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Most things this year have been a little different due to the pandemic. Holiday activities and light festivals in the city of Chicago are no exception. The good news, though, is that while they may be different this year so people can stay safe, many traditional Chicago holiday activities will still take place.

Christmas Tree At Millennium Park

We are happy to learn that the City of Chicago will raise a 45-foot Christmas tree at Millennium Park on Thursday, November 19. While there won’t be an in-person tree lighting ceremony this year due to COVID-19 concerns, a virtual tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m. that day.

That ceremony can be seen on the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events YouTube channel.

The tree will remain standing until January 7, 2021.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

While there won’t be a live parade this year, there will still be holiday lights along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

What’s more, there will be a special hour-long TV broadcast of the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. ABC Channel 7’s Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky will serve as hosts of the holiday special, which will include a number of musical performances. The event will conclude with the illumination of lights in the trees that line the Magnificent Mile.

The event will take place Sunday, November 22, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and will air on ABC 7. It will also be streamed on the ABC 7 Chicago News app and available on-demand at ABC 7’s website.

Ice Skating

If you like ice skating, we have good news for you. Although city officials announced the Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink won’t be open this winter season, Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon will be open to the public beginning Friday, November 20.

It does need to be noted that while there will be skating, some practices will be different. Due to COVID-19 concerns, reservations will be required to ice skate, whether you bring your own skates or rent them. The upside to required reservations is that the park’s limited capacity means there won’t be lines or crowds, so people can skate safely while maintaining social distance. Masks will also be required in the park at all times.

Information about reservations for November 20 to November 29 may be found here. Information about reservations for November 30 to December 6 may be found here. More dates will be released on November 25.

ZooLights At Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo

Finally, there is good news for zoo lovers. ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo will take place this year, although it too will be a little different. ZooLights features hundreds of luminous displays and seasonal activities under the glow of millions of illuminated lights. This year, to help ensure everyone’s safety, the event will follow Chicago and the state of Illinois guidelines.

Here’s what that means: All zoo guests over the age of two must wear a face covering unless medically unable. Additionally, all guests must practice social distancing at all times -- keeping 6 feet between each party. The zoo will also operate with reduced admission so guests can socially distance properly.

We suggest you check here before planning your trip to monitor ticket availability because tickets are expected to sell out quickly.

As always, conditions are changing, so check to be sure events are still happening before leaving home.

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