(StatePoint) The holiday season is all about family, friends, traditions -- and fun! Here are some enjoyable experiences Illinoisans can savor and share this season, close to home, as you and yours make new memories together.

Holiday Lights Make Spirits Bright in the Aurora Area of Illinois


Discover miles of dazzling drive-through holiday light displays in the Aurora Area at Phillips Park, Mooseheart, Rich Harvest Farms, and Let It Shine Light Show -- a new attraction offering a symphony for the senses at Fox Valley Mall. Pair your visit with an enchanting new production of Cinderella at the award-winning Paramount Theatre. Completing the experience, Paramount will be fit for a royal ball, with a giant two-story Christmas tree and all the trimmings, making it the ideal backdrop for joyful memories with loved ones. Round out your getaway with shopping, dining and events in the charming downtowns of Chicagoland’s Fox River Valley, and affordable, brand-name lodging at Aurora Area hotels. Plan travel with the Aurora Area Go Guide, available in print and online at enjoyaurora.com.

Christmas Concerts & Views at Goldmoor Inn on the Mississippi


Held at the magnificent Goldmoor Inn, Galena’s Premier Country Inn, the festival of Christmastime concert is a yearly favorite not to be missed. The concerts include wine receptions and Sunday afternoon tea, and take place in the luxurious splendor of the Goldmoor, overlooking the beautiful vistas of the mighty Mississippi River. This season’s spotlighted Tallgrass Chamber concert with the Juliani Ensemble will occur on three successive days on December 17th, 18th and 19th at the Goldmoor. The concerts start at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Wine and appetizers will be served on Friday and Saturday, with elegant tea offerings on Sunday. Join for one or for all three concerts! More information is available at www.goldmoor.com or (815) 777-3925.

Plenty of Holiday Spirit and Events in The Chicago Southland


The Chicago Southland is full of holiday spirit, with endless fun and festive activities for kids of all ages! The Lansing Historical Society shines with “Festival of Lights, Christmas Around The World” (November 29-December 23). The Lotton Art Glass Annual Christmas Open House (December 3-4) will amaze, as will Crete Country Christmas (December 3-5). Adults will love the Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery’s “12 Days of Christmas Cheer & Great Craft Beer” (December 13-24). The Brookfield Zoo dazzles with its Holiday Magic (December 1-5) and Zoo Year’s Eve (December 31). You can also ring in the New Year at Orland Park’s “Children’s New Year’s Celebration” or Haunted Trails Family Amusement’s “New Year’s Eve Family Party.” For more information on these events, visit www.VisitChicagoSouthland.com/Events.

Magical Strolls at the Old Capitol Holiday Walks in Springfield


Each year, Downtown Springfield Incorporated and all of its unique, locally owned shops pull out all of the stops for the most magical time of the year -- the Old Capitol Holiday Walks! Join the celebration this year, as many new features and events have been added. Visit with Santa and enjoy sipping cider while strolling through the festively decorated shops.  Stop for dinner at one of Springfield’s downtown establishments and treat yourself to a culinary delight. Bring the whole family and enjoy a weekend you won’t soon forget! As a special gift, parking is free at the meters every single day through December 31st. Visit www.downtownspringfield.org/holiday-walks/ for more information. And check out @VisitSpringfield on social media for the latest update and happenings.

Winter Fun at White Pines Lodge in Mount Morris


Visit White Pines Lodge to celebrate the magic of the holiday season. You can pick out a freshly cut tree to take home from the Christmas Tree Forest (opens November 26). Come see Santa and the Grinch and take a horse-drawn wagon ride. Then, spend some time shopping for everyone on your gift list! Tickets for "Scrooge the Comedy" are on sale now. "Let`s Duet-the Holiday Show" is set for November 30 and December 1. All shows include a buffet lunch. Book a cabin in the woods before December 23 for a pre-Christmas getaway. Two quad cabins have connecting hallways for multi-generational reunions. On-site dining in this log cabin setting is a welcome escape from the stress of daily life. Learn more at www.visitwhitepines.com.

Seasonal Enchantment for the Family at Eaglewood Resort & Spa 


With the onset of the holiday season, the Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca is perfect for family getaways. The whole family can enjoy the resort’s throwback bowling alley, while mom can gift herself some alone time at the Eaglewood’s spa, offering massage, facial and body treatments, nails and more. There’s even a relaxation room with water feature, to calmly escape the stresses of the holiday season. Create your holiday memories at the resort’s Thanksgiving buffet and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Information is available at EaglewoodResort.com.  

Photo 1 Credit: (c) Let It Shine Light Show / shinelightshow.com

Photo 3 Credit: (c) Chicago Zoological Society

Photo 5 Credit: (c) Troy Derrer