December 6, 2022

Give Me The Mike

Exploring Minnesota and Beyond

9 big holiday light shows in Minnesota and Wisconsin

Comparing the 9 biggest holiday light shows around Minnesota and western Wisconsin in 2022.

My annual Minnesota Holiday Lights Display Guide offers more than 100 places to see holiday lights. Many are free, but if you want to see a LOT of lights, you will need to pay a fee.

Here’s a roundup of the 9 biggest biggest holiday light shows around Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

This list and my Minnesota Holiday Lights Guide are up-to-date for 2022. I would be weary of other websites out there! Displays stop running altogether. Currently, Nature Illuminated at the Minnesota Zoo is not happening, yet it is still showing up on another lights guide.


For a listing of 100+ light shows, view the 2022 Minnesota Holiday Lights Display Guide


2022 Big Light Show Guide
Fueled by Sever’s Holiday Lights

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1. Shakopee

Sever’s Holiday Lights
3121 150th Street W
Shakopee, MN 55379

November 24th, 2022-January 1st, 2023

Open 7 nights a week. Hours vary by night: check their website for details

2.5 million lights

Tickets: $25-55 per vehicle

Drive-thru display

Book your tickets online in advance

WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Sever’s Holiday Lights is best if you want a locally owned LED light show synched to music. The display, right off of Highway 169 in Shakopee, looks impressive off the road. At $25 for a full car, it’s the best bargain of the Twin Cities light shows, too.

In 2020, the Sever family quickly knew they needed to adapt their ticket procedure because of long lines. Instead of buying a ticket that you can use anytime, you now buy tickets for a specific time slot, just like Christmas in Color. Bravo to them for adjusting.

The show features “new age” lights, so it’s bright.


2. St. Croix Falls, WI

Miracle at Big Rock
1674 State Highway 87
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024

November 25th, 2022-January 1st, 2023

Monday-Thursday 5:00-9:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5:00-10:00 p.m., Sunday 4:00-9:00 p.m.

12 million lights

Tickets: $20 adults online ($25 at the door), $15 kids ages 4-12, free kids 3 and under (available at entrance, cash or credit card)

$15 for members of the military and seniors

Monday-Tuesday are drive-thru only

Wednesday-Sunday are walk-thru only

Includes on-site vendor market

WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Miracle at Big Rock is like walking onto a Hallmark movie set. It’s great for a date night since it’s so spread out and picturesque. They also have a bar (spiked hot chocolate!).

Miracle is also a good spot for the kids, but it does turn into the most expensive light display on this list rather quickly. Make sure to buy tickets in advance or you’ll really overpay.

Don’t miss the vendor market on the upper level of the barn. It’s inside and you can shop for holiday gifts from a curated list of small businesses.


3. Somerset, WI

Sam’s Christmas Village
710 Spring Street
Somerset, WI 54025

November 25, 2022-January 1, 2023 (closed Christmas Eve)

Sunday-Thursday 5:00-9:00 p.m. (must arrive by 8:00 p.m.), Friday-Saturday 5:00-10:00 p.m. (must arrive by 9:00 p.m.). Click here for details

10 million lights

Tickets: $20 adults, $10 kids ages 3-10, free kids 2 and under (available at entrance, cash or credit card)

$10 for members of the military (bring your military ID)

Monday-Tuesday are drive-thru only

Wednesday-Sunday are walk-thru only

Sam’s officials say route takes 20-25 minutes to drive-thru and you are able to drive-thru the experience as many times as you’d like

WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Sam’s Christmas Village is for those who want to make looking at lights a full-evening holiday experience. You’re able to buy snacks, beverages, and if you wanted to park your car, you could find yourself in your own s’mores cabin complete with bonfire and a visit from Santa.

2022 marks Sam’s fourth season.

Note that only Mondays and Tuesdays are drive-thru nights at Sam’s, and personally, I feel that Sam’s is best as a walk-thru experience.

Do your math before you head out to Sam’s. They are doing tickets by person, and not by vehicle like the other displays. If you have a big family with a bunch of kiddos, Sam’s or Miracle at Big Rock easily could be the most expensive option. On the other hand, it’s reasonable for a date night. I should note they charge $10 to park your car (cash only) if you go Wednesday-Sunday.


