Once upon a time, people in Iowa's Amana Colonies lived simply. Now, people go there to indulge.
These tidy, once-communal villages in east-central Iowa, near Cedar Rapids, are famous for their family-style restaurants, wineries, brewery and shops. During the holiday season, tourists descend on the villages to buy gifts quilts, pottery, chocolates.
Events to catch: Dec. 3-5, Prelude to Christmas.
During the holidays, Milwaukee's downtown lights up like a child's face on Christmas morning.
Details: For more, see Milwaukee at Christmas.
Got the early-winter blahs? Try a quick getaway to the Wisconsin Dells. You'll get the best deals in November and December, when most people are focused on the holidays.
What to do indoors: Play at indoor water parks. Relax at a spa. Shop at Tanger Outlet Center.
There's always excitement in the air on and around Madison's State Street, but especially in November, when the holidays are on the horizon.
Where to shop: State Street has great museum gift shops, and Monroe Street,
which heads south from Camp Randall stadium, also has fun shops and
places to eat.
Nightlife: See a concert, play, ballet or touring show at the Overture Center on State Street.
Details: For more, see Shopping in Madison.
In Chicago, Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year after Christmas.
Navy Pier puts up pumpkin lights. There's a big parade. You can tour sites haunted by ghosts, gangsters and serial killers. And everybody dresses up.
Details: For more, see Halloween in Chicago.