Growing up in Indiana, it was a tradition for our family to drive up every year and stroll down Michigan Avenue in Chicago to marvel at the Christmas displays in the store windows.

The magnificent lights and sounds during the holiday season is truly special and this month some of the best Christmas experiences in illinois will begin spreading cheer.

Here are some of my favorite holiday events and experiences that will happen in November:

The Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade - November 18

Planned for Saturday, November 18 at Millenium Park, the tree lighting ceremony will begin at 5pm with tree lighting going off at 6pm. According to the City of Chicago website, the tree is a "55-foot Colorado Blue Spruce, donated by the Glisovic family of Morton Grove."

Stroll on State in Rockford - November 26

This free event is the offical kickoff to the Christmas season in the Screw City with a holiday parade, firewoks, tree lighting, and a visit from Santa. Musical performances are also planned for the 10th annual Stroll on State.

Christkindlmarket in Chicago - Opens November 18

Self-described as the "most authentic traditional holiday market of its kind outside of Europe," the shops will be open in Daley Plaza from November 18 to December 24.

Arts and Crafts Holiday Spectacular in Rockford

More than 25,000 square feet of unique gifts from talented crafters will be available this Saturday and Sunday (November 12, 13) at the Indoor Sports Center.

Winterland at Gallagher Way - Opening November 18

Wrigleyville will get some special holiday treatment with new activites happening inside of Wrigley Field this year during the Winterland at Gallagher Way festivities. There are many free activities for kids and families, plus tickets available to purchase for rides that will be inside the friendly confines through January 8, 2023.

Festival of Lights at Sinnisippi Park in Rockford

Dozens of holiday light displays will go up in Sinnisisippi Park on November 25 and admission is free (donations accepted). Enjoy this holiday tradition will family and friends through December 31.

Ride the Holiday Train on the Loop

The Holiday Train and Bus are back for 2022 in Chicago. The CTA will be announcing dates soon to experience this special Christmas journey through the Windy City during the Holidays.

Ice Skating at Millenium Park

Opening on November 18, you can bring your own ice skates and there's no fee to skate at Millenium Park. You will need to reserve you free ticket, and if you want to rent skates, those are available too for a cost. CLICK HERE to get more info.

Watch Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase Live

Planned for November 24 at the Coronado Theater in Rockford, Chevy Chase will be on-stage to share "behind the scenes stories and answering questions in person following the screening of the film." CLICK HERE to find out about tickets.

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