The Holiday Season Kicks Off with the Chicago Tree Lighting Ceremony, Christkindlmarket opening, and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festiva

November 16, 2023

OEMC encourages residents to be vigilant in crowds, at events or while shopping and 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 all citywide activities, traffic, and weather conditions throughout the holiday season 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.


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.


Chicago Police Department Safety Tips for Holiday Activities and Shopping

· Keep your purse close to your body, preferably in front of you or under a jacket or coat.

· Be aware of where your purse is when you go to restaurants or hotel lounges. Thieves prey on purses hung over the back of a chair or left on the floor.

· If you carry a wallet, keep it in your front pants pocket or coat breast pocket.

· Always be alert and walk confidently. Be mindful of those who pass you on a crowded bus or train or bump into you on a sidewalk. These individuals may be pickpockets.

· Do not leave packages or other valuables on the car seat where they can be seen. Lock them in the trunk.

· Do not carry valuables in backpacks, which can easily be accessed in a crowded elevator, on an escalator or in a checkout line.

· Keep an eye on credit cards and the paper trail they generate to avoid becoming the victim of identity theft. To reduce the risk, people should destroy extra copies of credit card receipts. It's also best not to carry personal information in a wallet or purse. This includes a social security number, an old credit card, ATM receipts or seldom used credit cards.

· Keep pertinent information, including credit card account numbers, banking information and social security numbers, in a secured but accessible place at home. That way, in the event that a credit card is lost or stolen, the information will be handy for reporting to authorities.

· Use caution when making online purchases, especially when the vendor is an individual rather than a known retailer.


CDPH – Holiday Season Health Guidelines Stay up to date with COVID-19 and flu (influenza) vaccination to protect against serious illness. If you haven't had the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines since Labor Day, or the seasonal flu vaccine available for all people ages 6 months and older, you are not up to date.

· Stay home if you are sick, even if you are vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should take a COVID-19 test immediately and stay home until you have your results. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, you should test 5 full days after your exposure. · If you have tested positive for COVID-19 (even without symptoms), follow all isolation guidance including staying home and away from others for at least 5 days, and wearing a high-quality face mask when indoors around others for 10 days. · Speak with your doctor if you are diagnosed with flu or COVID-19 and are at risk of getting very sick. Don’t delay! Treatments are available and must be started within a few days after you first develop symptoms to be effective.

· Consider masking if you have an increased risk or are frequently around those at increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as in indoor public settings or on public transportation. · Improving ventilation and filtration can help protect you from getting infected with and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Strategies include: bringing in as much outdoor air as possible—for example, opening windows; increasing air filtration by changing HVAC filters frequently and using filters that are properly fitted and provide higher filtration; using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners.

· Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.


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:

· Prevent traffic congestion: Cell Phone Lots are 100% free at both airports. Avoid circling and wait in the convenient parking lots until arriving passengers call to say they are ready for pickup. The O’Hare Cell Phone Lot is at 560 N. Bessie Coleman Dr., and the Midway Cell Phone Lot is located at West 61st Street and South Cicero Avenue.

· Kiss n’ Fly drop-offs are located at both airports. At Midway, passengers can be dropped off at West 59th Street and South Kilpatrick Avenue and take a short walk into the terminals. At O’Hare, passengers can be dropped off at the Multi-Modal Facility, 10255 W. Zemke Blvd., and board the Airport Transit System (ATS) for a short ride to all terminals.

· The CTA Blue Line offers 24/7 service to O’Hare, while the CTA Orange Line services Midway. Both offer frequent and fast service and can help passengers avoid curbside

crowds and reduce congestion. Metra’s North Central Service offers weekday service between Union Station in downtown Chicago and the O’Hare Transfer station adjacent to the airport’s Multi-Modal Facility, with access to the ATS

· Departing passengers seeking to park their vehicle at O’Hare are encouraged to check the status of parking lots before leaving for the airport at

· Construction continues on the inbound Kennedy Expressway, with two lanes blocked between the Edens Junction and Ohio Street. Travel between O’Hare and the Loop can be substantially delayed, particularly during rush hour, with travel times topping an hour and 20 minutes.

· Travelers bound for Chicago’s airports can make the most informed decisions about how to access any of the above airport services by visiting The website contains real-time information about flights, parking updates, taxicab wait times, available concession businesses, and other special alerts for the traveling public. The “My Flight” search page shows specific flight updates along with amenities located near the flight gate and other targeted travel resources.

· Note that access to airport terminals at both O’Hare and Midway is restricted at all times to ticketed passengers, those assisting passengers, badged employees, and others with legitimate airport business.


110th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Friday, November 17, Millennium Park

Chicago’s “official” Christmas tree will be lit at 6:25 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 8. 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 Washington St. at Michigan Ave. There will be performances in Millennium Park from 5 – 7 p.m. The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be followed by fireworks and additional performances. On Friday, November 17 Washington St will be closed from Michigan Avenue to Wabash from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Garland Court will be local access only from Randolph to Washington and from Madison to Washington starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 17. There is the possibility of intermittent street closures on Michigan Avenue. For additional details, visit


31st Annual Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Saturday, November 18

This weekend’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, November 18, begins with a variety of family-friendly activities from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., at Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court - 401 N. Michigan Avenue). 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 18

Closed from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.

· Oak Street from State Street to Michigan Avenue

· North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive

· Upper Wacker Drive from Michigan 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)


Millennium Park Art Market and McCormick Tribune Ice Rink Opening Weekend

The Millennium Park Art Market opens on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18 from noon-8 p.m., continuing through Sunday, November 19 from noon- 5 p.m. on the North Promenade. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens for the season on November 17 and runs through March 3, 2024. For details visit


2023 Christkindlmarket Opening, Friday, November 17, Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville

The annual Christkindlmarket opens Friday, November 17 through Sunday, 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 18–19, 25–26, December 2–3, 9–10 and 16–17. Hours are Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. –8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. –9 p.m. with special hours on holidays. The Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville at Gallagher Way, located at 3635 N. Clark Street will also open on Friday, November 17 through Sunday, 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 2022 Opens Friday, November 17, Lincoln Park Zoo

The annual ZooLights Festival at the Lincoln Park Zoo opens this weekend from 4:30–10 p.m. nightly from November 17 through January 7, 2024. For details, visit



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 or the Chicago OEMC App.

ChicagoOEMC App (video) – Winter Weather Preparedness and Weather Forecasts

For Winter safety and preparedness at your fingertips, residents are encouraged to download the Chicago OEMC App. The public safety tool provides safety information, preparedness tips, emergency alerts, weather information, DSS Snowplow Tracker and more in the palm of your hand. Users will also have access to current forecasts, radar, and public safety information as well. The app is available through the Apple App and Google Play stores or visit the website,


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


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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