The Holiday Season Kicks Off this Weekend with the Chicago Tree Lighting Ceremony, Chriskindlmarket opening, Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and more

November 18, 2021

OEMC encourages residents to report suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1

The Holiday season kicks-off in Chicago on Friday and continues through the weekend with the annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting, Christkindlmarket opening, Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and more. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is reminding everyone to be safe and vigilant especially in crowds and report suspicious activity to 9-1-1. OEMC will monitor activities, traffic, and weather conditions throughout the weekend.  


108th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Friday, November 19, Millennium Park 

Chicago’s “official” Christmas tree will be lit at 6:30 p.m. during a ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. in Millennium Park. The tree stands near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. and will remain through January 9. The Christmas Tree lighting ceremony has been expanded to provide more space and opportunities for guests to participate, including multiple viewing locations with screens and concessions across the Millennium Park and a main stage on the Great Lawn. The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be followed by fireworks and a special concert from 6:35–7:45 p.m. headlined by singer-songwriter Brian McKnight. There is the possibility for intermittent street closures on Michigan Ave and Washington Street. Please wear a mask indoors and whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. Learn more about the City’s response to COVID-19 and its vaccination efforts at For additional details, visit


30th Annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Friday November 19-Saturday November 20 

This weekend’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins with a preview on Friday, November 19 featuring a tree-lighting ceremony in The Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza (410 N Michigan Avenue) at 4 p.m., along with musical entertainment.  The festival continues Saturday, November 20, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., at Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court - 401 N. Michigan Avenue) with a variety of family-friendly activities. The parade will step off at 5:30 p.m. at N. Michigan Avenue and Oak Street and head south on N. Michigan to Wacker Drive. For complete details, visit 


Street Closures for Saturday, November 20 


Closed from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

  • Oak Street from State Street to Michigan Avenue 
  • North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Randolph Street 
  • Upper Wacker Drive from Wabash Avenue to east turnaround 


Closed from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

  • Upper Columbus Drive from Wacker Drive to Randolph Street 


Closed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

  • Clark Street (east curb lane only from Oak Street to Delaware Street) 
  • Delaware Street from Dearborn Street to Clark Street (north curb lane only 
  • Oak Street from Clark Street to State Street 
  • Dearborn Street from Delaware Street to Maple Street 
  • Walton Street from State Street to Clark Street 


Closed from 3:30 to 9 p.m.  

  • Upper Columbus Drive (the curb lanes from Wacker Drive to Randolph Street) 
  • Randolph Street (curb lanes from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive) 
  • Intermittent other closures based on traffic conditions 


COVID Protocols During Lights Festival: Guests attending any of the Lights Festival events will be asked to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, throughout the Lights Festival footprint, including at the Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza, Lights Festival Lane, and along the parade route. 


Millennium Park Art Market and McCormick Tribune Ice Rink Opening Weekend 

The Millennium Park Art Market opens on Friday, November 19 continuing through Sunday, November 21 on the North Promenade. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens for the season on November 19 and runs through March 6, 2022. For details visit


2020 Christkindlmarket Opening, Friday, November 19, Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville 

The annual Christkindlmarket opens Friday through Friday, December 24 on Daley Plaza located at 50 West Washington Street. NOTE: For weekend programming, there will be a full closure of W. Washington Street, including the CTA bus lane, between Clark Street and Dearborn Street starting at 5 a.m. each Saturday morning and ending at 11 p.m. Sunday night on the following dates: November 20–21, 27–28, December 4–5, 11–12 and 18–19. Hours are Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. –8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. –10 p.m. with special hours on holidays. The Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville at Gallagher Way, located at 3635 N. Clark Street will also open on November 19 through Friday, December 31. Hours are Mondays-Thursdays, 3 p.m.–9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. –10 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. –7 p.m. with special hours on holidays. For complete details, visit


Lincoln Park ZooLights Festival 2021 Opening, Friday, November 19, Lincoln Park Zoo 

The annual ZooLights Festival at the Lincoln Park Zoo opens this weekend from 4–10 p.m. nightly. Dates include: Nov. 19–24, 26–30, Dec. 1, 3–15, 17–23, 26–31, and Jan. 1–2. For details, visit LincolnParkZooLightsFestival2021 | Skydeck (


Northwestern Wildcats v. Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, November 20, Wrigley Field 

Northwestern will take on Purdue at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 20 at Wrigley Field, gates open at 9 a.m. The Christkindlmarket on Gallagher Way will have special hours from 4 p.m. 

