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Best Holiday Towns Near Chicago To Visit

Nov 15th, 2023

This time of year can be so magical, charming and filled with holiday spirit. Visiting one of these cozy holiday towns is a great way to enjoy the holiday season and spend some time making memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for a short day trip or a weekend away, any of these towns are sure to get you in the holiday mood.

5 Christmas Towns Near Chicago

Elkhart Lake, WI

Enjoy one of the best Christmas Markets during the first ten days of December as they celebrate their 25th year of tradition. The Old World Christmas Market is modeled after the centuries old Christkindlesmarkt of Nüremberg in Germany. This original Christmas market dates back to the early 1600s and carries a rich tradition. 

Elkhart Lake has completely recreated the market for the entire community to enjoy. The heated outdoor market offers handmade jewelry, Czech blown-glass ornaments, Russian nesting dolls, stained glass art and so much more! During your visit you can see Santa and his reindeer, decorate some cookies, take a horse-drawn wagon ride and enjoy all the Christmas cheer the market has to offer.

Naperville, IL

Just a short drive out of Chicago you can find plenty of Christmas excitement without any of the Chicago crowds. Naper Settlement is hosting their Holly Jolly Days which is packed with fun for the whole family. You can grab a family photo at the Victorian Christmas photo shop, make some holiday crafts and listen to Christmas stories in the school house. Learn how reindeer shoes are made as a blacksmith tells a story and gives a demonstration at the forge.

After you’ve had your fun at Holly Jolly days, grab some dinner at a local restaurant and then head over to Reindeer Road. This beautifully designed drive-thru lights display has free hot cocoa and candy canes, mailbox drop for letters to Santa, Christmas music and photo opportunities at Santa’s Selfie Shop. The lights show is open through rain and snow, so don’t worry about the weather stopping the fun!  

Lake Geneva, WI

Welcome to a winter wonderland full of outdoor activities including skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, and ice skating. If snow sports aren’t your thing then check out the local theater’s offering of Scrooge the Musical or one of the other local events such as Milk and Cookies with Santa or learning how to make your own aspen wreath. See the magic of Christmas on a Santa Cruise where kids can give their wish list directly to Santa and hear their name read off of his “nice list.” The holiday lights and decorations on this 40-minute heated ride make it well worth the visit!

Frankenmuth, MI

Frankenmuth, also known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, truly lights up in every sense possible for the holidays. 

Home to the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, you are sure to find every Christmas ornament, décor or collectible you could dream of. Visit Santa’s reindeer at Grandpa Tiny’s Farm where you can meet Santa and take home an ornament to commemorate your visit. The self-guided driving light tour is sure to be a highlight as you make your way through town and see all the beautiful holiday displays.

The town of Frankenmuth goes all out during the holiday season and you will want to check out the complete holiday guide so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Santa Claus, IN

Filled with holiday spirit year-round, this small town truly goes big for the holiday season. The annual Santa Claus Christmas Parade is a cherished tradition and you don’t want to miss it! Choose from a wide selection of handmade gifts and artisan items at the craft fair to help round out your Christmas shopping. Or complete your gift shopping at the one and only Santa Claus Christmas Store that’s filled with tens of thousands of items to choose from — the friendly elves will help you find that perfect gift you’ve been looking for. After the sun goes down, it’s time to drive through the Land of Lights and enjoy the story of Rudolph told by 1.2 miles of beautiful LED lights.

It's tough to say which holiday town is our favorite, so why not make it a tradition to try a new town each holiday season and find out for yourself! What is your favorite town full of holiday cheer near our luxury Chicago apartments that you think should be added to this list?

Happy holidays!

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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/Couleur

Author of Article

Amy has lived most of her life in Washington state and enjoys baking and adventuring with her dog, Ki. Her favorite thing about the Pacific Northwest is the four seasons and the access to mountains and other outdoor activities.

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