The entrance sign to Holiday Fantasy in Lights


Fantasy, caroling, and outrunning the Grinch. Madison isn’t your typical holiday getaway. Grab your family and friends and get your fill of classic holiday spirit, with a side of insider inspiration.



Wisconsin State Capitol Holiday Tree Lighting, Dec. 6
Step into the State Capitol rotunda for a 40-foot balsam fir speckled with 2,000 sparkling lights and 700 feet of garland. Have a future scientist in your family? This year's theme celebrates Wisconsin's role in various science fields. Science-inspired ornaments will adorn the tree.

Fantasy in Lights, Nov. 9, 2019 – Jan. 4, 2020
Holiday Fantasy in Lights has delighted guests for more than 30 years. Take a drive through a picturesque park with a blanket of snow. More than 50 displays light the night, showcasing everything from iconic Madison images to holiday scenes. Entry is free, but donations to support local organizations are welcomed.

Community Carol Sing in Overture Hall, Dec. 14
Bring your voice, bring your friends and bring your family to follow along with the Overture Concert Organ. The Overture Center for the Arts plays host as locals and visitors converge to carol. Let joy ring and join the Madison Symphony for a seasonal musical celebration. Caroling is free and open to the public.

Shine On Madison
One of Madison's newest holiday celebrations brings the city's downtown to life with light displays, a Winter Madison Night Market, holiday trolley and more. This year's Shine On includes 10 new light displays and 13 specially-decorated areas. Everything kicks off with the lighting celebration at 6:08 p.m. on Nov. 16 – a nod to Madison's area code. Downtown businesses with celebrate with shopping specials as the lights turn on around the Square.


Hayrides at Holiday Fantasy in Lights, Weekends Nov. 9 – Jan. 4
Did Fantasy in Lights sound interesting? There's another way to enjoy the lights. Hop on a haywagon for a ride through Olin Park's dazzling displays. Stop to snack on scrumptious s'mores and warm up with cozy campfire before you're done. Rides are $3 per person, and no reservations are needed. Larger groups can also reserve their own, private hayride for up to 24 people.

Santa Run, Dec. 8
Active living with a streak of holiday spirit? Yeah, that sounds like Madison. Race around the Capitol Square while dressed as a Santa, an elf, or an abominable snowman. Beat the Grinch for a free slice from Ian's Pizza. Stick around after the run for the North Pole Post-Race party at local bars.

Holiday Market, Saturdays, Nov. 23 – Dec. 21
If you've been to Madison in summer, you know our famous farmers' market. And if you think winter slows us down, you don't know Madison. The market moves into the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace for the holidays. More than 60 vendors cover your local food fix, and you're still just a brief walk from all the fun on the Capitol Square.

Looking for more frosty fun? Visit our Event Calendar for more inspiration.