Best Christmas Lights Displays in Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Monticello, Rantoul, Tuscola, Paxton, and MORE!
Looking for houses with the best Christmas light displays in the Champaign-Urbana metro area? Check out this list of Amazing Christmas Lights Around Champaign-Urbana and Beyond to help you plan a night with your family that’s fun, festive and (almost) free!
So pack some snacks, fill up a thermos with hot cocoa (or a sippy cup with chocolate milk for the toddler crowd) and head out on a mission to find the best decorated houses in the Champaign-Urbana metro area.
We know everyone is excited for lights, and we are posting this article EARLIER THAN EVER!
HOW TO USE THE CHAMBANAMOMS.COM GUIDE TO AMAZING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AROUND CHAMPAIGN-URBANA AND BEYOND
- This list is organized by geographic areas of the community. We start with our core Champaign-Urbana area, then out to Mahomet, Monticello, Tolono, Tuscola, Rantoul, Paxton, Danville, and many points in between.
- We highlight our favorite individual displays, as well as pockets of areas that are festive.
- We do not provide driving directions to every home or location, but do our best to mark addressed, landmarks and/or other information to make sure you can find each lights display. Have your Waze or Google maps ready.
- Pay attention to the dates and times each display is actively lit up. Some will be lit up as soon as Black Friday; others wait until later in December. We do our BEST to note this information; however, it’s possible that these times and dates can change without notice.
- Be respectful – most of these displays below are put together by individual families, dozens of hours are put into giving us all joy this holiday season!
Chambanamoms.com thanks Smile Doctors for presenting this list.
At Smile Doctors, they share their culture, their expertise, and their hearts with each and every patient they see.
Confidence is a beautiful thing. They want to give you the power to share it with the world through your smile! That’s why from the moment you step into a Smile Doctors clinic, they promise your smile journey will be awesome. They offer affordable monthly payment plans, easy online scheduling, remote care options with your orthodontist and more. Visit their website or find them on Facebook, too.
Download our FREE Christmas Lights in Champaign-Urbana Scavenger Hunt. Another way for your family to enjoy the lights!
HOW WE MAKE THIS LIST
This list of where to see lights is crowd-sourced from both chambanamoms.com team members (a certain person who might be obsessed with lights), reader comments and tips, and directly from the homeowners themselves.
We start this article in November, so be sure to come back here in the next few weeks as even more displays pop up. At publish date, we have information for most of our favorites!
We have noted unconfirmed locations. This means those locations have previously had displays but have not been confirmed by us yet in 2022. If you have seen one of these sites, please let us know so we can keep this post updated. Thank you!
We will be updating the list all month long. Happy light hunting!
If you want to submit a display for consideration — your own, or someone else’s — please fill out this form. Note: this does NOT guarantee inclusion.
WINTER NIGHTS AT PRAIRIE FARM, Champaign (CONFIRMED)
This one requires a little physical activity – be prepared to stretch your legs and get out of the car! Enjoy holiday lights every Thursday through Sunday, starting November 25 through January 1 at Prairie Farm in Champaign. This will be an accessible experience featuring festive light displays throughout the farm. On Friday and Saturday nights, free cocoa will be available (donations are appreciated, they support Prairie Farm). Be sure to get all the way to the back this year – the laser light labyrinth is great fun.
There are plenty of photo opportunities along the lighted path. Prairie Farm is located off of Kirby Avenue, just west of Crescent Avenue in Champaign.
(Sorry to disappoint, but there will NOT be any live farm animals there for Winter Nights at Prairie Farm, unless you count the fish in the pond.)
Lighting Up the Croft, Champaign
Lighting Up the Croft (22 Greencroft, aka the house at the southwest corner of Prospect and Greencroft, just south of the Champaign Country Club) will once again be part of the the lights circuit in 2022. The owners told chambanamoms.com that the synchronized light show will be live the Monday after Thanksgiving and will end January 7, 2023. Hours: 4:30 pm until 10:30 pm, daily; 24 hours a day on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
And it is gorgeous! The 20 songs include Nutcracker, Elvis’ Blue Christmas and more. See our video HERE and photo below. (The house is located on Prospect, but to see the lights best, drive through the Greencroft neighborhood; enter off Kirby.)
