La Crosse Rotary Lights« Back to Events
OVER THREE MILLION LIGHTS. That’s crazy! And beautiful. And festive. And there’s a lot more to see at the La Crosse Rotary Lights, that holiday special event that runs November 27th through December 31st at Riverside Park. This being 2020, there will not be parade or formal opening ceremony, but Santa will be on hand to throw the switch turning on all these lights (and probably momentarily dimming some others across town – that’s gotta be a huge power draw!) at 5pm on opening night, Friday, November 27th. The Skyrockers will still have an incredible fireworks display to enjoy as La Crosse Rotary Lights officially opens, too!
Among the splendor is a 140- foot Christmas tree and plenty of animated light displays. Live nativity presentation on weekends until Christmas, although the number of participants will be limited this year. Santa, after opening the festivities, will continue to be there for you and the kids until December 23rd; however, no sitting on Santa’s lap this year.
Here’s how it works if you choose to drive through it: The line forms down State Street and continues to the North on 2nd Street. On busy nights, the line will back up onto 3rd Street/Copeland Ave/U.S. 53. Roads will be blocked so that you cannot enter from State Street, northbound on Second Street, or from Vine Street. You can tune your car stereo to their local Christmas channel for good musical accompaniment while joining the caravan of onlookers from the comfort – and heat – of your car.
If you prefer to walk or take a carriage ride through the display, you do not need to wait in line. In fact, they want you to keep the proper distance! There is usually street parking available near the park or there are several parking ramps within walking distance. Get Parking Ramp Information HERE. Horse-drawn carriages are available most weekends and run $20/couple or $30/family. No Tuesday night hayrides this year, but you can still get free s’mores at the fire pit, where supplies will be individually packaged.. You’ll also still be able to experience the helicopter rides for an amazing view! New additions for 2020 include a brand new sleigh for photos, heated restrooms available on both the north and south ends of the park, and even a brand new hologram display.
Remember, Santa shows up nightly from 5 – 8 pm until December 23rd (of course, he has to hurry back to the North Pole right after that and get his sleigh ready for that worldwide trip) and there’s no sitting on his lap.
Weather permitting, the Chad Erickson Ice Rink is available for skating, Monday through Friday 5pm-8pm, Saturday Noon to 8pm, and Sunday Noon to 6pm. Unfortunately due to COVID precautions, the warming hut and skate rental won’t be available, but please feel free to bring your own skates! A heated igloo WILL be available if you need to warm up and/or change. You can call (608) 784-9993 to check on Skating Rink Status and information; voicemail messages are updated daily.
The hours for La Crosse Rotary Lights are 5-10pm daily. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the hours are 5-9pm; New Year’s Eve, it will stay open until 1 am; meaning technically La Crosse Rotary Lights lasts into January 1, 2021 (and aren’t we all ready for 2021??)
The whole La Crosse Rotary Lights admission and experience is free of charge, but Rotary Lights does ask for donations; monetary or non-perishable food item donations are strongly encouraged.
Riverside Park (just off U.S. 53)
410 Veterans Memorial Drive
La Crosse, WI 54601