Holiday Lights Wisconsin – Check Out Our Picks!

December is a magical time in Wisconsin. With holiday lights Wisconsin events happening all over the state, so many cities and parks are lit up like a Christmas tree right now. And why not? ‘Tis the season! As you road trip around Wisconsin – and you should, any time of the year – here are a few of our favorite holiday light features and displays across the state:

Milwaukee: Holiday Lights Wisconsin Festival

Milwaukee Holiday Lights WisconsinHop the Jingle Bus in downtown Milwaukee, or walk around this rapidly redeveloping district, and check out beautiful, colorful holiday light and animated displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park and Zeidler Union Square. Streetscapes are transformed by sparkling rooflines, special lighting and suspended décor above downtown intersections. $2 Jingle Bus rides operate Thursday through Sunday evenings connecting visitors to all the sights now through December 31. Best place to get tickets? The Shops of Grand Avenue on Wisconsin Avenue, with easy access via I-794, 43.94, U.S. 18, and Highways 32 and 145.

Caledonia: Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights

Christmas Carnival of LightsHead to northern Racine County for a ride through Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park campground along Highway 38 in Caledonia and enjoy over 1.5 million lights, with displays and exhibits to dazzle! Check out one-of-a-kind hand-crafted displays featuring elves, reindeer, forest friends, beloved children’s characters, and more – it’s like stepping into one of your favorite Christmas movies. Explore Santa’s workshop, ride their big sleigh – with a capacity of 43 – and even meet “Evy the Evergreen,” a new 7-foot tall, magical Christmas tree. He talks, leads friends in Christmas Carols and tells stories.

Chippewa Falls: Christmas at Cook-Rutledge Mansion & Christmas Village in Irvine Park

Christmas Village at Irvine Park, Chippewa FallsIt’s a two-fer in beautiful Chippewa Falls. The historic Cook-Rutledge Mansion is decked for the holidays and offering special tours. Meanwhile, Irvine Park – already awesome for its zoo, Wobbly Bridge and more – offers its Christmas Village with more than 100,000 Christmas lights and life-size scenes replicating the Victorian era as well as Chippewa Falls’ early history. U.S. 53 and Highways 29 and 124 bring you there!

Marshfield: Rotary Winter Wonderland

Marshfield Rotary Winter Wonderland at Wildwood Zoo, Holiday Lights Wisconsin

The already-beautiful Wildwood Park & Zoo in Wisconsin’s “Hub City” of Marshfield gets even more dazzling this holiday season with Rotary Winter Wonderland, with over ONE MILLION twinkling LED lights and animated displays you can walk or drive through. There’s Santa’s Village, Nativity scenes, holiday music and so much more. It all takes place just off Central Avenue (historic Highway 13), near U.S. 10, today’s Highway 13 (the “through-pass”) and Highways 80 & 97. Check out the Blue Heron Brewpub, the city’s vibrant downtown, and more when you go!

Green Bay: WPS Garden of Lights

WPS Garden of Lights, Holiday Lights WisconsinThe WPS Garden of Lights brings the magic to the Green Bay Botanical Garden for the 21st year on weekends through Christmas Day and daily from there through December 30th. Check out more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Discover a spectacular array of botanical-themed light displays featuring an enchanted icicle forest, glistening flowers, a dazzling 60-foot walk-through caterpillar, and much more. The show is topped off with northeastern Wisconsin’s tallest and brightest shining tree. Enjoy this stunning winter landscape by foot or take a horse-drawn wagon ride.

Janesville: Holiday Light Show at Rotary Botanical Gardens

Holiday Light Show at Rotary Botanical Gardens, JanesvilleJanesville, the “City of Parks,” offers the beautiful Rotary Botanical Gardens all year long, but during December illuminated garden pathways greet you for an evening stroll through wintry garden paths brought to life with 425,000 twinkling lights, 100 beautifully decorated trees, over 2,500 luminaries, 500 dangling icicle lights hung from the tallest trees in the Garden and more. Back by popular demand are the Selfie Stops & Photo Opps, with fun props and amazing backdrops that offer holiday photo opportunities both indoor and out. Step inside to enjoy a warm beverage as you watch the 200′ electric model train display, hand-sewn quilts, festive local musicians and holiday shopping.

Manitowoc: Lights in Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park in Manitowoc, Holiday Lights Wisconsin
One of our favorite free zoos is Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc. Now, there’s a small charge for Lights in Lincoln Park, but it’s totally worth it! This consists of a fantastic drive-thru light show with animated displays, thousands of lights and a 60-foot lit tunnel. Proceeds go to the Lincoln Park Zoo. On Friday nights, you can visit Santa, too! You’ll find Lincoln Park on 8th Street just off U.S. 10/Highway 42 (Waldo Boulevard) on the north side of Manitowoc, about 4 miles east of I-43. U.S. 151 approaches from the south, too. Check it out as part of your Holiday Lights Wisconsin tour, and see the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Beerntsen’s Candies, and so many other fun sights in the city of shipbuilders!

Oshkosh: Celebration of Lights

Oshkosh Celebration of Lights, Holiday Lights Wisconsin

Menominee Park along Lake Winnebago brilliantly lights up the city with a 1.2-mile stretch of illuminated holiday wonder. A 100-foot tree, sculptured scenes, twinkling animated light displays and accompanying holiday music makes this part of Oshkosh magical during the holidays. Homemade holiday gifts will be available for sale for family and friends, carriage rides (December 17 & 20) and hay rides (December 14 & 21) will be available – advanced reservations required at 920-303-9200 – and Santa is around every night! Oshkosh Celebration of Lights is open every day, 5-9pm. I-41, U.S. 45, and Highways 21, 26, 44, 76, and 91 all bring you to Oshkosh!

