MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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November 2017  December 2017 January 2018
Sun
24
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Fri
17

Christkindlmarket

Chicago, IL

This is the most authentic Old World Christmas market, with many German vendors who bring over toys, ornaments and sweets. There's a Children's Lantern Parade, appearances by the Christkind and entertainment most days. In Daley Plaza in the Loop.

Tue
26
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Sat
18

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Duluth, MN

Tour the retro-cool lighted decorations in Bayfront Festival Park, including a tree that dances to music, Dinosaurland and Penguin Park. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy popcorn, roasted marshmallows, cookies and hot chocolate. Everything is free, but bring one or more non-perishable food items (and/or cash) to donate.

Sun
3
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Thu
30

Christkindlmarket

Naperville, IL

The Chicago Christkindlmarket has a satellite market at the historic Naperville Settlement, with visits from the Christkind, dance performances and a children's lantern parade on Kinder Tag.

Fri
1

Festive Friday Eves

Cedarburg, WI

Five Christmas celebrations, each with a different theme, at Cedar Creek Settlement, a restored 1864 woolen mill in this historic village just north of Milwaukee. Each features live holiday music, crafts, luminaries, wine-tasting and cookies and cider.

Sinterklaas Arrives

Holland, MI

In this Dutch town, St. Nicholas arrives on his white horse, surrounded by his Zwarte Piet helpers.

Join a procession to Centennial Park, then meet Sinterklaas and have treats at the Holland Museum.

Sat
2
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Fri
1

Christmas in the Ward

Milwaukee, WI

Festivities in the rejuvenated Third Ward near downtown start with tree lighting and a performance by Trinity Irish Dancers, followed by  fireworks, carriage rides, carolers, reindeer, street entertainers and a cookie sale.

Christmas Walk, House Tour & Steeple Walk

Geneva, IL

In this northwest Illinois town, Santa Lucia arrives in a horse-drawn carriage on Friday and hands out Swedish cookies, then Santa lights the Great Tree and opens his Gingerbread House. There's shopping amid strolling carolers. A tour of five houses is Friday and Saturday, and a Steeple Walk of churches is on Sunday.

Sun
3
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Fri
1

Prelude to Christmas

Amana, IA

In this formerly communal village in eastern Iowa, visit the decorated Tannenbaum Forest, go on a cookie walk, buy at the craft bazaar, get free admission to the Amana Heritage Museum, visit reindeer and go on the Christmas Haus Tour.

A Cedarburg Christmas

Cedarburg, WI

Shop at the Holiday Art Fair, go on a horse-drawn carriage ride, visit with Santa and tour the decorated Kuhefuss House.

Dickens of a Christmas

Ripon, WI

This Victorian-themed festival includes Living Windows in downtown shops Friday evening, a Tour of Homes Saturday, wagon rides, an Enchanted Forest of decorated trees and a gingerbread-house contest.

Sat
2

Grand Meander

St. Paul, MN

On Grand Avenue, lined by small shops and restaurants, there will be carolers, soup tasting, a petting zoo, a juried art fair at Ramsey Junior High and a trolley to get from place to place.

Sinterklaas Day

Pella, IA

In this Dutch town, the man in the red suit arrives in a wooden ship, wears a bishop's miter and has a Moorish servant as helper. A 10 a.m. parade is followed by a meet-and-greet at Scholte Church.

Christkindl Festival

Black River Falls, WI

A candlelight procession and tree lighting start this traditional German market fair. There's also live reindeer, a baby camel, horse-drawn wagon rides, music and a Christkindl Night of Lights Parade.

Twinkle Party

Stillwater, MN

Festivities include cookies, hot drinks and twinkle lights given to children. There will also be a tree-lighting ceremony, free trolley rides, caroling and fireworks.

Sun
3
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Sat
2

An Old World Christmas

Eagle, WI

At this fun event at Old World Wisconsin, a complex of pioneer homesteads next to Kettle Moraine State Forest west of Milwaukee, you'll meet Father Christmas, stroll from historic houses to shops, sample ethnic foods and make old-fashioned crafts.

Reserve early for the Old World Holiday Breakfast.

Cambridge Classic Christmas

Cambridge, WI

Celebrate the season with hay rides, gingerbread-house building, a fat-tire bike ride and madrigal singers.

Julebyen

Knife River, MN

This Norwegian Christmas market on Lake Superior, between Duluth and Two Harbors, features indoor and outdoor markets, music, children's activities, skating, Norwegian food and visits from Santa and elves.

On Saturday, take the train from Duluth to Knife River and back for $10, $5 for children 3-12.

Sun
10
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Fri
8

European Christmas Market

St. Paul, MN

This Christkindlmarkt in Union Depot features choirs, dancers, hot mulled wine, holiday beers, European-inspired food and artisan goods.

 

Sat
9

Spirit of Christmas Past

Green Bay, WI

At this large complex of frontier buildings, listen to choirs, make orange pomanders, learn 19th-century dances, visit with St. Nick and go on a horse-drawn wagon ride.

Night of the Luminaria

Galena, IL

More than 5,000 candle-lit luminaria line the streets of this historic town and 30 windows become animated.

Sun
24
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Thu
21

Holidazzle

Minneapolis, MN

The fourth year of a downtown holiday village will be in Loring Park and feature free admission, with entertainment that includes ice-skating, holiday movies and band and choir concerts.

 

 

Sun
31
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Tue
26

Christkindlmarket Park at Wrigley

Chicago, IL

This new North Side satellite of the Daley Plaza Christkindlmarket features ice-skating, wreath-making, music and Santa's Workshop as well as holiday vendors.

 

 

Sun
31
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Fri
29

Candlelight ski/snowshoe/hike

Around the region

There's nothing better than skiing (or snowshoeing or hiking) through a twinkling forest or across a luminary-lined lake. There's usually a bonfire and hot chocolate to enjoy afterward.

Sun
31

Carp Fest

Prairie du Chien, WI

In this Mississippi River town, celebrate with fireworks, music, a light show, a bonfire and the Droppin' of the Carp, a large, frozen Mississippi River rough fish.

 

Cheese Drop

Plymouth, WI

For the big Cheese Drop in this eastern Wisconsin town, an 80-pound lighted wedge of cheese is dropped 100 feet at 10 p.m. There will also be free live music, cheese wedges and a s'mores bar.

Cherry Ball Drop

Traverse City, MI

In this town on Grand Traverse Bay, there's music from 9 p.m., a visit from the Coast Guard and a large illuminated cherry dropping 115 feet at midnight.

Light Up Eau Claire

Eau Claire, WI

This New Year's Eve festival downtown features live music, free movies, an ice bar with ice glasses, lantern parades at 5 and 11 p.m. and fireworks.

New Year's Eve Ball Drop

Ludington, MI

The party in this Lake Michigan beach town includes music, dancing, a beer tent, a lighted ball drop and fireworks.