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Christmas Lights to Enjoy in the Madison Area

The holidays can be a magical time of year for many reasons, such as the generosity of friends and family, kindness from strangers, the peacefulness of a light snowfall, and, of course, the twinkling lights you’ll find in every direction. While the best way to enjoy lights can sometimes mean walking or driving around your very own neighborhood, it’s also fun to get out and see the impressive lights in nearby communities. Pull up this list and hop in the car - here are a few of the very best Christmas lights to check out this holiday season:

  1. Downtown Madison Shine On Madison started in 2017 to increase traffic to downtown businesses, and features 10 new community light displays, 13 specially-decorated areas, and, of course, some top-notch restaurants and shops for celebrating the season.

  2. Henry Vilas Zoo Lights Zoo Lights begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs Thursdays-Sundays until December 29th. Warm up with some hot chocolate and take a walk through the zoo to enjoy over 800,000 Christmas lights!

  3. Hilldale Shopping Center While getting your Christmas shopping done at Hilldale, stop by and see the huge Christmas tree and stunning lights all around you! Kids can also meet Santa in the Macy’s Atrium on select days in December.

  4. The Edgewater The Edgewater is always beautifully decorated for the holidays, and their annual tree lighting is especially magical. Enjoy the Christmas trees while you ice skate on The Edgewater’s rink!

  5. Wisconsin State Capitol Take in the beauty of the 40-foot tree gracing the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol by enjoying a free tour, which are offered daily!

  6. Waunakee Waunakee kicks off their holiday celebrations with Light the Night, which features the official lighting of the Roundabout Christmas tree, holiday light displays down Main Street, and Rotary Lights in Village Park, plus musical performances, a train exhibit, and shopping specials!

  7. Olin Park The Fantasy in Lights show is a must-see each year. Olin Park comes alive with Christmas lights from dusk to dawn, and admission is free! Hop in the car with your family and cruise through the park.

  8. Local Residences While many homes in the Madison area have impressive light displays, there are a few notable homes that go above and beyond. Stop by 2984 Cassidy Court in Fitchburg, where the lights are coordinated to 12 different songs...just tune your car radio to 89.1 FM! 451 N. Main Street in Cottage Grove is also set to music if you tune in to 88.5 FM. Finally, stop by 7006 Colony Drive in Madison for another impressive light display. Honorable mention: the entire Nakoma neighborhood! Enjoy!

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