Top Spots to See 2018 Holiday Light Shows in Wisconsin
Peppermint mochas. Frosty mornings. Sidewalk Santas and never-ending “Jingle Bells.” There’s no doubt about it: ‘tis the holiday season. And, while many Wisconsinites are making their lists (and checking them three or four times), there’s something to be said about taking a moment to breathe and enjoy time with family and friends—the way it’s supposed to be.
One time-honored holiday tradition many Wisconsinites enjoy is the “light show tour.” For generations, Wisconsin friends and families have packed into their favorite cars, trucks, and SUVs to appreciate the sights, the sounds, and the unique opportunity to bond over dazzling light displays.
This holiday season, buckle into your favorite ride, turn the heat to “comfy,” and get your festivities on with this list of the best light shows Wisconsin has to offer.
Location: Riverside Park, La Crosse
2018 Dates: Nov. 23–Jan. 1
Costs: Free (cash and food donations accepted)
With over 4,000,000 lights—yes, that’s six zeros—in this light show’s inventory, it’s no wonder Rotary Lights is celebrating its 24th year in 2018. Drive or walk through this park-wide show that also features a parade, live music, reindeer, an “Ugly Sweater 5k,” and more.
WPS Garden of Lights
Location: Green Bay Botanical Garden, Green Bay
2018 Dates: Nov. 23–Dec. 30
Costs: Tickets required. Costs vary.
This botanical-themed light show—a staple of northern Wisconsin—has been enchanting visitors for 22 years. Enjoy more than 300,000 twinkling light, chat with Santa, warm up by the fire, and take advantage of free parking with shuttle service.
Celebration of Lights
Location: Menominee Park, Oshkosh
2018 Dates: Nov. 23–Dec. 31
Costs: $10/car (discounts for food donations)
“Enchanting.” “Delightful.” These are some of the things people say after experiencing one of Wisconsin's largest light shows. Last year, over 150,000 vehicles came packed to witness the spectacle and its attendant attractions. Bonus: local radio stations pump out nothing but holiday classics to accompany your leisurely drive through the park.
Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights
2018 Dates: Nov. 24–Dec. 31
Costs: $20/car with 8 passengers; varies for higher-occupancy vehicles
The Isaacson family spends five weeks in October and November each year designing and building this truly one-of-a-kind light show near Milwaukee. Visitors meander down a mile-long driving path enjoying the unique sights and other traditions including Santa’s Workshop, sleigh rides, and more. NOTE: cash only at the gate.
Location: Holtwood Campground, Oconto
2018 Dates: Nov. 23–Dec. 31
Whether you’re looking for a romantic stroll or you’re enjoying time with the brood, Oconto’s Winter Wonderland delivers. Drive through the campground enjoying over 150 displays or take a stroll on the Dec. 1 “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” event (feet, strollers, child wagons, and wheelchairs only).
Lights in Lincoln Park
Location: Lincoln Park Zoo, Manitowoc
2018 Dates: Nov. 23–Dec. 29
Costs: $5/car; $40/busload
This fabulous drive-through show features animated displays, twinkling lights, and, on Fridays, free cookies and cocoa with the big man himself, Santa. For the adventurous, there’s also a two-mile walk/run through the zoo.
Head to Your Next Holiday Light Show in a Nicer, Newer™ Car, Truck, or SUV!
As temperatures dip and frost appears, it’s more important than ever to have a reliable vehicle to enjoy the season. 199ride can help you and your family experience Wisconsin’s best holiday light shows in comfort, warmth, and style. Thinking of a Nicer, Newer™ car, truck, or SUV this winter? Our knowledgeable experts can put you in a worry-free, low-maintenance vehicle that’s perfect for you and your budget.