OTHER STOPS IN THIS AREA:
- The Greencroft neighborhood has its synchronized trees, brightening its streets. There seem to be more than ever this year (this is the neighborhood to drive through to get to Lighting Up the Croft.)
- Don’t miss the beautifully lit trees at Champaign Country Club on Prospect.
- There are a few houses around Clark Park that are pretty too, including the large tree in the Park.
Go west to see ….
CONFIRMED! The Manchester Christmas House, 1411 Manchester Dr., Champaign
This show made its Champaign-Urbana debut in 2020 (read OUR FULL STORY HERE). Located in the Glenshire neighborhood, not far from the corner of Kirby and Staley Roads, is a house decked out for the holidays complete with inflatables and lights. This will also debut on the Monday after Thanksgiving and runs until just after Christmas. From the owner: “We have more lights and new songs this year including a brand new train and a mailbox for people to write letters to Santa.”
- One side of house has a mass of inflatables, more than 80! (see Snoopy, Santa, Mickey, Rudolph, Frosty and others).
- The other side of the house is animated to music with multiple songs (Star Wars and Frozen fans, you will love it). We absolutely LOVE THE GREATEST SHOWMAN piece so much we are putting it in all caps.
- There are between 50,000-60,000 lights that will be lit up.
- Tune your radio to 93.3! Animation is on Sun-Thursday 5:30-8:30 pm and Friday/Saturday 5:30-9:30 pm. You can find more on the manchesterchristmas.com website.
After the Manchester House head to …
The Arches of Copper Ridge Road
The neighbors of Copper Ridge subdivision have lined much of their main street with beautiful lit arches, a tradition that started in 2020. We recommend parking and walking down the sidewalk to get the most of this experience. It is set up on Copper Ridge Road, from just off Staley Road all the way to Mullikin. Most of the arches are white, but some are multicolor. This is really difficult to do it justice via a photograph – so take our word for it or watch the video below.
Then head over to the ….
The Vale House, southwest Champaign (confirmed)
Characters — from the Peanuts gang to R2D2 and Yoda to animals and more — cover the lawn, and it’s worth the trip to Ironwood/Trails of Brittany to see it. In the 1800 block of Vale Street, in far west Champaign. There’s also some other pretty decorated houses if you continue to Savanna to Westborough to Benedot, all in the same southwest corner of the neighborhood.
(confirmed) Santa’s Visit House, 1601 Bentbrook Court, Champaign
This house doesn’t appear to be something special if you just drive by, and most people will do right that – pass by, as it is on a cul-de-sac tucked into Lincolnshire Fields (though not far from Kirby Avenue, on the west side of I-57). Watch the show in the window above the garage. You might see a visitor from the North Pole! Our Instagram video doesn’t do it justice.
(NOT YET confirmed for 2022) The Rebecca House, southwest Champaign
Another dancing lights show can be found at 2327 Rebecca in Southwood (take Branch to Rebecca, go south). Located at the end of a cul de sac (the house actually backs up to Windsor Road), this small-but-mighty display features at least six songs set to music. They include non-traditional versions of traditional songs, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Wizards in Winter (you can see that one at the Manchester House too). Tune your radio to 89.7; no word on specific hours, but this one typically lights up the first weekend in December.
Other houses worth seeing nearby (confirmed!)
— The corner of Scottsdale and Waterbury Place (near Windsor). This house is festively lit up, and on the Scottsdale side has one of our favorite traditional Christmas symbols – the LEG LAMP. Fra-GEE-LAY! You can also see Santa paying a visit to this home, too as well as a character that is GREEN.
— Scottsdale Court Candy Cane House. Off Scottsdale road going north toward Kirby, at Scottsdale Court, there is the beautifully lit “candy cane” themed house.
