Holiday Light Shows in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is home to some spectacular lights displays over the holiday season. Many displays are drive-through, meaning you don’t have to get out of your car in the cold winter weather. Donations to local food banks and shelters are accepted at most shows which is a great way to give back and share in the true spirit of the season. Get your family together and make a road trip to one (or all) of these beautiful displays!
Located downtown along the banks of the Wisconsin River, this year La Crosse is celebrating 25 years of celebration. That being said, the Rotary Club is decorating Riverside Park with over three million lights for the public to bask in. The main goal is to collect food donations for local food pantries. Featuring much more than lights, including a holiday village, you can visit with Santa and see live reindeer or go ice skating or take a carriage ride (for a small fee) or view a live nativity scene. Admission is free but visitors are encouraged to make donations of cash or non-perishable food items to support the cause.
This walking light tour features over 750,000 twinkling lights, photo areas, and animated displays. You can find hot chocolate, pizza, and holiday cookies available for purchase in the Polar Pit Stop Concession Stand too. This showcase is open Thursday – Sunday and select Mondays in December from 4:30 until 8:30 pm. Parking on-site is limited but there is a free shuttle from Dawson Field located just minutes away. Admission is $10 for adults (13+), $5 for children (2-12), free for 2 and under.
Drive through Olin Park in Madison, WI and experience the beauty of Holiday Fantasy in Lights. Admission is free but as with the others, donations are highly encouraged at the end of the display. Your donations help support the UW Health Burn Center and other local community organizations. The lights go on at dusk and continue throughout the season until January 4th.
Open Thursday – Sunday in December from 5 – 9 pm, Garden of Lights features more than 300,000 twinkling lights with displays inspired by nature. Kids and adults can get immersed in an enchanted icicle forest, see flowers, butterflies, and walk-through a huge caterpillar. Food and drinks are available for purchase in the Winterberry Café. Walking tour tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children. You can also view the display from a horse-drawn wagon which is $17 for adults and $12 for children.
Drive through Making Spirits Bright from 5 – 9 pm from now through December 31st (closed December 24th). Located in Quarryview Center, this event features concessions, trolley rides, and a visit from the holly jolly man we call Santa. Admission is free, but your donations to the Sheboygan Food Bank are greatly appreciated.
Open from now until January 1st from 7 am – 9:30 pm, Christmas Village admission is free, but donations are well-received. Experience life-sized Victorian era Christmas scenes and local historical replicas with 60,000 lights to count.
Lighting up Milwaukee from now until Jan 1, this holiday lights festival makes downtown Milwaukee a whimsical wonderland with three decorated Parks: Cathedral Square, Pere Marquette, and Zeidler Union Square. Ride the Jingle Bus for a 40-minute narrated tour for just $2 per person. Tickets to the Holiday Lights Festival are sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 5:30 pm each night. The lights are also on every night for self-guided tours.
Open daily from now until January 4th from 5:30 – 9 pm. General admission is $10 per vehicle. Receive a $1 discount with a non-perishable, in-date food donation. Drive or walk the 1-mile route through more than half a million twinkling lights, including a bridge-tunnel and a snowfall tree display. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through this display by reservation only, call 920-303-9200 for more information.
Note from Editor: content has been updated for the 2019 holiday season.