MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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October 2020  November 2020 December 2020
Sun
1
-
Fri
16

Open House Chicago

Chicago, IL

The Chicago Architecture Foundation sponsors this free, behind-the-scenes peek at more than 200 mansions, clubs, churches, hotels and theaters.

This year, all of the tours will be outdoors or online.

Sun
1

Wisconsin Dog Fair

Madison, WI

Attend demonstrations and seminars on more than 150 breeds at Alliant Energy Center.

Day of the Dead Xicago

Chicago, IL

In the National Museum of Mexican Art and Harrison Park, families can create ofrendas (altars), eat pan de muerto, listen to musical performances and get faces painted. It's 3-8 p.m. and admission is free.

Sun
8
-
Fri
6

Lake Superior Storm Festival

Grand Marais, MN

This festival features a wave dash, shipwreck stories, and children's activities.

Virtual Art Attack

Minneapolis, MN

In the northeast arts district, 350 artists open their studios and offer demonstrations and workshops. It's virtual this year.

Sun
3
-
Sat
7

Holiday Fantasy in Lights

Madison, WI

The free display in Olin Park is open from dusk to dawn.

Tue
10

Beacon lighting at Split Rock Lighthouse

Beaver Bay, MN

This event, which commemorates the 1975 sinking of the ore freighter with 29 men, is the only time the public can see the interior of the light tower when the beacon is lighted.

In 2020, the ceremony is virtual. The beacon will be lighted, and spectators casn see it from the state park.

Sat
14

Pangea

Moorhead, MN

Celebrate global cultures at the Hjemkomst Center, with folk dancing, storytelling, music and foods from seven countries. Children can pick up a passport to get stamped at booths.

Sun
15
-
Sat
14

Art & Gift Fair

Madison, WI

This event at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Overture Center features fine art, music, treats and the Rediscovered Art & Treasures Sale.

Trainfest

West Allis, WI

The nation's largest operating model railroad show includes more than 60 scenic railroads, clinics for hobbyists and many children's activities.

Virtual Art on the Prairie

Perry, IA

This free festival northwest of Des Moines showcases more than 100 Iowa artists, poets and musicians in seven venues, including the Hotel Pattee, in the downtown historic and cultural district. There will also be children's activities.

This year, it's virtual.

Fri
1
-
Thu
19

Holiday Lights Festival

Milwaukee, WI

The season-long lights festival includes more than 500,000 lights throughout downtown's parks and streets.

 

Fri
20

Christmas by the Bay

Sturgeon Bay, WI

There's a car parade at 6:15 p.m., led by Santa.

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.

Sun
22
-
Fri
20

Virtual Holiday Folk Fair International

West Allis, WI

More than 50 ethnic groups present music, dance, food and crafts from around the world. At the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center.

This year, it will be online.

Outdoor Adventure Expo

Minneapolis, MN

The expo at the Midwest Mountaineering store on the West Bank includes dozens of speakers and seminars about skiing, sled-dog racing and ice-climbing as well as camping, backpacking and other year-round adventures.

Presentations are virtual in 2020, given Nov. 6-25.

Winterer's Gathering

Grand Marais, MN

There's a tent encampment, winter skills seminars, Arctic film festival and chili feed at the North House Folk School.

It's mostly virtual in 2020.

Sat
21

Christmas Light Parade

Baraboo, WI

The parade includes live reindeer, horses, marching bands and floats. See Santa at the Al Ringling Theatre afterward for photos and treats.

Thu
31
-
Sat
21

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. 

In 2020, it's a drive-through. Admission is $10 per car, and children 10 and younger receive a free Bentleyville stocking cap and cookies from a window-side Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Sun
3
-
Sat
21

ZooLights

Chicago, IL

The annual display of 2.5 million lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo is operating at 25 percent capacity this year and charging $5 per person. Tickets are available for timed slots between 4 and 9 p.m.; on Nov. 24 and Dec. 9, 17, 21 and 29, tickets are free (available at 4 p.m. the previous Sunday).

Sun
22

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival & Parade

Chicago, IL

This year, there's no live parade, but a celebration will be televised from 6 to 7 p.m. on ABC.

Usually, there are music and family activities on Michigan Avenue, with a  lighted parade from Oak Street to Wacker Drive, followed by fireworks over the Chicago River.

Tue
24

Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade

Appleton, WI

Wisconsin's largest night-time Christmas parade starts at 7 p.m. at the corner of State Street and College Avenue.

It follows a tree-lighting ceremony in City Park from 4:30-6 p.m.

Fri
1
-
Thu
26

Lakeside Park Holiday Lights

Fond du Lac, WI

This free light show on Lake Winnebago includes animated scenes and trees that dance to 20 minutes of music played on 87.9 FM (you can listen on your car radio).

Fri
27

World-Famous Fish House Parade

Aitkin, MN

The goofier the float, the better in this north-woods town, 12 miles from the north shore of Mille Lacs. There's music, food and a craft sale before and after the 1 p.m. parade.

Holiday Stroll

Red Wing, MN

This Mississippi River town offers a window-display scavenger hunt, a drive-through Santa and sales.

Festival of Lights Parade

Crystal Lake, IL

In this northwest suburb of Chicago, the holiday parade starts at 6:30 p.m. 

This year, parade units will be parked along Williams Street, and spectators are invited to drive by.

Free Day in Michigan State Parks

All state parks, MI

Enjoy the outdoors and avoid the shopping frenzy by visiting one of Michigan's 103 state parks and recreation areas, where entry will be free. Parking at trailheads also will be free.

Parade of Lights

New Ulm, MN

The holiday parade downtown will be drive-through and from 6 to 7 p.m.

Sat
28
-
Fri
27

Holly Days

Egg Harbor, WI

This Door County village offers horse-drawn wagon rides, a children's elf hunt and mistle dough contest and caroling.

Holiday Kerstmarkt

Holland, MI

This open-air European Christmas Market at the Eighth Street Market Place includes 18 timber booths offering Dutch imports, folk art, hand-knit apparel and other gifts.

 

Sun
29
-
Fri
27

Christkindlsmarkt

Excelsior, MN

In this Minneapolis suburb on Lake Minnetonka, choirs and bands play for shoppers at a traditional German open-air Christmas market. There will also be a magic show, reindeer, visits with the Christkind and Father Christmas and mugs of warm Glühwein.

This year, it's in Excelsior Commons park on the lake, and reservations are required. 

Sat
28

Holiday Homecoming & Electric Parade

St. Charles, IL

There's Lighting of the Lights will be virtual on Friday.

On Saturday, there will be a kickoff to the Holiday Tree Trail and a window-decorating contest.