Candlestick Lane, Urbana
A holiday tradition for more than 50 years, Urbana’s Candlestick Lane typically lights up on the second Saturday of December. That means it will light up on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. After that, Candlestick Lane (aka Grant Place, located between Cottage Grove and Philo Roads, north of Florida Avenue) has its lights on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly through New Year’s Day. See our video below from 2018.
- Drive cautiously and turn off headlights to get the most enjoyment from the lights.
- If you plan to walk through, please be safe and watch for vehicles. There are no sidewalks.
- Several streets and neighborhoods around Candlestick Lane have the light bug too.
Not too far from Candlestick Lane is another festive neighborhood full of lights, which typically doesn’t go fully live until December. The easiest way to get there from Grant Place is to go back to Washington Ave, and go east. Then head south on Country Squire Lane, and continue to Greenridge Drive. Go south on Greenridge Drive, and check out lights on East Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Michigan Aves. This group of homes has a lot of different inflatables, characters and visual effects. My kids really liked the Nutcrackers!
The Myers House, 1002 Country Squire Drive, Urbana is part of this area. Check out Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, one of the best features. The display starts December 1 until January 1; lights come on around sundown till 10pm.
Other stops in Urbana:
(confirmed) Countryside Christmas Lights, 1909 Brownfield Road, Urbana: Thanks to some last minute tinkering, this display will indeed return for 2022! (see our story on this show.) The lights are not be physically on the house, but rather setup in the yard on the property, which is located north of I-74. It is small, but DEFINITELY mighty – 3,000 lights set to music including an amazing Star Wars number complete with light saber battle, Panic at the Disco’s Into the Unknown, and traditional and contemporary holiday medleys. (We might gush about the color palette of the lights because we’re nerdy like that.)
- This show has something unique about it – viewers can control it! That’s right, grab your smartphone and scan the QR code provided, and it will take you to a website where you can see the different options for shows and pick one.
- Hours are 5-10 p.m. on weeknights and 5-11 p.m. on weekends. The display is already live.
The Wilson House, 503 G H Baker Dr, Urbana: This home doesn’t have moving lights, but it’s definitely beautifully lit. Owner Jeremiah Wilson tells us there will be more lights and more inflatables this year. Located in a neighborhood in far Northeast Urbana, behind Cracker Barrel. Lights are on everyday, 5pm-2am. Will be live by Dec. 1 (and perhaps earlier, but we’ll go with that date!).
(NOT YET confirmed for 2022) The University of Illinois President’s House, 711 W. Florida, Urbana: This is one of the most stately homes in town, and always has a classy lights display.
2022 INFO: Night Lights in The Garden, Lake of the Woods (Click to read our story)
The Botanical Garden at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve will be illuminated once again for “Night Lights in the Garden.” Starting on Friday, Nov. 25, the garden light up on Friday and Saturday evenings from 4-8 p.m. through Dec. 31. This even includes Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Enter Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve from Rt. 47 and park in the Museum of the Grand Prairie parking lot, follow the lighted path and candy cane poles to the lights display. The estimated walkthrough is 15-20 minutes.
Clark Griswold House, Mahomet
The popular Clark Griswold holiday display, located at 701 N. Timberview, boasts lights everywhere — all over the house, in the front yard, the back yard and wrapped around two-story Evergreen trees. It includes a Santa village, a toy shop, Alvin and the Chipmunks singing, and much more. The Schoonover family usually lights it up on the first Sunday in December: in 2022 that means the magic will happen starting on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Last year we noticed that most of Timberview Street got into the holiday spirit, making the Griswold house visit even more enjoyable.
The Superhero House, Mahomet (Lights will be on from Thanksgiving night through January 1)
Love superheroes? The Dodge house on 206 N. Spruce Drive (in the Lakeview subdivision off Tin Cup Road) is one of the most unusual homes on this list, and every year it NEVER ceases to amaze us.
- The home boasts 30+ wooden, life-size superheroes that Joe Dodge drew, cut and painted himself.
