Great Places to See Midwest Holiday Lights
Brighten the season with a walking or driving tour of Midwest holiday light displays. Here are some of our favorites.
Garden Glow, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis More than a million lights turn the garden into magical holiday scenes. Visitors can also enjoy s'mores, drinks and entertainment. November 19, 2022-January 7, 2023.
Related: How to Celebrate the Holidays in St. Louis and Saint Charles, Missouri
Country Club Plaza Lights, Kansas City The 92nd annual lighting ceremony will kick off this year on Thanksgiving. The lights will be on through January 9, 2023. It's a decorating touch that lends even more romance to the beautiful Spanish-inspired architecture in this 15-block mecca of shopping and dining.
An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City, Branson Come for 6.5 million twinkling lights, more than 30 live holiday shows on outdoor stages, shopping, dining and more. Reservations required. November 5-December 30, 2022.
Celebration of Lights, O'Fallon Fort Zumwalt Park is merry and bright with more than a million lights. Visitors can drive or stroll through the park or, on designated nights, take carriage, train and sleigh rides. Advance reservations required. Open most nights November 25-December 30, 2022.
Garden of Lights, Green Bay Botanical Gardens, Green Bay The annual light festival features over 300,000 lights plus horse-drawn carriage rides through the gardens. Wander through the icicle forest and keep an eye out for illuminated butterflies, a giant walk-through caterpillar and more. Advance ticket purchase required. November 25 through December 30, 2022.
Oshkosh Celebration of Lights, Oshkosh Cruise the mile-long drive through Menominee Park on Lake Winnebago to see more than a million lights, animated displays and a 100-foot-tall holiday tree. Santa will be in his workshop in a non-contact environment. November 25-December 31, 2022.
Christmas Carnival of Lights, Caledonia Drive through Jellystone Park Camp-Resort (20 minutes south of Milwaukee) to observe hand-crafted displays of forest creatures, elves and Santa. The mile-long route decked with more than 2 million lights ends at Santa's Workshop, where you can enjoy a warming beverage and get a picture with the big man himself. Sleigh rides and golf cart rides available as well. November 19-January 1, 2023. Closed holidays.
Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth A 12-story-tall animated Christmas tree towers over the walk-through light show (over 5 million lights) at Bayfront Festival Park. Donations of nonperishable foods and new unwrapped toys suggested. November 19–December 26, 2022.
Winter Lights, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska A three-quarter mile walking route winds through outdoor light displays, including a new 16-foot weeping willow tree and giant walk-through apple. A 25-foot Poinsettia Tree with more than 500 red, white and pink poinsettias returns for the 2022 season; the Oswald Visitor Center and Snyder Building will also be open and decorated. Select nights November 17-January 1, 2023.
Sever's Holiday Lights, Shakopee The drive-through display features 2.5 million lights synchronized to holiday tunes; afterward, enjoy on-site food vendors with treats like hot cocoa and caramel popcorn. Reserve your driving time slot well in advance. November 24-January 1, 2023.
Taylors Falls Lighting Festival, Taylors Falls Expect a grand lighting of Main Street, crafts fairs, home tours, wagon rides and more. Check the website for updates on the 2022 festival.
Christmas City Walkway of Lights, Marion "Christmas City USA" lives up to its name with an electrifying exhibit of 2.5 million lights and 120 displays, stretching more than 2 miles along the Mississinewa Riverwalk in Matter Park. November 19-December 31, 2022.
Indianapolis light displays You could spend a whole weekend exploring Indy's many holiday light displays. Gaze up at the nation's largest Christmas tree at the Circle of Lights on Monument Circle; wander the beautifully lit grounds of Newfields at Winterlights at Newfields; see the nation's oldest zoo Christmas light display at Christmas at the Zoo; and experience the city's largest synchronized light show at the drive-through Christmas Nights of Lights at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Lights, Wellfield Botanic Gardens, Elkhart Live music, boutique shopping and outdoor firepits enhance the visitor experience among light displays at the garden. Selected dates November 25-December 23, 2022.
Lightscape, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe Tickets sell out fast for this illuminated trail that features favorite installations like the Winter Cathedral as well as displays new for 2022, including a reimagined fire garden. The event returns November 11-January 8, 2023.
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle The 10th annual illumination will take guests along a one-mile paved path through a world of color, music and lights, including a display in the arboretum's new Grand Garden and a laser-light finale. Also new this year: Electric Illumination, a late-night experience for adults 18 and older. Held November 19-January 7, 2023.
ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Dazzling lights thread among animal enclosures and food stands at this event at Lincoln Park Zoo. Tickets required for entrance. Select dates November 19-January 1, 2023.
East Peoria Festival of Lights, East Peoria Among the best drive-through holiday light displays in the Midwest, this winter wonderland, now in its 38th year, enchants with huge, brilliantly colored displays that range from dinosaurs to Star Wars spaceships to horses pulling carriages. November 24-January 2, 2023.
Christmas at the Capitol, Pierre The 1910 capitol becomes a monthlong indoor forest of more than 100 trees decked by community groups. Open daily from November 23-December 26, 2022.
Winter Wonderland, Falls Park, Sioux Falls See the tumbling waters of the Big Sioux River in a whole new way at Christmas. Thousands of lights cast different colors on the falls and glisten off ice; the event also includes 270 decorated trees and 40 wreaths. November 18-January 8, 2023.
Winter Wonderland, Watertown Drive through Stokes-Thomas City Park to see 50-plus lighted displays, trees and animated scenes. Stop and visit Santa at the end. Proceeds benefit Optimist Club youth projects. Donations appreciated. Fridays–Sundays from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
City of Christmas Display of Lights, Keokuk See 150 displays illuminated by 1 million lights in Rand Park. Watch for the blooming rose and poinsettia, gingerbread house, a riverboat afloat in lights and deer leaping over the road. November 25-January 2, 2023.
Jolly Holiday Lights, Altoona Explore 2.5 miles of lighted displays as you drive along the winding roads of Adventureland Park's campgrounds, with more than 100 lighted scenes. Admission proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. November 25-January 1, 2023.
Omaha Holiday Lights Festival, Omaha A New Year's Eve Fireworks Spectacular at 7 p.m. on December 31, 2022, caps a month of holiday activities. Festive lighting at the Old Market will run November 22 through January 3; also see lighting displays in North and South Omaha.
Zoo Lights Powered by LES, Lincoln Children's Zoo, Lincoln More than 250,000 LED lights dazzle at the zoo, where guests can see a 40-foot Christmas tree, lighted animal silhouettes, a tree light canopy walk and more. A limited number of tickets are available each night; must be reserved in advance. November 25-December 23 and December 26-December 30, 2022.
PNC Festival of Lights, Cincinnati Roam through the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to admire the 3 million twinkling LED lights, ride the North Polar Express and see Santa. November 18, 2022–January 8, 2023 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill, Clifton At one of the largest water-powered gristmills, 3.5 million lights illuminate the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges. Don't miss the light-and-music show at the covered bridge. November 25–December 30, 2022.
Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village, Dearborn Experience Christmas straight from a history book, including roasted chestnuts, lantern-lit paths and carolers. Buy tickets in advance (and expect them to sell out well in advance). The event is held December weekends.
Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic, Flint More than a million lights illuminate Crossroads Village. Take an evening ride on the Huckleberry Railroad or watch Village artisans making crafts. The event also includes Drive Through Only nights. November 25-27, December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 21-23 and 28-30, 2022.
The Big, Bright Light Show, Rochester You'll need several drives through downtown Rochester to fully appreciate the more than 1 million lights that blanket the fronts of businesses. November 21-January 15, 2023.
Illuminations, Wichita More than 2 million lights bedeck 30 themed gardens at Botanica for Wichita's premier light display. Choreographed light shows, a walk-through tunnel of lights and thousands of luminaries are among the highlights. November 18-December 31, 2022.
Isle of Lights, Winfield Thousands of lights illuminate Zooland, Toyland, Reindeer Road, Oz, Candyland and other shimmering scenes in Island Park. November 20-December 30, 2022.
Spring Lake Park Holiday Lights Drive, Williston Spark your spirit on a mile-long loop drive through Spring Lake Park, brilliant with more than 60 lighted displays. November 26–December 31, 2022.
Holiday Lights at the Fairgrounds, Fargo Starting in 2022, the Red River Valley Fair Association will own and operate the holiday lights that the FM Sertoma Club used to show in Lindenwood Park. The association promises a drive-through experience with a variety of holiday-theme displays.
HollyDazzle Festival of Lights, Grand Forks Mark the calendar for November 20, 2022, and check HollyDazzle's website for updates on the parade, musical performances, fireworks and other events.