MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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October 2021  November 2021 December 2021
Sun
7
-
Thu
4

Driftless Film Festival

Mineral Point, WI

See independent films and meet filmmakers in the 1916 opera house of this artistic town west of Madison.

Sat
6
-
Fri
5

Witching Hour Festival

Iowa City, IA

This festival focuses on the creative processes of musicians, artists, comedians, writers, thinkers, scientists and magicians, a "jungle gym for your mind and soul."

Sun
7
-
Fri
5

Art Attack

Minneapolis, MN

In the northeast arts district, 350 artists open their studios and offer demonstrations and workshops. 

Sat
6

Veterans Day Parade

Milwaukee, WI

It's at 11 a.m., starting on Wisconsin Avenue, crossing the river and heading north on Water Street. After the parade, there's a festival at the Marcus Center, with music, entertainment and a veteran-owned market.

Wed
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.

Sat
13
-
Fri
12

Virtual Gales of November

Duluth, MN

Listen to experts discuss Lake Superior shipwrecks and maritime history.

Sat
13

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
14
-
Sat
13

Winter Art Fair Off the Square

Madison, WI

Art Fair Off the Square presents its winter edition in Monona Terrace, with 140 fine artists from around Wisconsin.

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.

 

Sun
2
-
Sat
13

Holiday Fantasy in Lights

Madison, WI

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

Sun
21
-
Thu
18

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.

Sat
1
-
Thu
18

Holiday Lights Festival

Milwaukee, WI

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

 

Sat
20
-
Fri
19

Christkindlmarkt

Kewaunee, WI

This Lake Michigan town holds its Old World Christmas market in Lakehaven Hall, with a craft market, music and German food. On Friday, there's a holiday lights parade at 6:30 p.m.

Sun
21
-
Fri
19

Christmas by the Bay

Sturgeon Bay, WI

There's a car parade Friday evening, followed by tree light, caroling and horse-drawn wagon rides. On Saturday, there's a parade at 10 a.m.

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 again.

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.

 

Wed
24
-
Fri
19

ZooLights

Chicago, IL

The annual display of 2.5 million lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo is operating at limited capacity again this year and charging $5 per person. Tickets are free on Mondays and Tuesdays. Reserve in advance.

Fri
24
-
Fri
19

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.

Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville

Chicago, IL

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

 

 

Sat
20

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival & Parade

Chicago, IL

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

Christmas Light Parade

Baraboo, WI

The 6 p.m. parade includes live reindeer, horses, marching bands and floats. See Santa at the Al Ringling Theatre afterward for photos and treats.

Holiday Parade

Green Bay, WI

The parade starts at 10 a.m. downtown, at Jefferson and Stuart streets.

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.

 

Mon
27
-
Sat
20

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, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

There's free hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn and marshmallows to roast over fire pits. Bring cash or food to donate to food shelves.

Tue
23

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.

 

Thu
25

Thanksgiving Parade

Chicago, IL

It's the 86th anniversary of the parade down State Street in the Loop. It starts at 8 a.m. at State Street and Ida B. Wells Drive and moves northward toward Randolph.

Sat
1
-
Thu
25

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
26

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, parade, wagon rides and 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.

Festival of Lights Parade

Crystal Lake, IL

In this northwest suburb of Chicago, the holiday parade starts at 7 p.m. 

 

Free Entrance Day to all Minnesota state parks

All state parks, MN

Entrance to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas is free today.

Parade of Lights

New Ulm, MN

The holiday parade downtown will be from 6 to 7 p.m.

Sat
27
-
Fri
26

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.

Sun
28
-
Fri
26

Christkindlsmarkt

Excelsior, MN

The open-air market in this Minneapolis suburb on Lake Minnetonka also includes concerts, balloon art, storytelling, reindeer, visits with the Christkind, mugs of warm Glühwein and children's lantern parades at 5 p.m. both Saturdays.

 

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.

 

German Christmas Market

Oconomowoc, WI

This downtown market features vendors in outdoor huts as well as heated tents for music, German food, gingerbread-decorating and a beer garden.

Chris Kringle Market

Ottawa, IL

This town on the Illinois River kicks off its downtown festival with a parade at 6 p.m. Nov. 26, followed by fireworks.

Along with the market booths, there will be carriage rides, holiday movies at the Roxy Theater, crafts, a children's train, Santa's House and Christmas Around the World displays where children can get their passports stamped. 

 

Sat
27

Holiday Homecoming & Electric Parade

St. Charles, IL

There will be a kickoff to the Holiday Tree Trail, a window-decorating contest and the Electric Christmas Parade.