- You’ll see the Hulk, Iron Man, Spiderman, the Flash and many more superheroes “helping” to decorate the yard and house with strands of Christmas lights.
- There is nothing like this house. Its originality and HUMOR make it a must see.
- Tip: we like to go on weeknights when it is not crowded and get out of the car to look at the detail of the characters.
Hodges Christmas Light Show on Red Bud Court, Mahomet (turning on Friday, Nov. 25 at 5:30 pm)
There’s a bunch of lovely houses not far from the Superhero house, including the Hodges Christmas Light Show at 106 N. Red Bud Court (located in the same Lakeview subdivision).
- It can be viewed from the Superhero house and is just around the corner.
- No doubt it will catch your eye — you’ll want to sit there for 10-15 minutes to watch all the songs go through. For a second year the Hodges light show will be giving back to the community. “We will have a tub out on both sides of the street for coats, hats, gloves and any canned or boxed food. All these items will be donated to Mom’s Pantry.”
- Hours are 5pm-10pm and 5pm-11pm Friday and Saturday.
View this post on Instagram
Also in the neighborhood:
– There is a Gingerbread House at 101 Red Bud Ct.
(NOT YET confirmed for 2022): 106 Ridge Rd, Mahomet. Display is on from 4:30 pm till 10:00pm nightly with extended viewing hours on Fridays and Saturday.
Other stops in Mahomet:
– 205 E. State Street (Most people will drive past this house on the way to the Griswold’s.)
– 1505 Riverwood Pt (A beautiful home new to our list in 2020, this hasn’t been confirmed yet for 2022.)
Just up the road (I-74) from Mahomet, the town of Mansfield has a lot of Christmas cheer. Take the exit and go south towards Mansfield, you will run right into Newton Street on the edge of town. What will you see? Check out the video on Facebook. This has not been confirmed for 2022.
2022 INFO: The McIntosh Christmas Lights Show lives on after its founder passed away from cancer. Last year was the first time the City of Monticello, which purchased the synced light show equipment from the McIntosh family, installed it at Rotary Centennial Park downtown. It is scheduled to turn on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will be lit from 5 to 10 p.m. every day through the end of December. This is also an interactive display – be sure to get out of the car and walk around the park. A true highlight!
It’s become an annual favorite – the Allerton Park Glow lights display keeps getting better and better, and 2022 will be no different. Enjoy an enchanting stroll of lights from the Mansion parking lot through the Avenue of the Formal Gardens and Brick Wall Garden to the Visitor Center. The path goes for about a mile, although there’s no rule how long you have to walk! The Walk-Through Holiday Lights will be open December 2 (opening night is ticketed) through January 14. Other than opening night, there is no need to make reservations this year.
- Visit nightly from Dec. 2-23, between 5 and 9 p.m.
- Dec. 27-30
- Jan. 6-7
- Jan. 13-14
IT IS FREE, but there is a suggested $10 donation per car.
Kirby Winter Walk. Photo by Della Perrone
The Miller Holiday Light Show, 803 Madison St.:
The show will go live on Friday, Nov. 25 and will be lit up through January 6. Hours are daily 5pm-10pm. See a drone video of the Miller Holiday Light Show below.
- Weather permitting Santa will be appearing every Friday night from 6-7pm starting December 2.
- Free candy canes will be available at the end of the driveway. (Weather permitting) please help yourself.
This home has a combined total of over 50 blow molds, inflatables, and lit-up tensile characters. The display is set to classic and new Christmas music. New this year: decorations of holiday moons over a castle (see above; photo provided). Check the Facebook page for updates regarding the display.
Other stops in Monticello :
(NOT YET CONFIRMED) 828 N Charter – The Smith House and neighbors: There are two houses included in the light/music show and then another house that has fun decorations on the corner.
It’s an annual tradition in the Prairie Fields neighborhood to sponsor a lights contest. It is typically one of our favorite neighborhoods to drive through during the holiday season, as it is always very festive.
