(Madison, WI): We’ve rounded up the tree lighting ceremonies and events in and around Madison, WI this holiday season! If there is something we missed – please let us know in the comments below or by emailing [email protected]. The events are listed in order by date.
Tis the season!
November 18, 2023 – January 8, 2024
During the November Night Market, downtown Madison will shine bright. Enjoy live music, and shop a variety of market vendors and downtown stores.
November 19 | 3pm-6pm
- 3:00 – 5:30 PM: Pose for a photo with the reindeer pulling their sleigh on the Green near L.L. Bean
- Bring joy to the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County during their toy drive. Please consider donating new, unwrapped toys for children of all ages; click here to learn more about their holiday drives. Drop your donation with their team in the atrium in front of Macy’s.
- From 3-5 PM, kids can stop by Creando Exploratorium‘s creation station featuring a balloon artist, arts and crafts and goodie bags.
- In the atrium in front of Macy’s, kids of all ages can get crafty creating festive ornaments adorned with jingle bells to welcome Santa and take home a piece of holiday magic.
- Visit Paper Source to write a letter to Santa and create crafts. Don’t forget to drop your letter in the mailbox in the atrium in front of Macy’s for delivery to the North Pole!
- Keep an eye out for Santa from 4-6 PM as he strolls through Hilldale.
- Sing along to classic songs with the Capitol City Theatre carolers from 3-5:30 PM.
- Meet Nutcracker dancers from the Monona Academy of Dance at Kendra Scott. 20% of sales during the event will be donated to the Academy.
- Find the Selfie Stand near the 30-foot tree by Café Hollander and capture your perfect holiday selfie.
- Follow the serenade of saxophonist Jonathan Hoel from 5:30-6 PM as he leads Santa to The Plaza. Then, gather ’round just before 6 PM as Josh Spreiter from “In The 608” welcomes Santa to count down to the magical lighting of our 30-foot tree to officially kick off the holiday season!
November 24 | 4pm-10pm
Join us for our 9th annual Holiday Tree Lighting, Friday, November 24. This special tradition will feature fun for the entire family.
Event is free and open to the public, food and beverage will be available for purchase.
November 24, 5:30-7:30pm
Monona’s RiverRink transforms into a winter wonderland with 10,000 lights strung on a 20-foot-tall tree. Join for the tree lighting, plus light displays, hot chocolate and ice skating.
5:30 – 7:30 pm Carolers
5:30 – 7:00 pm Stilt Walkers
6:00 pm Lighting Ceremony
6:00 – 7:00 pm Aerial Yogis
November 25 | 5:30pm-7pm
Firetrucks dress in their holiday best as they lead the parade to a tree-lighting celebration with Santa.
The City of Middleton is planning a “Light the Green” event at Stone Horse Green in downtown Middleton (just off Hubbard Avenue).
Celebrate the Third Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 29th in Fireman’s Park. The event will run from 5:00pm to 7:00pm with a special visitor from the North Pole and more!
November 30- December 3
Stoughton’s weekend-long holiday celebration is overflowing with old-world charm. The annual lighting of the Love light Tree kicks off a weekend of music, artisanal shopping, local food and more.
December 1 | 6:30pm
Kick off the season of delights in downtown New Glarus at our Holiday Tree Lighting. Enjoy the enchanting sights — historic Swiss architecture, shops aglow, old fashioned street lights, the majestic Depot pine festively trimmed for the season — as well as festive alphorns!
December 1 | 6:00-7:30pm
Santa rides into town on a firetruck to light Oregon’s holiday tree. Afterward, head to the local fire station for a chili dinner and photos with Santa.
December 1 | 6:30-8pm
The light parade and Santa will come down Main Street at 6:30pm. Rotary lights, downtown shopping and more!
Wisconsin Capitol Holiday Tree Lighting
December 2, Noon-1pm
Join inside the Capitol Rotunda for an hour-long presentation with remarks from the Governor and music from a youth choir. Learn where this year’s giant tree is from, and see the ornaments created by kids from across Wisconsin.
December 1-3 | 3:30pm-6pm
Ring in the holiday season with this fun family weekend in Janesville, Wisconsin, featuring a wide variety of activities for all ages including ice skating, a lighted parade, live theater, fireworks, a tree lighting, fun run, family entertainment, kids activities and more. Most activities are free or low cost.
Consider making it a getaway weekend
by staying over at one of our comfortable lodging options.
Janesville’s Jolly Jingle is held annually the first weekend in December.
Best Places to Cruise for Christmas Lights
Olin Park, 1156 Olin-Turville Court, Madison
November 11 – the New Year; Dawn to Dusk | FREE
Over 50 light displays, including many new items will be brought out to the park and set up for all to enjoy. Booths are open (think candy canes!) from 4:30 – 10:00 pm each evening!
Open to the public through the end of the year – cars are welcome to pull into the parking lot and view from there.
3276 S. High Point Road | Madison, WI
Zoo Lights is open from 5:30pm – 8:30pm Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between November 24 – December 30. It takes approximately one hour to walk through the whole Zoo and see all the lights.
University Avenue at University Bay Drive, Madison
1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville
500 E. Main Street, Waunakee
Waunakee’s Village Park transforms into a winter wonderland with light-lined streets and holiday displays. Enjoy the lights either on foot or from your car.