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Wisconsin’s Best Holiday Events and Experiences

Winter in Wisconsin offers a delightful array of activities for both locals and visitors alike. With its picturesque snow-covered landscapes, the state becomes a haven for winter enthusiasts. One of the most popular pastimes is snowmobiling, as Wisconsin boasts an extensive network of well-groomed snowmobile trails that crisscross the scenic countryside. For those seeking adventure, downhill skiing and snowboarding opportunities abound in the state's numerous ski resorts, offering slopes suitable for all skill levels. Ice fishing is another cherished tradition, with frozen lakes transforming into bustling communities of anglers trying to catch a variety of fish beneath the ice. Families can enjoy the thrill of sledding and tubing down snow-covered hills in local parks, creating cherished memories amidst the winter wonderland. Additionally, Wisconsin hosts charming winter festivals and events, celebrating the season with activities like ice sculpting, hot cocoa sipping, and cozying up by the fireplace. Overall, winter in Wisconsin offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventures and warm, festive moments for everyone to enjoy.

Appleton Christmas Parade: The Midwest’s largest nighttime parade takes place in Appleton, WI on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. The 52nd annual event draws nearly 100,000 spectators to an event featuring 80+ floats and 20 different bands alongside dozens of animals, decorated vehicles and other unique entries.

Epic Light Show: Rotary Lights at Riverside Park in La Crosse, WI features the state’s biggest light show – with more than 3 million lights glistening throughout the park. Visitors can drive, walk or take a carriage ride as they enjoy this free holiday tradition before ending the night making s’mores or ice skating.

Enchant Christmas: The world’s largest Christmas light maze and village makes its way to Milwaukee this year via an experience that includes ice skating, a holiday marketplace, food, drink, Santa photo-ops and a multi-sensory story-driven holiday light maze adventure spread across more than 10 acres of space at Ballpark Commons Franklin.

World’s Tallest Glass Tree: the world’s tallest glass Christmas tree will be constructed for the second consecutive year in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The 2022 tree featured 3,000 pounds of molten glass pieced together one string at a time. The event will once again take places over three weekends in December.

Old World Christmas Market: Consistently rated one of the 10 Best Christmas Markets in the US by USA Today (among others), this immersive market offers a shopping bazaar, German food court, carriage rides and photo opportunities on the grounds of the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – offering a cozy winter escape for those looking to take full advantage. Dates: December 1-10, 2023.

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