NBC Nightly News, and Stefan Holt, Anchor, Mornings, NBC 5 Chicago.
Visits with Santa:
Santa's Workshop will be in a hut at the base of the tree. Santa is available during the following days and times to take gift requests and photos:
- Tuesday, November 26: 6:30 - 8 p.m.
- Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Regular hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 29 - December 20: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Special Christmas week hours from December 21 - 23: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Special hours on Christmas Eve, December 24: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
**Between 3:00 - 4:00 p.m., Santa takes a break and enjoys some cookies.**
Tip: Make a Staycation out of the holidays in Chicago. A couple hotel packages to keep in mind:
Holiday Memories” at Hotel Allegro that includes:
- A DVD box set of classic holiday movies to keep (hotel will even set up a DVD player in your room so you can enjoy them after your return from a day of activities).
- A family size bag of Garrett's classic Chicago-style popcorn.
- Chicago themed sodas.
- Late checkout up to 2 p.m.
- Vaild for travel any Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday night between November 1 - December 31, 2013
“Snow N Splash” Package at Hotel Palomar that includes:
- Access to the hotel's 17th floor indoor heated pool.
- Two Palomar logo beach towels (yours to keep).
- Overnight valet parking.
- Kimpton Kids adventure bags.
- Valid for stays November 22 - December 31, 2013.
“Shop Til You Drop” Package at Hotel Burnham that includes:
- One $50 American Express® gift card per stay.
- Savings booklet featuring State Street shops & retail discounts.
- Kimpton Kids bag amenity.
- Valid for stays November 1 - December 31, 2013. Package requires a minimum 2-night stay.
Don't forget: Chicago's annual Christkindlmarket opens on November 26, 2013 at 11 a.m. and will be open through December 24. Check out our Christkindlmarket 2013 Guide for more information. And be sure to read our Guide to November 2013 in Chicago for other November and holiday events happening in Chicago.