Make your next holiday tradition in the Aurora Area with winter lights, destination shopping, and festive fun for the whole family. Read on for some great ways to #EnjoyAurora this holiday season. 

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Kick off the season in Downtown Aurora

The merriest & cheeriest of seasons kicks off in the Aurora Area with Winter Lights Aurora! Join the fun as we celebrate the winter holidays with pop-up shops, food trucks, and a parade led by Santa and Mrs. Claus with live reindeer, fireworks, and a tree-lighting all in downtown Aurora, Illinois. 

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Be like Buddy: spread Christmas Cheer, singing loud for all to hear

We can't think of a better show to accompany the holiday season than the modern classic Elf: The Musical. Based on the hilarious and heartwarming 2003 Will Ferrel movie, Elf is one of those rare holiday shows that will have both kids and adults lighting up with laughter and rediscovering what it means to be family. Produced in Aurora by the award-winning Paramount Theatre, you'll encounter a memorable experience from the moment you walk through the doors: from the two-story Christmas tree in the lobby, to the thousands of sparkling lights adorning the banisters, to the carolers filling the air with song, you can't help but get into the holiday spirit. See the perfect feel-good holiday show this season that will turn even the grumpiest of grinches into a happy-go-lucky bearer of Christmas cheer, singing loud for all to hear. 

12th Anniversary Festival of Lights at Aurora's Phillips Park

Enjoy mile upon magical mile of dazzling holiday decorations

Tour the region's premiere holiday light displays at Phillips Park's Festival of Lights and Holiday Lights at Mooseheart. These annual holiday traditions combine two of the largest holiday light tours in Chicagoland and beyond, with a combined 5 miles and hundreds of festive displays available to view beginning Thanksgiving weekend. 

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Hop aboard the Holiday Express at Blackberry Farm

Take a magical ride on the Holiday Express at Blackberry Farm, the living history museum where you'll see Lake Gregory and the Candy Cane Village in all its holiday glory. 

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Take the stress out of holiday shopping: make it a getaway!

The Aurora Area is a true holiday shopping destination, with one of the largest outdoor outlet shopping malls in the Midwest at Chicago Premium Outlets, and the Christmas-themed carousel running all season long at Fox Valley Mall. Check out our updated guide to Holiday Shopping in the Aurora Area on the #EnjoyAurora blog

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Celebrate the Holidays by the Yorkville Riverfront

A weekend of holiday festivities is on tap in Yorkville, Illinois, where you can enjoy a Winter Wonderland Festival complete with Santa visits, a holiday parade, live entertainment, a tree-lighting ceremony, and fireworks. Stay the night and head back out for the annual Yorkville Chili Chase 5k run/walk on Sunday. 

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Have a Sandwich Christmas

Enjoy a Christmas celebration in Sandwich, Illinois, the antiquing capital of the region. This free community festival includes a tree lighting ceremony, Christmas village, trolley tours, carriage rides, museum tours, live entertainment, and much more. 

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One-of-a-kind gifting at art, vintage, and handmade markets

You can find unique vintage and artisan-made gifts throughout the region at events like Water Street Studios' Winterfest Art Market, Scout Flea Market, Holiday Lane Craft Show & Festival of Trees, and the Christmas Collective

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Christmas Bird Counts and an Old-Fashioned Radio Play at Fermilab

Part of the national bird census organized by the Audobon Society, the Christmas Bird Count at Fermilab has been held every year since 1976. The diverse habitats found on the 6,800 acre site make it a favorite location for birdwatchers, and this is a great opportunity to enjoy some outdoor adventure as winter sets in. An added treat: Fermilab's Art & Lecture Series hosts an old-fashioned radio play presentation of the holiday classic, It's A Wonderful Life, later on that evening. 

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Gather Around a Winter Solstice Bonfire

Get an outdoor education for kids of all ages on the Winter Solstice with a Yule Log Bonfire at Red Oak Nature Center. Learn how ancient cultures celebrated the shortest day of the year, make some New Year's wishes, and enjoy winter snacks around a cozy family fire. 

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U-Cut Christmas Trees

Enjoy a winter tradition as you pick out a family tree for the holidays at original Aurora Area destinations like Christmas at Abbey Farms!

Find more fun on our Events page! 

You can plan a trip to the Aurora Area around festive holiday activities throughout the region when you visit our Events page. Find great getaway deals and packages at Aurora Area hotels to pair with holiday shopping, theatre events, or some "just because" quality time with friends and family. 

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