Where to Park in Chicago this Holiday Season

The holiday season in Chicago is nearly upon us! The city comes alive with twinkling lights, busy holiday shoppers, soaring Christmas trees, and much more. No matter what you have planned, we’ve got you covered.

Here are your best bets for Chicago holiday parking near some of the city’s most popular events and destinations:


Dates: 11/17-12/24

Locations: Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington Street, Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark Street, and RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora

Price: Free to attend! Food and vendors a la carte.

Details: This German Christmas Market is inspired by the original Christkindlemarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545. The market is a holiday tradition for Chicagoans and visitors alike, and it has grown to include two locations! Since 2017 you can visit the market downtown and in Wrigleyville. Weekends are jam-packed with crowds, so consider stopping by on a weeknight. You can click below to reserve your parking in advance.

Click below to reserve parking Downtown:

Click below to reserve parking in Wrigleyville:

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

Dates: 11/17/23-3/3/24

Location: McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, 1 N. Michigan Avenue

Price: Free, advance passes required. Skate rentals an additional fee. Learn more and reserve here.

Details: Now in its 22nd season, the McCormick Tribune ice rink has become a Chicago winter tradition drawing more than 100,000 skaters annually. Skating is free, but skate rentals are available for a fee, and advance tickets are required. This area is especially busy during the holidays, so be sure to reserve parking in advance!

Chicago’s 110th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Date: 11/17 at 5 p.m.

Location: Millennium Park, 47 N. Michigan Avenue

Price: Free!

This year, Chicago celebrates its 110th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree selected is the “official” Christmas tree of Chicago, and will remain up at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. until January 9! The event begins at 5 p.m., with the lighting scheduled for around 5:45 p.m., followed by fireworks and a special concert.

Magnificent Mile Holiday Lights Festival

Date: 11/18, parade begins at 5:30 p.m.

Location: N. Michigan Avenue, beginning at Oak Street and ending at the Chicago River

Price: Free!

Details: The Magnificent Mile Holiday Lights Festival is one of Chicago’s headlining events during the holiday season. You won’t want to miss it. The parade begins on North Michigan Avenue at Oak Street at 5:30 p.m. and is followed by fireworks over the Chicago River at 7 p.m.

Plan ahead by reserving your parking spot now.

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Date: 11/23 at 8 a.m.

Location: S. State Street, runs from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street.

Price: Free!

Details: The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade takes place on Thanksgiving morning from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. The parade is on State Street, beginning at Congress and moving northbound to Randolph. Organizers recommend that you arrive early to get a good spot— early spectators start to arrive between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

For a less crowded area, check out State and Adams street. And don’t forget to reserve your parking spot ahead of time!

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Dates: Select dates 11/17/23-1/7/24, 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Location: Lincoln Park Zoo

Price: Free on Mondays, all other days $7-10. Advance passes required. Learn more and reserve here.

Details: ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo are a sight to behold! This family-oriented holiday celebration features incredible displays and holiday activities throughout the zoo grounds. Tickets are required and be advised that this attraction draws huge crowds from late November through the month of December. You’ll thank yourself for reserving parking now.

One of a Kind Show: Holiday Edition 

Dates: 12/17-10

Location: Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza

Price: Free!

Details: Looking for a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience? Don’t miss the 21st annual One of a Kind Show: Holiday Edition when more than 400 artists from across North America come together to share unique and handmade gifts. Parking near the Merchandise Mart can be difficult during the busy holiday season, so be sure to reserve your parking spot in advance!

Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Dates: 12/2-27

Location: Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive

Price: Varies, learn more and purchase here.

Details: Take in the magic of Chicago’s mysterious 1893 World’s Fair through the eyes of a child in the Joffrey’s new Nutcracker—reimagined by Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. All performances take place at the Lyric Opera House at 20 N. Wacker Dr. If you already have tickets, you may want to reserve your parking in advance, too.

Airport Parking

If you’re catching a flight this holiday season, consider parking near the airport. It’s a smart way to save money on holiday travel without adding a ton of time to your trip. Parking facilities near the airport offer free shuttles to the terminal, too.

O’Hare Airport Parking

Click below to choose your preferred location, date and time.

Midway Airport Parking

Click below to choose your preferred location, date and time.

Happy parking to all, and to all a good night!