There are few things that can get you and your family in the Christmas spirit faster than piling up in the car and looking at Christmas lights—preferably while you sip hot cocoa! Whether you choose to walk or drive, these are some of our favorite holiday light displays.

Oshkosh Celebration of Lights

This 1.2-mile display brings plenty of sparkle to Menominee Park, along with bonus events the whole family will love. From a nighttime 5K race to carriage rides to visits with Santa, this celebration has it all.

LaCrosse Rotary Lights

Riverside Park comes alive with an astounding three million lights at this free event. There’s even a parade, breakfast with Santa, choral singers and hayrides that add to the festive atmosphere.

Madison’s Zoo Lights

Henry Vilas Zoo is known for their penguins and red pandas—and their yearly Zoo Lights event. Every corner of the zoo is lit up with 800,000 holiday lights, including animal-shaped displays depicting the zoo’s beloved residents.

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

Downtown Milwaukee transforms into a magical wonderland with its Holiday Lights Festival that’s kicked off with a ceremony complete with fireworks, live music, and of course, Santa.

Chippewa Falls Christmas Village

Head north to Irvine Park for some true Christmas ambiance. Going strong since 1987, this Christmas village showcases 60,000 lights and adds new displays every year.

Pewaukee’s Country Christmas

The Ingleside Hotel hosts Wisconsin’s largest outdoor drive-through lights display, and it doesn’t disappoint. Drive the mile-long trail, and at the end, walk over to the Streets of Bethlehem with its life-sized nativity and the Christmas Village.

Green Bay’s Garden of Lights

Inspired by flowers and nature, enjoy 300,000 shimmering lights at the Green Bay Botanical Garden. Don’t miss the 60-foot walk-through caterpillar and icicle forest.

Caledonia’s Christmas Carnival of Lights

Although Jellystone Park is usually home to summertime fun, during Christmas, it’s a treat for the eyes with its two million holiday lights. Drive through a sparkling tunnel, take pictures with Santa and browse the gift shop.

Photo credit: Jim Koepnick


Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer from Madison, Wisconsin, contributing to national and regional outlets like Midwest Living, Rodale’s Organic Life, and BRAVA. You can learn more about her at

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