Prairie Fields (the neighborhood located around Carrie Busey Elementary School) has several fun lights displays and houses with popular characters including a large Olaf and the Peanuts gang. Take Old Church Road to Prairie Rose, and drive up and down the streets there.
Other stops in this area:
(NOT YET confirmed for 2022): 2 Della Court, Savoy: Head to the Lake Falls subdivision (south of Prairie Fields) for this beautifully lit home. Lights are on after 5pm until 3am; lights will be on until January 2021.
(NOT YET confirmed for 2022) Just south of Savoy, you will find:
The Tomson House, 311 E. Marshall Street, Tolono. The whole property is dazzling.
Also, the Deerpath neighborhood just west of the Casey’s is quite festive.
ST. JOSEPH AND OGDEN
Willowdale Winter Wonderland, St. Joseph
Starting Friday, December 2 through Dec. 31, Willowdale Subdivision in St. Joseph will become Willowdale Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive around this three-block neighborhood to enjoy dozens of decorated homes. Rumor has it that Santa will make a visit (date TBD) and there may be candy canes and hot cocoa for visitors some evenings. To get there: Willowdale subdivision is located north of I-74. If coming from Urbana, get off at the St. Joseph exit and go north; can’t miss it.
(CONFIRMED!) The Gillen Family Light Display (starting December 3- January 7):
This one gets bigger and brighter every year. In 2021, there were 17,000 lights, close to 150 to 200 yard decorations; in 2022, 20,000 lights and between 230 to 240 yard decorations. Lights will be on from 5 to midnight except for on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, it will be sun down to sun up. Located at 1250N US Highway 45, Tuscola. “If families want a closer look they are welcome to park just west of the display on a country road and be able to walk the outer perimeter of the display.”
NEW! Lights on Prairieview
What to know:
- Tune to 97.1 FM to hear the songs.
- Hours: Mon & Thursday: 6-9 pm; Tuesday & Wed: 630-9 pm; Fri – Sun: 5 – 9:30 pm, rain or shine.
- Click here to donate). Find general info on the Lights on Prairieview Facebook page.
- LOCATION: This is located off Prarieview Ave, which is off Prairie Street and located north of the North Ward elementary school; a five-minute drive from the other Tuscola lights house we have featured.
*** not yet confirmed in 2022 Candy Cane Hills
Who said the only reindeer in Rantoul were at Hardy’s? For another neighborhood that really gets into showing its Christmas spirit, check out “Candy Cane Hills” in Rantoul. You’ll see a wide variety of traditional displays as well as inflatables (Santa on a boat? Why not?); some reindeer, including a special display of Santa with Rudolph and friends; and lots and lots of candy canes. Easy to get to and not far from I-57, if you’re coming from Champaign-Urbana. From I-57 take Route 136 (Champaign Avenue) west to East Drive, just past the McDonald’s. Follow East around until Indian Hills Drive. Candy Cane Hills includes Indian Hills Drive, Niepswah Drive, and surrounding streets. For more Christmas beauty in Rantoul, many houses on Champaign Avenue – the main drag into town – are festive as well.
Lighting Up Paxton: The Johnson Home
Great news, friends! The Lighting Up Paxton lights display returns in 2022! After a two-year hiatus, Lighting Up Paxton is back in 2022. This display is so beautiful, it has literally made me cry with joy. I am not exaggerating! This is a show NOT TO BE MISSED. It is set to debut on Sunday, Nov. 27.
- The lights will be on nightly from 5-10 p.m. Sun-Thurs and 5-11 p.m. Fri-Sat. through epiphany, Jan. 6.
- All of the favorite songs from previous years will be included in this year’s show along with a surprise addition to be released later.
- Everything is synchronized to music broadcast to your car radio on 89.9 FM.
- 140,000 lights on one home!