Sheboygan: Making Spirits Bright

Making Spirits Bright in SheboyganTalk about a gorgeous drive… the Sheboygan County Rotary Club creates this amazing light show that can drive through to music! Just tune your FM radio to their signal and enjoy the sync-up with over 325,000 holiday lights on this 1.1-mile forested route. For your Holiday Lights Wisconsin Tour, I-43 and Highways 23, 28, and 42 all bring you there.

La Crosse: Rotary Holiday Lights

La Crosse Rotary Holiday LightsFOUR MILLION LIGHTS?? Yup! Riverside Park in La Crosse becomes an amazing splendorous wonderland featuring a 140-foot Christmas tree, live nativity presentations, and animated light displays with over 2,000,000 lights total. You have to see it to believe it on your Holiday Lights Wisconsin Tour, and I-90, U.S. 14/61, U.S. 53, and Highways 16, 33, and 35 all bring you to La Crosse so you can see it!

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The State Trunk Tour Logo for Wisconsin highways and great trips

Wisconsin highways, road trips, attractions, quirks… just what IS the State Trunk Tour?

The State Trunk Tour is all about Wisconsin highways, drives, road trips and celebrating the fun of the Badger State by selecting state highways and riding them end to end, reporting everything along the way.

Wisconsin’s state highways – the first system of numbered highways in the world (first done in 1917 – which means 2017 marked its 100th anniversary!) – connect all sorts of points of interest, attractions, cities, towns, recreation trails, scenic byways, lakes, rivers, bridges, historical sites, geographic markers, taverns, antique shops… you get the idea.

Wisconsin is one of the most fun and unique states in the country. We’re in the smack dab in the middle of the northern and western hemispheres. We have plenty of “world’s largest” entries: the musky, the corkscrew, a talking cow, an indoor water park, a six-pack, and a can of chili are just some of them. Wisconsin also claims a number of “world’s firsts” and inventions including the snowmobile, malted milk, the hamburger, hydroelectric power, outboard motor, rail-to-trail, and a bunch more.

We have two Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and beautiful drives along all of them. Dynamic cities like Milwaukee and Madison offer incredible options for things to do. Vacation hot spots like Wisconsin Dells, Lake Geneva, Door County, Minocqua, Eagle River, and Hayward draw people from all over the country. Quaint, relaxing towns like Ephraim, Shullsburg, Hudson, Bayfield, Princeton, Green Lake, Oconomowoc and more offer great boutique shopping and plenty of charm.

Follow one of our Wisconsin highways end-to-end – or in sections – and enjoy everything along the way. Sample Featured Routes below or pick your own from the State Trunk Tours menu. We’ll help guide you, provide fun history, insight, and trivia, and welcome your feedback and additions as we continue to build our web and mobile sites. We’re on a new platform, adding and updating more routes, attractions, photos, points of interest and more constantly, so check back often. Updates will be sent out via Facebook and Twitter, of course!

"Wind around from a Genoa lock through the Driftless Area"

State "Trunk" Highway 56 runs through the beautiful Driftless Area from the Mississippi River to the middle of Richland County, near Richland Center. The hilly landscape makes for beautiful vistas and it's very pleasant drive through farmlands and small towns like Viola and Viroqua - and even some places that don't start with the "v."...

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"Coast to Coast covering Circuses, Canoes, and Coulees (and more)"

State “Trunk” Highway 33 is a "coast-to-coast" state highway, connecting La Crosse on the Mississippi with Port Washington's scenic harbor on Lake Michigan. From the big blue waters of the Great Lake to the beautiful coulees framing La Crosse, you encounter hairpin turns in what seems like a mountain range, Baraboo's famous Circus Museum, ski slopes of Cascade Mountain, the natural wetlands of Horicon Marsh, and some of the best canoeing in the nation along the Kickapoo. It's a great cross-section of southern Wisconsin....

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Historic Mindoro Cut on the original route of Highway 108

"'Cutting' between West Salem and Melrose"

State “Trunk” Highway 108 is a short but very scenic ride through Wisconsin's "Driftless Area". A popular motorcycle ride as well as drive or bike ride, Highway 108 is best known for the "Mindoro Cut", which cuts through a particularly beautiful area where the highway twists, turns and zigzags. Highway 108 has essentially been the same route since 1919...why mess with such a great drive?...

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LaCrosse Brewery

La Crosse To Lake Country

A former U.S. highway, State “Trunk” Highway 16 comes in from Minnesota at La Crosse and works its way toward Milwaukee through routes so popular they were supplanted by Interstates in most areas. Paralleling I-90 and/or I-94 much of the way, Highway 16 goes through many of the towns the interstate highways bypass. Highway 16 used to continue into downtown Milwaukee and across Lake Michigan on a ferry to Muskegon, where it then ran all the way to downtown Detroit just short of the Canadian border, hey. Today, though, it ends at I-94 in Milwaukee's western suburbs, but not before passing by a ton of interesting things along its almost 200-mile journey....

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Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report

Real Racine Events
Visit Port Washington
Visit Marshfield via State Trunk Tour
GO Chippewa Falls