–11 p.m. Public Transportation is strongly encouraged. For additional details on the Wildcats Classic, visit Wildcats Classic at Wrigley Field | Chicago Cubs ( 


Chicago Bears v. Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, November 21, Soldier Field 

The Bears play Sunday, with kick off at 12 p.m. at Soldier Field.  Parking lots open at 8 a.m. and gates open at 10 a.m. Parking passes must be displayed and visible to traffic aides and fans should follow the suggested routes to each lot.  To ensure the safety of all guests, Soldier Field has enhanced security using walk-through metal detectors at all gates. All carry-in items will be searched. Everyone age two or older, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks in public indoor settings; however, the requirement allows masks to be removed while patrons are actively eating or drinking.  Masking remains optional in outdoor settings, though masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings. For complete details, visit 


The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) will monitor all citywide events from the Operations Center and coordinate public safety resources with the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and City of Chicago infrastructure departments.  


Traffic Control Aides (TCAs) will be on hand at events citywide to direct flow and impacts from heavy traffic. Public transportation is encouraged. For more information on CTA services and reroutes, visit or call 312-836-7000 from any area code/1-888-YOUR-I CTA. 


Holiday travel also begins this weekend. The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is preparing to welcome large numbers of travelers at both O’Hare and Midway International Airports throughout the holiday week, and there is no greater priority than providing a safe, secure and reassuring environment for airport travelers and employees. For everyone planning to travel through the airports, please keep in mind the following travel tips: 

  • Wear your mask–In accordance with federal law, masks must be worn at all times by everyone over the age of two in the airport and on airplanes. 
  • Arrive early–With added security measures and resurgent travel demand, you may encounter longer lines at airline check-in, TSA screening and concessions. 
  • Prevent traffic congestion–Avoid the busy curb dropoff and consider arriving at O'Hare on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line or getting dropped off at the Kiss 'n' Fly area at the Multi-Modal Facility, now served by the Airport Transit System (ATS) to all terminals. Midway is accessible via the CTA Orange Line or the Kiss 'n' Fly area at 59th St and Kilpatrick Ave. For those picking up travelers, avoid circling and utilize the cell phone lots available at each airport (560 N. Bessie Coleman at O'Hare and 61st St/Cicero Ave) to wait for your arrivals to call you. 
  • Visit– The website contains real-time information about flights, parking updates, taxicab wait times, available concession businesses and other special alerts for the traveling public. 


Mask Guidance Update: Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the City of Chicago must wear a face covering in indoor public spaces. Masking remains optional in outdoor settings where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower. However, masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings.  For details visit 


Report Suspicious Activity:  If you See Something Say Something. The city reminds the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity. If you notice something suspicious, notify onsite security or call 9-1-1. If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. 


Smart911 Home Surveillance Camera Option 

A new Smart911 feature is available to assist the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in better serving Chicago communities. Residents with an existing or new Smart911 safety profile can volunteer to share with police recorded home surveillance camara footage should a crime occur nearby or outside their residence. By simply opting in on an existing Smart911 profile or by creating a new profile at, residents can agree to share home surveillance camera footage by allowing the CPD to contact them in the event of a crime. All information is private. 



OEMC advises Chicagoans to be aware of weather conditions and to follow instructions and heed all warnings from public safety officials. We encourage residents to check the weather before heading out. For the most up-to-date weather information, please tune into local media or download a weather app.   


OEMC will issue any alerts and notifications needed to keep residents and attendees up to date on weather conditions and emergencies.  Sign up for NotifyChicago alerts at OEMC also issues TEXT alerts for lakefront notices, issues affecting businesses or COVID-19 updates: 


  • CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5 
  • CHIBIZ: For alerts affecting businesses, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3 
  • COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3 


For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit the OEMC website at Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook (@coemc), Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911).  


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