Chicago is ready to flip the switch. You’ll hear oohs and aahs when streets, shopping centers and parks light up for the holidays — and you can be there when it happens. If you can’t make the kick-off ceremonies, don’t worry: these hotspots will stay brilliantly lit through the end of December. Click through our guide to the best and brightest.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

One of the nation's only free-admission zoos flips the holiday switch on luminous displays and holiday-season activities. Stroll through for holiday crafts, ice-skating, photos with Santa, festive food and drinks, carousel rides and go-'rounds on the Lionel Train Adventure. Parents, get a babysitter and hit up BrewLights, a craft beer event put together by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. on Dec. 2 or visit on Dec. 10 for Adults Night Out.

Nov. 27-Jan. 3 (Fri.-Sun. through Dec. 13; nightly Dec. 13-Jan. 3; closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day)
4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Fullerton Pkwy & Cannon Dr.
Lincoln Park
Online: lpzoo.org

Photo: © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

Where will you go to see holiday lights this year? Let us know in the Comments section!

— Lisa Snart & Kelly Aiglon