Christmas Lights and Holiday Shows
You wanna know one of the best things about living or visiting a state like Wisconsin this time of year? You get that authentic wintry experience…no palm trees with Christmas lights here! Picture millions of glittering lights at dozens of dazzling shows with historic homes, festive downtowns and shimmering pines as the backdrop. Wisconsin is one of the best places to catch a stunning holiday lights show and here are just a handful of the state’s brightest destinations around the holidays:
Daily through December 31
Insider Tip: Rotary’s display of more than three million sparkling lights along the Mississippi River began in 1995 as a cooperative effort between the La Crosse area’s Rotary clubs. The festivities now include live reindeer, Rotary Lights Parade, an Ugly Sweater 5k Run and more!
Rotary Botanical Gardens
Open weekends late November - December and select weekdays over the holidays.
Insider Tip: The festive garden paths come to life with more than a 400,000 lights, 100 adorned trees, more than 2,500 luminaries and more! Live music, selfie stops and indoor displays too. Buy your tickets online before you visit to save time.
Green Bay Botanical Garden
Select evenings through December 30
Cost: Rate varies
Insider Tip: Walk the trail or take a horse-drawn wagon ride. After you enjoy the light tour, snap a pic with Santa and then get a little holiday gift shopping in at the WPS Trellis Gift Shop at the Emil & Gail Fischer Visitor Center.
Insider Tip: Love the lights but loathe the cold? Enjoy this festive lights show choreographed to holiday music from the comfort of your own vehicle when you drive this 1.1 mile route.
Insider Tip: Walk through downtown parks glowing with holiday lights or attend one of the many scheduled activities throughout the festival. Jump on the Jingle Bus for a 40-minute tour with narration by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors, who highlight downtown landmarks and the most decorated scenes. (The best part: rides are just $1 per person!)
Daily through December 31
Insider Tip: This illuminated holiday wonder attracts more than 10,000 vehicles each season! Don’t miss the 100-foot tree, sculptured scenes and the animated light displays.
Our Runners Up:
Where’s your favorite holiday lights show? Join in on the holiday spirit below!
Mariah Haberman is one of the hosts of Discover Wisconsin, the nation’s longest-running travel TV show. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Tweet her: @MariahHaberman