Our Favorite Upcoming Fall/Winter Events at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Holiday Lights at Lincoln Park ZooIf you live in Chicago, you have likely visited the Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s one of the largest zoos in the country, filled with exotic creatures, a farm animal petting zoo, and thrilling attractions. Though visiting a zoo can seem like an experience suited for warmer weather, the Lincoln Park Zoo has many fun events to attend during the fall and winter. Here are some of the best things to do this coming November and December. 


The most visited attraction at the Lincoln Park Zoo is the iconic ZooLights. One of the park’s longest-running events, the wintertime lights extravaganza encompasses millions of LED lights to make magical holiday displays. Though many might be familiar with the event, the zoo is instituting a couple of new features to rejuvenate its usual displays.

Starting November 19th, there will be a new light show at the park, as well as a 20-foot-tall decorated tree outside of the Pepper Wildlife Family Center. Guests can walk around the illuminated park and enjoy snacks and beverages along the way. Tickets will start at $5 for general admission, with free ZooLight days on Mondays throughout mid-November and December. 


ZooLA is the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual live auction that generates funds for the park’s animal care and general infrastructure. The Women’s Board of the zoo hosts the auction, a group that continuously raises money for the park’s conservation and educational efforts. The board was founded in 1976 and comprised of Chicago’s premier political and business leaders. 

The event always comes with delicious food, quality hors d’oeuvres, and elevated cocktails. Attendees can bid on extensive auction packages, including naming exotic animals in the zoo, yacht cruises, and lavish dinners. Premium ticket packages range from $1,000 per person to $5,000.   

ZooLA will start November 10th, serving food at 5:30 pm and the auction officially beginning at 7 pm.


While the Lincoln Park Zoo is the go-to destination for families, the zoo often provides events specifically tailored to adults. This year, the zoo is putting on the eighth annual BrewLights, presented by Louis Glunz Beer and the Auxiliary Board of the Lincoln Park Zoo. 

On December 1st, guests can enjoy BrewLights alongside the bright LED displays of ZooLights. Attendees can stroll around the park while tasting various beers and beverages. There will be photo opportunities with Santa, carousel rides, snack stands, and more. All tickets sold for BrewLights will go to the Zoo’s Auxiliary Board, which helps to keep the zoo free of admission year-round. 

Adults Night Out: Holidaze 

When November fades into Christmas, more holiday events spring up for adults to enjoy. The Lincoln Park Zoo has a second, 18+ event perfect for Christmas lovers. On December 15th, the zoo will turn into Chicago’s unconventional nightclub, with music, cocktail bars, and decorative lighting. 

Adults Night Out will have a live DJ for guests to enjoy, educational animal chats, and plenty of bars to keep people satiated and having fun. Guests can walk around the park and peruse the wild animals while sipping on delicious holiday ciders, brews, hard seltzers, and wine. A resident artist will make ice sculptures to emphasize the wintertime theme. 

Early bird tickets are already available at $15 per individual, with all the proceeds going directly to the zoo’s upkeep. When early bird tickets sell out, general admission will start at $40 per person.

There’s always something going on at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and 2022 is no exception. This November and December, there are boundless events for the whole family and parents and adults who need a child-free evening. If you live in Chicago or are visiting out of town, make sure to stop by the city’s most attended park this winter.