The holidays are almost here–the most magical time of the year! Make this year’s holiday season even more special and plan an unforgettable getaway to Wisconsin. Whether you love city life, small town charm, or wilderness adventure, Wisconsin is the dream holiday destination. Come along as we make our way around the state, exploring every holiday experience you love.
First, we’re hitting the city, where the holiday spirit is off the charts! With exciting and jolly attractions, Wisconsin’s bright and beaming cities intrigue visitors from all over.
Making spirits bright, Wisconsin has some of the most epic light displays in the entire Midwest! In Milwaukee, stroll down the famous Candy Cane Lane, where over 300 homes shine bright in the brisk night sky. But Candy Cane Lane makes more than just spirits bright, they make miracles happen. Working together with the MACC Fund since 1984, all donations go to fighting against childhood cancer and blood diseases. Candy Cane Lane puts hope in the holidays.
While Milwaukee puts the hope in the holidays, Madison puts the magic in the air with another incredible light show–Holiday Fantasy in Lights! The best part? It’s free to visit because of the generosity of local sponsors and volunteers. Watch in awe and wonder as the twinkling lights bedazzle Olin Park. Mark your calendars; the light show begins on November 11th!
Another holiday happening in the big Wisconsin cities are the fun and festive parades! On the outskirts of Milwaukee, the West Allis Christmas Parade puts on quite an impressive showcase. It’s not just any ordinary parade–it’s a night-time celebration! With live bands and performers, unique floats and vehicles, and of course, Santa Claus and his elves, this holiday tradition is one you won’t want to pass up. It all happens on December 2nd at 4:45 pm.
From West Allis to Lake Geneva we go to explore their 48th and counting annual tradition–the Electric Christmas Parade! Celebrating the joy of the holidays, Lake Geneva gathers together downtown to watch as the streets are illuminated with delightful floats and spirited decorations. Can feel the radiant joy already? Just wait until it’s showtime: December 2nd at 5:00 pm.
To see more amazing holiday light shows in Wisconsin, click here!
Second, we’re checking out Wisconsin’s small town charms that you, your family, and friends are going to love during this merry season!
Bring your whole crew and embark on an enchanting sleigh ride in one of Wisconsin’s most quaint and idyllic communities. In Brantwood, Wisconsin, explore Palmquist Farm, a charming gem that holds country-style sleigh rides. Snuggle in with warm blankets as you ride through the beautiful wooded landscape of Northern Wisconsin. Afterwards, snag a hot chocolate or apple cider. It’s truly the icing on top of a perfect day.
Another special sleigh ride awaits in the small, yet charming town of Bryant, Wisconsin at Brandt’s Sleigh & Wagon Rides. Entirely family owned and operated, they strive to share their family traditions with yours through this extraordinary experience. From December 17th through February 26th, hop aboard a sleigh for a magical and memorable journey like never before.
While the horse drawn carriages certainly bring the holiday charm, the reindeer bring the holiday cheer! Tucked away in Western Wisconsin, Connorsville is home to a mystical spot, where the reindeer run–none other than Reindeer Acres. There are not only once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities, but also educational opportunities to learn about and interact with these incredible creatures.
We’re off and trotting to Hartford, a quaint community in Southern Wisconsin, where more whimsical reindeer live at Reindeer Games and welcome visitors from all over! Stop by and meet the whole herd. You may even be able to see them during one of their visits across the state, which only adds to the special spark of the holiday season.
Learn more secret, small town hotspots to visit this winter with one click here!
Third and finally, it’s time for us to embrace the cold weather and adventure into the vast Wisconsin wilderness! Explore Wisconsin’s spectacular scenery while enjoying your favorite winter activity.
Known for its abundant wilderness and waterways, the Northwoods is a notorious escape for many during the holidays. If you’re a snowmobile enthusiast, Eagle River just may be the perfect place for you. It happens to be the snowmobile capital of the world. With over 500 miles of pristine, groomed trails, you can’t beat it. Get a glimpse of the action-packed adventure you can experience here–only in Eagle River.
Only a half and hour drive from Eagle River lies St. Germain, another Northwoods oasis for this year’s holiday season. St. Germain is scattered with more trails ideal for silent sports, including snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, and ice fishing, if you’re feeling lucky! Preview a beautiful winter day in St. Germain here. You’ll be falling in love in no time.
Now, to the gateway of the Northwoods…Tomahawk, Wisconsin! Tomahawk has it all with a little taste of everything. Ride along hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails, which lead to warm and inviting restaurants in the area. Hit the ice for competitive or leisure ice fishing. Or, if you’re really feeling brave, take an icy plunge in Lake Mohawksin! Watch here as the ultimate winter adventure unfolds.
Can’t get enough of the Northwoods? There are more wilderness escapes to discover. Start exploring here.
Mix up the holidays this year and plan an exciting trip to Wisconsin. From the city and small towns to vast wilderness, there’s a little taste of everything for everyone. Your dream holiday experience awaits.
Hailey Rose: Writer for Discover Mediaworks. A born & bred Wisconsinite with a love for fishing, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors.