Best Christmas Lights Displays in Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Monticello, Tuscola, Rantoul, 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.
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 also note when old favorites are NOT lighting up this year.
- 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 were 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!
- Some light shows or certain features may take a night off due to weather conditions – sorry, we don’t control that :-).
Chambanamoms.com thanks CU Dentists, LTD. for presenting this list.
RELATED: 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 Chambanamoms.com team members (especially 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, publishing it when we have information for most of our favorites. Be sure to come back here in the next few weeks as even more displays pop up.
This article does list unconfirmed locations. This means those locations have previously had displays but have not been confirmed by us yet in 2023. If you see one of these sites this season, 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
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 Nov. 24 through Jan. 1 at Prairie Farm in Champaign. This will be an accessible experience featuring festive light displays throughout the farm. Cocoa will be available for purchase on Fridays and Saturdays. 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.)
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West/Southwest Champaign Stops
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
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, all in the same southwest corner of the neighborhood.
OTHER STOPS IN THIS AREA
The corner of Scottsdale and Waterbury Place (near Windsor Road). 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 at Scottsdale Court, there is the beautifully lit “candy cane” themed house which is already lit up.
The “Christmas Story” House: No, this house doesn’t look like the house from the movie (which is located in Cleveland and you can actually stay there!). But the lights here are an homage to that movie. And across the street, we love the house that looks like the North Pole! Find both homes on Crystal Tree Drive, a short street in northeast Cherry Hills.
No, we didn’t forget … The Manchester Christmas House. Sadly, this blockbuster show — which made its Champaign-Urbana debut in 2020 (read OUR STORY HERE) — has come to an end. The family has moved out of the area and was sad to let us know that their lights will be moving on, too.
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 not have its typical elaborate display this year. Said the owners on Facebook: “We realize thousands of people look forward to this every year, and we will return with full power in the future. This year will be an abbreviated edition of what you have come to know. We wish you all safe and enjoyable holidays with your family and friends and a prosperous new year.”
The White Street House, 1308 W. White Street, Champaign
New to our list in 2022, the White Street House has lights set to music (tune your radio to 103.3). What is different about this house – the music is super CHILL. The lights are gently and beautifully synchronized to the Vince Guaraldi Trio studio album of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s near the corner of White and Russell streets, just north of Springfield Ave.
OTHER STOPS IN THIS AREA
- The Greencroft neighborhood has its synchronized trees, brightening its streets.
- Don’t miss the beautifully lit trees at Champaign Country Club on Prospect. A favorite every year!
- There are a few houses around Clark Park that are pretty too, including the large tree in the park.
- The fraternity at the corner of First Street and Gregory — Alpha Gamma Rho — typically lights up with beautiful white lights. But get there quick — typically the display comes down when finals are over (which will happen this year around Dec. 15).
- Closer to the holiday, State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium often light up in green and red.
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. 9, 2023. 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 Urbana 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 Avenue, 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 avenues. This area has quite a few decorated houses, many with inflatables, characters, or special effects. A few of our favorites:
1412 Greenridge Dr., Urbana. Lots of Peanuts + OG Rudolph + a full Nativity + a dragon… this house has it all!
2103 E. Vermont Dr., Urbana. Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas corgi inflatable!
The corner of Florida & Lincolnwood, Urbana. We love the Cinderella horse and carriage at this house.
The Myers House, 1002 Country Squire Dr., Urbana, is part of this area. Check out Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, one of the best features. The display starts Dec. 1 until Jan. 1; lights come on around sundown till 10 p.m.
OTHER STOPS IN URBANA
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. This year the theme is ice skating. We love the uplighting on the trees.
2210 S. Race St., Urbana. 50+ old-fashioned Christmas blow molds on display.
2016 (and 2010) S. Vine St., Urbana. This house — located not far from the President’s home — is a lot of fun. Two words: Animatronic! Inflatables! Says the owner: “The sidewalk is lined with lights on both sides with an arch, which is fun for the walkers. We have decorations going high up in the trees. And we will keep adding throughout the month.” They keep the lights on at all hours.
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 has lots of lights and inflatables. Located in a neighborhood in far Northeast Urbana, behind Cracker Barrel. Every night from 5-midnight.
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 2023 that means the magic will happen starting on Sunday, Dec. 3.
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 Jan. 1)
Love superheroes? The Dodge house on 206 N. Spruce Dr. (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
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. (Tune your radio to 103.3.) 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 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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OTHER STOPS IN MAHOMET-SEYMOUR
Downtown Mahomet. Enjoy walking through the lit arches.
159 Lake Road, Seymour. From the highway we noticed “Merry Christmas” on a roof. We followed the lights to the end of a quiet rural cul-de-sac where we discovered this corner house, with dozens of lighted scenes set up in the front, side, and back yards. Family favorites: ice-skating penguins and Santa’s flying sleigh! Says a neighbor: “Dave and Kris Parsons live on a corner between two cul-de-sacs. You can drive by the front and drive by the side to see the back. Pretty much every square foot of their property is covered with displays. It is far more impressive than in the pictures, and is a good sized property. It’s … pretty awesome!”
It’s become an annual favorite — the Allerton Park Glow lights display keeps getting better and better, and 2023 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 Dec. 2 (opening night is ticketed) through Jan. 14. Other than opening night, there is no need to make reservations this year. IT IS FREE, but there is a suggested $10 donation per car.
