Brilliant Stories

Where to Witness Holiday Lights in the Champaign-Urbana Area

November 16, 2023

The holiday season in the Champaign-Urbana area isn’t just about chilly weather, gift-giving and warm gatherings—it’s also a time when the whole area comes alive with twinkling lights and festive displays. Here’s your guide to experiencing the most enchanting holiday lights in the Champaign-Urbana area!

 

AIKMAN WILDLIFE PATHWAY OF LIGHTS

Where: 125 N. Country Rd. 425 E.
When: November 18, 25, December 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 

Stepping into the serene landscapes of Amish Country lies Aikman Wildlife Adventure, the only drive-thru zoo in Illinois. This holiday season, enjoy a lighted display with special weekly activities, including a lighted walk-thru display, lighted wagon rides, hot food, drinks, and more. The Pathway of Lights is every Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
 

PAXTON’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY

Where: 153 N. Market St.
When: November 24, 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

This community tradition marks the beginning of their holiday season, igniting the town with a warm glow, spreading joy and merriment to all who gather in celebration. This is also a great opportunity to shop local, as certain businesses will stay open during later hours.

 

WINTER NIGHTS AT PRAIRIE FARM

Where: 2202 W. Kirby Ave
When: November 24 - December 31

Nestled within the heart of Champaign-Urbana exists a gem that transforms into a winter wonderland come holiday season: Prairie Farm. This charming farmstead will host a free, accessible lighting spectacle for adults and children of all ages. Cocoa will also be available for purchase as you journey through the farm.

 

NIGHT LIGHTS AT MABERY GELVIN BOTANICAL GARDENS

Where: 950 N. Lombard St.
When: November 24-25, December 1-2, December 8-9,  December 15-16, December 22-24 

Tucked away behind the Museum of the Grand Prairie, the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden blooms into a radiant wonderland, adorned with captivating holiday lights that heighten the senses and warm the hearts of visitors. This is a free event for adults and children of all ages. 

 

Holiday Glow Presented by UICCU 

Where: 515 Old Timber Rd.
When: December 1-23 and 26-31 (ticket required for Opening Night on Dec. 1) | January 5-6 and 12-13

Known for its natural beauty year-round, Allerton Park and Retreat Center transforms into a magical wonderland during the holidays. The holiday Glow Presented by the U of I Community Credit Union features a mile-walk of dazzling light displays in its serene gardens, offering a unique way to experience the holiday spirit. Food trucks and a cash bar will also be available on select dates, weather permitting.

 

Downtown Champaign Comes Alive in Champaign Center Partnership’s Parade of Lights

Mark your calendars for one of Champaign-Urbana area’s highly anticipated events—the Annual Parade of Lights presented by Christie Clinic! This beloved event turns downtown Champaign into a kaleidoscope of colors, enchanting all who gather to witness this festive procession. Kicking off Champaign Center Partnership’s Small Business Saturday, pre-parade events include the Mistletoe Market from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., a visit with Santa, horse and carriage rides, and more. You can check out Champaign Center Partnership’s website for more information here.

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