Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic – Hours, Events, and Hotels

One of Chicagoland’s most beloved winter attractions is Holiday Magic at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Families have been visiting the zoo to enjoy the light displays for 41 years. Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic is Chicago’s largest and longest-running light festival.

Many Chicagoland families have made visiting Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic a family tradition.

One of the greatest aspects of Holiday Magic is that the next exhibit is never too far away so there’s always an opportunity to warm up from the cold. Additionally, Holiday magic is free for Brookfield Zoo Members.

Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic is a time-honored Chicagoland Christmas tradition.


November 24, 25, 26, 30
December 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, 26-31

Hours: 3 p.m to 9 p.m.

For Holiday Magic 2023, reservations are not necessary for North Gate Entry but are required for South Gate Entry. Furthermore, reservations can be made online.

Light displays make for great photo opportunities.

2023 Holiday Magic Events

Visitors can enjoy the various winter-themed events and light displays. It is recommended to download the park events map before your visit. For 2023, these include:

  • 600-foot Tunnel of Lights
  • 3D Gingerbread House
  • 20-foot orb
  • Dance Party at Polar Plaza
  • Ice Carving Demonstrations
  • Those Funny Little People Live Show
  • Larger Than Life Animal Light Displays

Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic is a great event for families. Share the magic with your loved ones for the holidays this year—just be sure to wear some matching holiday hats or light-up Christmas-themed beanies for group photos.

Visiting From Out of Town?

The closest cities to Brookfield Zoo include Oak Brook, Bridgeview, Countryside, Westchester, and Countryside. Oak Brook is the closest town to the Brookfield Zoo with the best family-friendly options for lodging.

Best for Families: Hyatt House Oak Brook (indoor pool, pet friendly, free breakfast)
Luxury: The Drake Oak Brook
Budget: Sleep Inn Oak Brook Terrace

The indoor pool at the Hyatt House Oak Brook is a great place to relax after a visit to the zoo.

If you’re visiting from out of town, consider making a reservation at one of the hotels below. Also, if you’re heading to downtown Chicago do not forget to purchase a Chicago CityPASS—it will save you a ton of money on attractions and provides perks like skip-the-line fast passes.

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