GIBSON CITY AREA
Harvest Moon Drive-In
Celebrate the Holiday season with Harvest Moon’s Lighted Lane Christmas light display. Running from dusk to midnight daily from November 21 – December 31, the entrance area of the Harvest Moon is getting a festive makeover. They’re putting up thousands of sparking lights on the trees, poles, screen, marquee and driveway to enjoy when you drive by the theater on Route 47. Some of the light displays will dance to music as well.
Lights on Hunt Street, Melvin
This musical show includes lights synchronized to songs such as Believer by Imagine Dragons, Christmas Everyday, Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix, and more. Melvin is located Northeast of Gibson City; this home (116 S. Hunt Street, map) is about 13 minutes away from Harvest Moon Drive In. The show begins on Monday, Nov. 28; will be live daily from 5 to 9pm. Expect a couple of new songs in 2022.
Kennekuk County Park, Danville
Located five miles west of Danville, the historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park’s Bunker Hill Historic Area will be decorated for the holidays and thousands of lights illuminated. The holiday lights at the Bunker Hill Historic Area, Kennekuk County Park also includes most of the displays from the Brooks Family Christmas, formerly located just south of Kennekuk on Henning Road. The large display with thousands of lights will start the night of the Bunker Hill Holiday Open House on December 4, 2022, and continue nightly from 5:00-8:00 pm until December 31, 2022. Directions HERE.
NOT YET CONFIRMED 3026 Golf Circle, Danville. Tons of inflatables and lights.
Tilton Winter Wonderland, Tilton (limited dates; CONFIRMED FOR 2022)
This FREE drive-through community display, located in the Tilton Ballpark (which can seen from I-74), will be back in 2022. Part traditional, part humorous. Gingerbread cookies playing volleyball, a helicopter flying, and grandma getting run over by a reindeer. Turn your radio to 101.1 FM to enjoy some Christmas music. DATES: December 9-11; December 16 thru December 31; 5 pm to 10 pm. Map here.
They Love the Lights in Hoopeston (CONFIRMED FOR 2022)
Lights fans, it’s worth your while to make the trek to Hoopeston – yes, Hoopeston. This is about an hour from Champaign, closer to Urbana.
- Come drive the mile long loop at McFerren Park and experience an unforgettable light display, named one of the top in Illinois. Tens of thousands of lights and dozens of displays will guarantee a night you won’t soon forget. Every evening, from Saturday, Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, from sundown until 11 p.m. at McFerren Park. Enter from Elm Street entrance. Admission is free. Expect a few new displays this year.
- While you’re in Hoopeston, check out the Thomas’s Light Show at 928 West Penn St. on the corner of 9th Avenue and Penn. More than 140,000 lights on three houses and controlled by Light-O-Rama! Opening night is Friday, Nov 25 at 5 pm.
We want to see your lights pics! Tag #ChambanaLights on Instagram or Twitter.
What displays or neighborhoods have we missed? Let us know in the comments or email us – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everything Holiday Season In and Around Champaign-Urbana
- Where to Order Holiday Meals and Treats in Champaign-Urbana
- Holiday Giving and Volunteering in Champaign-Urbana
- Amazing Christmas Lights Around Champaign-Urbana and Beyond
- Where to Find Santa Claus in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- All Aboard: Polar Express Fun (Beyond the Train) in Champaign-Urbana
- Meals with Santa Claus in Champaign-Urbana
- Holiday Lights at the Zoo: Where to Drive From Champaign-Urbana
- 50+ Experience Gift Ideas for Kids in Champaign-Urbana
- Champaign-Urbana Holiday Bucket List: 35 Things To Do Before Christmas
- 10 Festive Indianapolis Destinations for a Family Holiday Getaway
- 8 Great Places to See Holiday Lights in Central Illinois
- Holiday Season Parades in and around Champaign-Urbana
- Where to Buy a Live Christmas Tree Near Champaign-Urbana
- Home for the Holidays: Shopping and Eating Locally in Champaign-Urbana
- Champaign-Urbana Area Holiday Events and Activities
- Champaign-Urbana Area Christmas Shows, Concerts, Performances and More