- Visit nightly from Dec. 2-23, between 5 and 9 p.m.
- Dec. 27-30
- Jan. 6-7
- Jan. 13-14
The Miller Holiday Light Show, 803 Madison St.
The show went live on Friday, Nov. 24, and will be lit up into January. Hours are daily 5 p.m.-10 p.m. See a 2021 drone video of the Miller Holiday Light Show below — Andy Miller says he’s added a lot since then!
- Tune to 88.1 to watch the lights dance.
- Weather permitting Santa will be appearing every Friday night from 6-7 p.m. starting Dec. 2.
- Free candy canes will be available at the end of the driveway. (Weather permitting) please help yourself.
Downtown Monticello lights. A new display went live in downtown Monticello this year – fairly modest yet lovely. The main lights are at Rotary Centennial Park downtown at State and Main. It is scheduled to turn on Friday, Nov. 24, and will be lit from 5 to 10 p.m. every day through the end of December.
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. It’s an annual tradition in the Prairie Fields neighborhood to sponsor a lights contest. It is typically one of our favorite neighborhoods as it is always very festive. Take Old Church Rd to Prairie Rose, and drive up and down the streets there. Also check out the Prairie Meadows neighborhood, on the south side of Old Church Rd.
OTHER STOPS IN SAVOY
(NOT YET confirmed for 2023) 2 Della Court, Savoy. Head to the Lake Falls subdivision (south of Prairie Fields) for this beautifully lit home. Lights are on after 5 p.m. until 3 a.m.
Just south of Savoy, you will find:
The Tomson House, 311 E. Marshall Street, Tolono. The whole property is dazzling. Located on the southern edge of Tolono – directions here.
Also, the Deerpath neighborhood just west of the Casey’s is quite festive.
SPECIAL LIGHTS EVENT: As part of Christmas in Tolono on Dec. 9, there will be a community Christmas Lighting Competition. Judging will begin on Friday, Dec. 8, at 5 pm.
ST. JOSEPH AND OGDEN
The Shadden Christmas Lights, St. Joseph
Typically, this one goes live the second week in December. In the past, visitors could get out and take a photo as Santa and an elf. Located off 150, just west of downtown and on the way toward the sports complex, at 402 N Cedar Dr, S. Joseph.
102 N. Market Street, St. Joseph
This house is COVERED in lights. Quite literally! Some inflatables dot the lawn as well. This one will brighten anyone’s evening.
Unfortunately, Willowdale Winter Wonderland will not take place in 2023. However the Willowdale Subdivision in St. Joseph still has plenty of festive homes. 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.
Lights on Prairieview
What to know:
- Tune to 97.1 FM to hear the songs.
- Hours: Monday and Thursday: 6-9 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday: 6:30-9 p.m.; Friday through Sunday: 5-9:30 p.m., rain or shine.
- Find general info on the Lights on Prairieview Facebook page.
- LOCATION: This is located off Prarieview Avenue, 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.
The Gillen Family Light Display
This one gets bigger and brighter every year. It is updated to 26,000 lights this year with between 250 – 300 yard decorations/blowmolds. Times of operation will be Sunday- Saturday 5pm – 11pm. Christmas Eve and New Year Eve will be Dusk to Dawn. Went live December 1 and will continue until January 6. 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.”
Here’s a list of houses in Tuscola decorated with lights this year.
NEW! Glow on Grove
Glow On Grove is a holiday light show operating Dec. 1-25 from 6-9 p.m. at 520 W. Grove Ave., Rantoul. Enjoy the almost 30 minutes of continuous music (broadcast on FM 88.1) synched to classic and modern Christmas selections. (Our favorite: Into the Unknown by Panic at the Disco.) The family asks that you not block any driveways, and turn your headlights off if you park to watch the show. Conveniently, this destination is immediately adjacent to…
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 lit 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 the bend and you’ve arrived at Candy Cane Hills, which includes Indian Hills Drive, Neipswah Ave, 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
Lighting Up Paxton is taking a scheduled year off. See a video of it from past years above. We look forward to its return in 2024!
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 Nov. 21 through Dec. 31, the entrance area of the Harvest Moon is getting a festive makeover. Harvest Moon is 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) is about 13 minutes away from Harvest Moon Drive-In. The show is live daily from 5 to 9 p.m.
Vintage Christmas, Main and Center Street, Melvin. After you see Lights on Hunt Street, head over to Main and Center for a Fickwiler & Rueck vintage homemade Christmas display. Some of the decorations are over 70 years old! They can be enjoyed at night or during the day, seven days a week.
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 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 Dec. 3 and continue nightly from 5-8 p.m. until Dec. 31. Directions HERE.
Tilton Winter Wonderland, Tilton (limited dates)
This FREE drive-through community display, located in the Tilton Ballpark (which can seen from I-74), will be back in 2023. 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: Dec. 8-10; Dec. 15-31; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Map here.
They Love the Lights in Hoopeston
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. Open seven days a week starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving through Jan. 2, from dusk until 11 p.m. at McFerren Park. Enter from Elm Street entrance. Admission is free.
- While you’re in Hoopeston, check out the 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! Open nightly 5-10:30 p.m. through. On weekends, it even has a concession stand and free treats for dog visitors.
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.
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