18 Top Midwest Events in December | Midwest Living

18 Top Midwest Events in December

So many ways to celebrate! Get out and enjoy the season with our top December Midwest events.


Holiday Open House DEKALB December 1–3 At the 19-century Ellwood House Museum, take one of many tours offered throughout November or attend the Open House weekend, when volunteers showcase the home’s history and elegant holiday decor (ellwoodhouse.org).

One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago CHICAGO December 7–10 If you’re in the market for trendy and artisan goods, look to the Merchandise Mart show. Find fiber art, furniture and home wares from 600-plus makers. Or watch a fashion show with a glass of wine (oneofakindshowchicago.com). 


Lincoln in Quilts: Log Cabins, Flags and Roses INDIANAPOLIS November 4–February 19, 2018 At the Indiana State Museum, discover a unique medium for studying Abe Lincoln’s life—quilts. Some displayed quilts from the 1800s proclaim allegiance to the 16th president. One was even made by his cousin (indianamuseum.org).

Shipshewana Ice Festival 2017 SHIPSHEWANA December 28–29 See dozens of ice sculptures at this citywide festival, where professional carvers showcase masterpieces, then warm up with a chili cook-off (visitshipshewana.org). 


Aisle of Lights CORALVILLE December 10 Luminarias light up the night for this town-wide tradition. Make crafts during the day, then walk or ride a bus to see 30,000-plus glowing luminarias (coralville.org).


Artists’ Studio Christmas Open House LINDSBORG December 2 This Kansas town has become a thriving arts destination. See artists in action at local workshops and galleries and purchase their handmade creations (visitlindsborg.com).

Prairie Nutcracker HUTCHINSON December 8–10 Think Russia on the Midwest plains. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet gets infused with frontier flavors at the Historic Hutchinson Fox Theatre (prairienutcracker.com).


Old Christmas Weekend MANISTEE November 30–December 2 River Street booms to life when draft horses deliver a 30-foot Christmas tree. The turn-of-the-century-inspired celebration includes carolers and a reindeer meet-and-greet (manisteesleighbellparade.com).

Old Christmas Weekend Manistee, Michigan

Photo courtesy of Bob Stefko

Nature Art Show and Sale MIDLAND December 2 Bring the outdoors into your home through photography, pottery, sculptures and wood carvings at Chippewa Nature Center’s annual sale (chippewanaturecenter.org).


The 1968 Exhibit SAINT PAUL December 23–January 21, 2019 Take a magical mystery tour into a transformative time in America’s history at the Minnesota History Center. Immersive multimedia displays will spotlight stories of the day—the Vietnam War, the rise of feminism and psychedelic rock (the1968exhibit.org). 


Olde World Christmas Market CARTHAGE December 2 Opt for handmade this year and shop a traditional, small-town market at Grace Episcopal Church. Browse blown glass, homespun jewelry, small-batch soaps, fiber wares and more (visit-carthage.com). 


Fantasy of Trees GRAND ISLAND November 24–January 2, 2018 A veritable forest of ornate trees will stretch your tree-decorating imagination at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (stuhrmuseum.org).

North Dakota

Christmas on the Prairie WEST FARGO December 2 Check out a bygone celebration in Bonanzaville. The pioneer village hosts caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides and cookie decorating (bonanzaville.org).


Gardens Aglow COLUMBUS November 18–January 3, 2018 Vibrant blooms flourish at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Savor the not-so-wintry wonderland with bold poinsettias, jewel-tone lights and striking decor (fpconservatory.org).

FarmGirl’s Christmas Open House NORTH BLOOMFIELD December 2 It’s a holiday event with vintage roots at FarmGirl’s Artful Clutter and Such. The mercantile-meets-studio-and-farm has antiques, handmade lotions and raw honey (destinationgeauga.com).

South Dakota

Black Hills Cowboy Christmas LEAD December 9 Home on the range is even cozier thanks to performances by area acts and a dance set to twangy music, all at the Homestake Opera House (homestakeoperahouse.org).

Skates and a Movie RAPID CITY December 23 Just two days before Christmas, try a fresh take on two cherished winter activities. Watch a film on the big screen while gliding over the ice or snuggling up to a fire at the Main Street Square rink (visitrapidcity.com).


A Charlie Brown Christmas MILWAUKEE November 24–December 31 The classic  comes alive at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Join Charlie, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they discover Christmas (milwaukee365.com).

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