Festive holiday displays will be lit up all across Eastern and Central Iowa this year! Using Travel Iowa and Facebook, we put together a list of some of the best and brightest that you won't want to miss in 2023:

Holiday Lights at the Lake (Drive-Thru)

  • West Overlook Campground, Iowa City
  • Open from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year's Eve
    • Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
    • Friday & Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Wednesday evenings are walk-throughs ONLY - no vehicles
  • Cost
    • Car/Van - $10
    • Mini Bus/Small Limo - $30
    • School/Charter/Party Bus or Large Limo - $50
    • Walk-through Wednesdays are $5 per person
  • Cash is accepted at the gate - tickets can be purchased in advance HERE

Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Midwest Old Threshers Campground, Mount Pleasant
  • Open from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year's Eve
    • Nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Fun Run/Walk-Through November 18th & 19th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Cost
    • Fun Run/Walk-Through is $5 per person (ages 4 and under are free)

Five Seasons Lights (Walk-Through)

  • McGrath Amphitheatre, Cedar Rapids
  • Open December 1st through New Year's Eve
    • Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Friday & Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
    • Visits with Santa on Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Jolly Holiday Lights (Walk-Through)

  • Outlets of Des Moines
  • Open November 17th through January 7th (closed Thanksgiving & Christmas Day)
  • No cost to attend
  • Ticketed Events (costs money to attend):
    • Jolly Holiday Lights Kickoff Ceremony
    • Breakfast With Santa
    • Sip & Shop Night

Tannenbaum Forest (Walk-Through)

  • Festhalle Barn, Amana Colonies
  • Open Fridays through Sundays from November 24th to December 17th
    • Holiday Fun & Games Weekend – November 24th through 26th
    • Prelude to Christmas – December 1st through 3rd
    • Children’s Weekend – December 8th through 10th
    • Holiday Traditions Weekend – December 15th through 17th
  • Admission is free, but free will donations to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital are encouraged

City of Christmas Display of Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Rand Park, Keokuk
  • Open Thanksgiving through New Year's Day
    • November 23rd from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • November 24th through December 23rd from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Christmas Eve open all night beginning at 5 p.m.
    • Christmas Day through New Year's Day from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • No cost to attend

Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland (Drive-Thru)

  • Hawkeye Downs, Cedar Rapids
  • Open November 17th through January 2nd
    • Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (or later)
  • Cost
    • $24.95 per passenger vehicle (up to 8 people)
    • $59.95 per activity van (up to 25 people)
  • Purchase tickets HERE

Winter Wonderscape (Walk-Through)

  • Reiman Gardens, Ames
  • Thursdays through Saturdays in December
    • Timed entry between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - gates close at 8 p.m. and event runs until 9 p.m.
  • Cost
    • $15 for adults
    • $13 for Members & ISU Students
    • $7 for ages 2 to 12
    • Free for ages 2 and under
  • Purchase tickets HERE

Festival of Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Lost Island KOA Resort, Waterloo
  • December 1st through 3rd, 8th through 10th, and 15th through 17th
    • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Sundays are for walk-throughs ONLY
  • Cost is $20 per vehicle

Holiday Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Pulpit Rock Campground, Decorah
  • Open nightly from Thanksgiving through Christmas Night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Walk-through Night Wednesday, November 22nd from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    • Fireworks show on Tuesday, December 12th starting at 6:30 p.m.
  • Cost is a free-will donation for Helping Services for Youth & Families

Symphony of Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Eagle Point Park, Clinton
  • Open nightly from Thanksgiving through December 30th
    • Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Saturday & Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Cost is $8 per car with an additional $2 per person in vehicles with more than 10 people

Jingle Bright Holiday Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Delaware County Fairgrounds, Manchester
  • Open Fridays through Sundays in December (plus Christmas Day)
    • 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Cost is a free-will donation

Painting with Lights

  • Downtown Oskaloosa
  • "This holiday celebration illuminates Oskaloosa's downtown buildings with over 200,000 lights. The brilliant display covers all four sides of the town square"
  • New Dancing Lights Show at City Square Park
  • Lights will be turned on November 18th and will turn on each evening until January 7th
    • The 36th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade will take place on Saturday, December 2nd at 7 p.m.
Oskaloosa Main Street, Facebook
Oskaloosa Main Street, Facebook

Merry-N County Christmas (Drive-Thru)

  • Marion County Park, Knoxville
  • Open Fridays through Sundays from November 17th through December 24th
    • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Cost is a free-will donation

Holiday Nights 'N Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Greater Ottumwa Park
  • Open November 18th through December 29th
    • Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Friday & Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Cost is $10 in advance at any Elliott Oil location or $12 at the gate - season passes are $45

Lights at Kennedy (Drive-Thru)

  • Kennedy Park Campground, Fort Dodge
  • Open December 8th through 10th, 15th through 17th, and 22nd through 23rd
    • 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Cost is a free-will donation

Santa’s Rock n Lights (Drive-Thru)

  • Living History Farms, Urbandale
  • Open "most days" from November 24th through December 31st
  • Cost is $29.99 to $36.99 per vehicle (up to six people)
    • $7 extra per person over 6 people
  • Tickets MUST be purchased in advance - get them HERE

Lights in the Park (Drive-Thru)

  • Sumner City Park
  • Open nightly from November 18th through sometime between Christmas and the New Year
    • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Christmas Tree Lighting November 18th at 5 p.m.
  • Cost is free, but donations are accepted as you exit the park

Little Light of Mine (Drive-Thru)

  • Mikkelson Park, New Hampton
  • Open November 23rd through December 31st
    • Horse-drawn Wagon Rides - November 24th & 25th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ($5)
    • Santa & Fireworks - December 9th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Cost is a free-will donation

Reflections In The Park (Drive-Thru)

  • Louis Murphy Park, Dubuque
  • Open November 23rd through January 1st
    • 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Walk-Through Event on November 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. ($10 for ages 4 and up)
  • Cost is $12 per vehicle - advance tickets can be bought at DB&T Banking locations for $10 per vehicle

Hickory Hills Holiday Light Show

  • Hickory Hills Park, La Porte City
  • Open Fridays & Saturdays in December
    • 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Cost is $10 per vehicle

Other light displays we are still waiting on details from include:

We will update the article as more information arrives!

Iowans Show Off Their Most Beautiful Photos of the State

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

The Lions and Dogs of Brucemore Mansion

Howard Hall and his wife Margaret moved into Cedar Rapids' Brucemore mansion in 1937. Over the course of 14 years, they owned three lions, all named Leo. Below are photos of those lions, and the family's German Shepherds.

Gallery Credit: Brucemore

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