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Light up the Lake Christmas lights display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Take a look at the Light Up the Lake indoor display at Navy Pier

You can take in thousands of bulbs, go ice skating and grab seasonal drinks inside the cavernous Festival Hall.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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For years, Navy Pier has hosted the annual Winter Wonderfest inside its 170,000-square-foot Festival Hall, which brought some holiday spirit (and lights, and rides) to the lakefront attractions. This year, Festival Hall is hosting a reconfigured holiday season event called Light Up the Lake, which—true to its name—is centered around a dazzling display of light sculptures, including a towering reindeer, rubber duckies and a picture-perfect light tunnel. Yes, there's no shortage of Christmas light displays in Chicago, but this one is located indoors!

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In addition to the shimmering lights, attendees can take a spin on a regulation-size Apline skating rink—skates are even included in the price of admission (pending size availability) and you can also bring your own. There's also an Alpine Pub offering dishes like latkes and brisket sandwiches that can be washed down with beer and spiked hot chocolate. You might even be able to snap a photo with Santa—he'll be visiting Light Up the Lake during select hours through Christmas Eve.

Each ticket for Light Up the Lake (starting at $21 for adults, $19 for kids ages 3–12) includes a ride on Navy Pier's Centennial Wheel (remember, the gondolas are heated, so you won't freeze during your ride) that you can use anytime before March 31. While you're there, you can also check out the “Our Common Home” art installation, which places gigantic projections on the sides of structures throughout Navy Pier that visualize the impacts of climate change.

Check out some photos from inside Light Up the Lake, which is on display at Navy Pier through January 2. Tickets are on sale now via the Navy Pier website.

Light up the Lake Christmas lights display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas lights display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas lights display at Navy Pier, ice rink
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas lights display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Light up the Lake Christmas light display at Navy Pier
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

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