4. Shakopee

Christmas in Color
Valleyfair
5 Valley Fair Drive
Shakopee, MN 55379

November 25th, 2022-January 2nd, 2023

7 nights a week from 5:30-10:00 p.m.

1 million lights

Drive-thru only display

Tickets: $35 per vehicle

WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Christmas in Color is the show that combines everything together. It has LED lights that sing, big lit trees, an impressive entrance, and plenty of tunnels.

Christmas in Color is not a locally produced show. They have eight other shows simultaneously happening around the country. So if there’s a downfall, I would say that you’re not spending your money with a Minnesotan-owned company.

Christmas in Color takes place in the parking lot of Valleyfair. We arrived about 15 minutes before our scheduled start time and no issue getting in. At $35 per vehicle, Christmas in Color is more expensive than Sever’s on certain nights (Sever’s ranges from $25-55 per vehicle).

I had a couple people accompany me for these light shows (shout out to Josh and Holly) and Christmas in Color was hands down their favorite. Christmas in Color had lights to your left, to your right, and plenty above you with light tunnels. This show would be perfect if your car has a sunroof.


5. St. Paul

GLOW Holiday Festival
CHS Field
360 N Broadway Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

November 23rd, 2022-January 1st, 2023

Sunday-Thursday 5:00-9:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5:00-10:00 p.m.

1 million lights

Tickets: $20.75 adults, $12.75 kids 4-12, children 3 and under free

GLOW is now at CHS Field in Lowertown St. Paul, the ballpark home to the St. Paul Saints. It is now a walk-thru only display. It was at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in past years.

At the State Fairgrounds, GLOW was mediocre at best. It was really expensive and you were stuck in your car. Plus, they had a poor selection of food vendors. I feel it could excel as a walk-thru experience.

I’d love to hear what you think of the new setup for GLOW. Email me or message me on Facebook.


6. Duluth

Bentleyville Tour of Lights
700 Railroad Street
Duluth, MN 55802

November 19th-December 26th, 2022

Sunday-Thursday 5:00-9:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5:00-10:00 p.m.

5 million lights

Free, parking is $10 per vehicle

WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Bentleyville is for the rugged families who don’t mind whatever weather Duluth has coming its way.

It’s a spectacle. I went in 2020 when it was a drive-thru format and was definitely impressed. There was no ‘dark space’. No matter where you looked, there was light.

However, it’s busy. Like, really busy. The line to get in stretched for blocks on the Saturday night I showed up. Bentleyville is now a walk-thru only display, and you’ll pay $10 to park your car. But as they say, “pack your patience” when you arrive.


7. Mankato

Kiwanis Holiday Lights
Sibley Park
900 Mound Avenue
Mankato, MN 56001

November 25th-December 31st, 2022

Sunday-Thursday 5:00-9:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5:00-10:00 p.m.

1.8 million lights

Santa visits on weekends: November 25, 26, 27; December 2,3,4; December 9, 10, 11; December 16, 17, 18; and one final night on December 23rd

Collecting cash and non-perishable food donations

Drive-thru or walk-thru display

Free


8. Waconia

The Spirit of Winter
9950 North Shore Road
Waconia, MN 55387

November 18th-December 30th, 2022

Tuesday-Thursday 4:00-8:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4:00-9:00 p.m., Sunday 4:00-8:00 p.m.

1 million lights

Tickets: $10 ages 5 and older

The Spirit of Winter takes places at The Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia, which is a really pretty setting.

Their wine room is open during the event, so this might be the best spot if you’re looking to meet up with a couple girlfriends for happy hour or want a date night. And at $10 per person, it’s the cheapest of the 1 million+ light shows in the Twin Cities.


9. La Crosse, WI

Rotary Lights
410 E Veterans Memorial Blvd
La Crosse, WI 54601

November 25th-December 31st, 2022

7 nights a week from 5:00-10:00 p.m.

3 million lights

Drive-thru or walk-thru display

Free