MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Holiday festivals 2021

November

  • (Nov. 19 – Jan 1)Holiday Lights Festival

    Milwaukee, WI

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

     


  • (Nov. 21 – Jan 3)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).


  • (Nov. 13 – Jan 2)Holiday Fantasy in Lights

    Madison, WI

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


  • (Nov. 19 – 21)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.


  • (Nov. 20 – Dec 27)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.


  • (Nov. 25 – Jan 1)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).


  • (Nov. 26 – 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.


December

  • (Dec. 3 – 4)Christmas Walk and House Tour

    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.


  • (Dec. 3 – 5)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.